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Writing Black Joy

True Stories From Real People

The City of Boston declared September 12, 2020 Black Joy Day. Created with the help of City Councilor Julia Mejia and non-profit leader, photographer, and community activist Thaddius Miles, Black Joy Day is a day to appreciate and celebrate our power to uplift ourselves and others despite the challenges we face in our world today.

We sought true stories from you about joy—specifically Black joy: moments, scenes, memories, that celebrate Black families, relationships, culture, and history. Black joy is perseverance, Black joy is healing, Black joy is laughter, and Black joy is critical to our survival. It is a reminder that our laughter, the things we love, our unapologetic joy fuels our liberation.

This contest was created in partnership with MBK Boston and the Black Joy Project by Thaddeus Miles.

About Writing Black Joy

"Over the last few weeks and months, many have awoken to the fact that we live in a society shaped by oppression, racism, and violence. We find it on full display daily on our social media timelines, articles, and televised reports. While the marches are important, visual conscious acts and expressions of joy are vital forms of resistance. In support and encouragement of our expressions of joy, we are launching The Black Joy Writing Contest.

Black Joy has a lot of different meanings. For some, it is living radiantly and unapologetically in your skin – being fierce and in a true celebration of yourself no matter what your personal or collective circumstance. For others, Black Joy is dancing, singing, and laughing even in the most challenging times. It’s surrounding yourself with your culture and people, as well as feeling safe and at home." — Thaddeus Miles, Author, Non-Profit Leader, Photographer

Writing Black Joy Contest Winners

For this contest, which was open to all writers in New England and New York, we accepted essays between 500-1000 words about joy—specifically Black joy: moments, scenes, memories, that celebrate Black families, relationships, culture, and history. Read the winning pieces & honorable mentions here!