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Black Lives Matter is Collecting Audio Recordings for a Public Story Bank

The project asks people to imagine a world where black life is valued.

Image courtesy of Black Lives Matter.

Telling our stories is not just a political necessity, but also an opportunity for catharsis and public healing. Which is why we must be concerned when certain stories are marginalized by more mainstream—and perhaps more comfortable—narratives. A new project by Black Lives Matter, called I Imagine, intends to collect the stories of people around the U.S. and archive them in a public story bank. Calling on contributions from anyone who wants to share their vision, Black Lives Matter asks people to submit a short one to two-minute recording prompted by the phrase, “In a world where Black Lives Matter, I imagine...” Contributors will be compelled to share their dreams and imaginings of a future where black life is valued.

“This is a way for us to combat the constant narrative of police violence against black bodies with something uplifting, something to dream with,” said Los Angeles-based artist Tanya Bernard, a co-curator of the project, in a press release.

The project is being produced in conjunction with Manifest: Justice, a social justice-themed pop-up art exhibition and event to take place in Los Angeles from May 1 to May 10. Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, hopes that the public story bank will “illustrate the resistance and resilience of these communities in the face of structural racism and a range of ideologies and practices that constitute state violence.” Cullors and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza are the first to contribute their recordings to the online bank.

“In a world where Black Lives Matter, I imagine freedom as past tense,” said Cullors in her own contribution. “I imagine that our hashtags will only be used to praise the living. I imagine bounties of children. I imagine green everywhere. I imagine that families and communities are living arm-in-arm.”

Listen to the rest of her audio piece and contribute your own here.

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