Bloomfield College creative writing and poetry students and alumni have come together to launch I Can't Breathe magazine, an independent social justice literary magazine with all publishing proceeds benefiting social justice non-profit organizations.
A virtual launch party took place on August 23 with members of the editorial board and contributing authors, artists and musicians providing readings, artwork and performances. The magazine became available for purchase in digital and paperback formats on Amazon the same day.
Bloomfield College President Marcheta P. Evans, Ph.D., provided a special keynote message during the virtual launch party, acknowledging the passionate work of everyone involved in creating the various works that hold "such deep meaning and motivate so many."
"As the only higher education institution in New Jersey designated as both a Predominantly Black Institution and a Hispanic Serving Institution, Bloomfield College will continue to be at the forefront of these conversations," said Evans. "Thank you to the entire editorial board for your leadership, and for your advocacy and commitment. Your writing and artwork moved me between tears and laughter, and I stand with you as together we use our collective voices to not allow this salient activism to die down."
Professor Paul Latorre, MFA, '11 who has taught Bloomfield College's Literary Magazine creative writing course since 2016, explained that I Can't Breathe magazine is an offshoot of BC Underground magazine, a compendium of Bloomfield College student capstone works published at the end of every spring semester. BC Underground also accepts submissions from throughout the College and they are voted on for inclusion by the student-run editorial board.
"This year, we additionally launched Quaranzine magazine in June in a digital and print format, with profits going to pandemic relief charities. The submissions, which captured the difficulties of adjusting to the new norms associated with the pandemic, began to include topics related to the social justice issues that were arising throughout the country," said Latorre. "This is when it was decided that this needed to become its own magazine, and I Can't Breathe was born."
According to Latorre, the new I Can't Breathe magazine editorial board and friends will continue to publish a new issue every summer. Bloomfield College volunteer students and alumni, representing many diverse identities, joined together in unity to produce I Can't Breathe magazine to offer their creative talents in support of social justice causes including those that create educational opportunities for underserved communities.