In 1992 I shared portions of my novel, Thereafter Johnnie, in the community of Anacostia where I was born. It is an African American neighborhood in Washington, DC whose people are often perceived as neglected, poor, and outcast, even by its own residents.
My reading mentioned the neighborhood, and afterwards a little girl came up to me and asked to see the word “Anacostia” printed in my book. She said to me, “I didn’t know that Anacostia could be in a book.” She thought that I just made up the connection and that the word wasn’t really there. When I showed her the word her eyes lit up with joy.
As she looked at me with that bright smile I thought to myself, “I could teach her quantum physics right now and she would be happy to learn it. If she realized that her world is a part of everybody’s world she could draw on that connection for the inspiration necessary to learn.”
Her reaction encouraged me to develop EpicCenter Stories, a way of developing community stories to enhance education and entertainment.
— EpicCenter Stories Director Carolivia Herron