CLEVELAND — In the middle of gray skies and snowfall, murals sprinkled throughout Cleveland give us some much-needed color.
“We know the murals, we’ve seen the love doves, we’ve seen the ‘welcome to Cleveland’ sign, but there was nothing that really depicted me,” said Shana Black, founder of Black Girl in the CLE. It’s a blog, a podcast and a social media presence that seeks to empower.
“We started telling a lot of stories that are impacting the Black community. So we always frame it from a positive or solutions-based space because we know news can make people more upset or more depressed,” Shana explained.
When she started her accounts nearly five years ago, it was all about where to go and what to do in Cleveland, catering to an audience of African American women.
When COVID hit, she had to pivot.
So for the last nine months, Shana has been taking people on a mural tour of our city — sharing these sometimes hidden masterpieces.
“We thrive on telling great stories. And it seems like every day, there’s a new piece of Black history being made,” Shana said.
Finding, week after week, day after day, Black artists depicting Black excellence in Black neighborhoods.
And look no further than the virtual world to find that celebration of Black culture continued.
“Really just want to normalize talking about Black culture and Black history,” said Daisha Olmeda.
Daisha uses her social media — lovely__dai on Instagram — to inform and educate on topics like improving police-community relations, racism in everyday life.
She shares stats, resources and personal experiences.
While Daisha’s following isn’t huge, yet, she says her goal is to reach accounts with bigger audiences and get them to speak out.
“They have a different type of audience who may not be as informed and may not know why this is so important, or may not know why it’s hurtful to be silent,” Daisha said. “They can reach the people I can’t reach.”
Learning what you don’t know makes us all better.
Because when you take a stroll through Cleveland or a scroll through social media, instead of black and white — we find a world saturated in all shades.