The viral Instagram page ‘Black Ivy Stories’ is launching a competition to archive black experiences

Protesters raised their fists on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art during a protest for George Floyd on May 30, 2020. Photo credit: Chase Sutton

Black Ivy Stories, an Instagram viral page telling blacks’ experiences in the Ivy League, is launching a time capsule project to archive content created over the past year.

The Black Ivy Time Capsule is a competition that accepts creative work on black life in the eight Ivy League schools. Submissions must have been made between June 2020 and June 2021. The approved submissions will be published in four newsletters that will be published weekly for the next month. The competition is funded by a $ 1,500 grant from Belonging at Yale, an initiative that supports projects that focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

The time capsule accepts submissions until June 18th and will publish its first newsletter on June 4th.

The winners of the competition will receive cash prizes for their contributions, which will be published on the Instagram page and range in content from articles and editorials to works of art, videos and music. The winners will be selected based on the submission rules based on how much engagement their submission will get on Instagram.

The Black Ivy Stories co-creator, who asked for anonymity to protect the identity of the Instagram account, said the goal of the Black Ivy Time Capsule is to carry the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement beyond last summer, by gathering evidence to make recommendations to Ivy League schools on how to create an equitable experience for black communities.

Eve Washington, an aspiring senior at Columbia University who works with Black Ivy Stories and curates content for The Time Capsule, is thrilled with the site’s ability to hold university administrators accountable and create a space for perspective that otherwise would do not exist on many Ivy League sites.

Washington also said the time capsule is creating a space for black students to connect and support each other across the Ivy League by sharing resources and ideas.

In order to raise funding from Yale University, the team behind Black Ivy Stories submitted a 14-page proposal describing the time capsule project. The team also applied for funding from Penn’s Campaign for Community, a grant fund for initiatives that focus on racial justice but have not yet received a response, the co-creator said.

During the competition, Black Ivy Stories will continue to accept and publish written submissions from students, faculties, staff, parents and alumni about their experiences as a black person in the Ivy League.

Black Ivy Stories has published over 350 posts since launching the site last June, documenting the anti-blackness experience at Ivy League schools. Contributions include 60 written by Penn affiliates, with a special focus on experiences of racial discrimination by professors and other students.

The co-creator said a long-term goal of the project is to create a network across the Ivy League to share experiences of black people with content being posted on a consistent basis.

“If we only publish a one-time capsule or a couple of newsletters, it won’t make any change,” said the co-creator. “There must be consistent lobbying and consistent recommendations.”

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Ultimately, the co-creator believes the time capsule will succeed if the site receives quality content and is able to distribute money to the black creators, and if a conversation begins that will put Ivy League school executives under pressure continues to make positive changes for the black communities.

The time capsule is important to Washington as it serves as an opportunity to reflect on the past year marked by national protests against police killings and other violence against blacks.

“Even if nothing comes out of this time capsule, we can say that there is a collection of some questions and concerns people have had at this chaotic moment in history,” Washington said. “So much of the work of storytelling and even creative work in general archives the present moment.”

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