CWGLA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization comprised of African-American writers who gather once a month to share stories. Our stories are expressions of "Blackness"; tales of notable family events that have gone undocumented for far too long. Our mission is to record family history through the medium of personal narratives. The stories are real-life experiences, some funny, some sad, and many deeply personal recollections of incidents of social injustice as experienced by the writers or by their family members. Some writers showcase an investigative flair as they search through obscure documents looking for pieces of family history. As a group, we try to fill in the blanks for future generations to help them discover who they are and from where they've come by the stories that we leave behind.
For ten months out of the year the writers of CWGLA gather to review our works -- sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, but always in support of each other, which not only helps us to grow as writers, but also to heal through this cathartic process. In February of each year, the stories are published in a book series called Snapshots: Personal Narratives of the Community Writers Group of Los Angeles.
New writers are invited to join CWGLA from January 1 through March 1 of each year. Submit your contact information and any questions that you may have via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please explain why you would like to share your personal narratives and your level of commitment if selected to join CWGLA.
Board of Directors
Lori A. Williams (Executive Director)
Kathleen McGhee Anderson
Books & Merchandise
All Proceeds from our Store goes toward the Elise Woodson Scholarship Fund
Free shipping on U.S. book orders over $60+.
We See You Creative Writing Contest
The We See You (WSY) Creative Writing Contest provides high school juniors and seniors with the opportunity to submit personal narratives in response to selected topics for the chance to receive the Elise Woodson Scholarship Award or the Elise Woodson Education Stipend. Additionally, qualified participants who write outstanding narratives will be published in a volume of Snapshots: Student Edition. See requirements below and click on the WSY Creative Writing Contest Scholarship Application link to obtain the scholarship packet.
Deadline to apply: June 1, 2022 at 11:59 P.M. (PST)
o African-American & LatinX Students
o Age: 16 through 18 - Junior OR Senior High School Students
o Recent transcript, minimum 3.0 GPA.
o For GPA 2.99-2.50 (min.) two letters of recommendation from current teacher or counselor.
o Signed Parental and/or Guardian Consent
o Bio of 100 words or less
o Headshot and/or fun selfie (NO professional photos, please)
Deadline: June 1, 2022 at 11:59 P.M. (PST)
Snapshots Book Reviews
"You will want to return more than once to these short stories of Black women's love, loss and sweet nostalgia. One story, called Toys is a go-to when I want to tickle my 84 year old funny bone. Good job Authors!"
— Marilyn McKnight
Elise Woodson, the founder of Community Writers Group, worked as Education and Film Curator at the California African American Museum (CAAM) when she planted the seed for the writing group. In September of 2013, she created a one-day program: The Power of Story: Writing the Personal Narrative, which drew a huge public response. At the end of the program, the attendees pleaded with her to continue meeting to further the workshop process. As a former English teacher, Elise always wanted to lead a group interested in capturing and documenting powerful personal stories from their lives. She agreed to facilitate a writing workshop and to meet the second Saturday of each month. Approximately ten committed writers stayed the course, and met each month at the beautiful Vision Theatre in Leimert Park. These persistent writers became The Community Writers Group (“CWG” rebranded “CWGLA”), and in February of 2015 published Snapshots Volume 1 to create a permanent record of their pieces of family history. Currently, CWGLA publishes a new volume of Snapshots annually in the month of February.
In January of 2019, Elise filed documents with the California Secretary of State and the Franchise Tax Board for CWGLA to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, and during the summer applied for grants to offset publishing costs and to expand the reach of the group farther into underrepresented communities by creating a Snapshots collection specifically for young people to tell their families’ stories.
On December 7, 2019 Elise received her Heavenly wings, but the Snapshots series is part of her legacy.
Grants and donations received, along with the purchase of our books and merchandise, support CWGLA's efforts to continue Elise’s mission of documenting African American family history.
Elise Woodson Scholarship Award
Mofiyinfoluwa "Mofi" A. Shobogun
Korley S. Reese
Elise Woodson Education Stipend
Mark F. Clegg Jr.
Tiffany I. Williams
Nakie I. Pierce
We are proud of all of the students who participated in the We See You (WSY) Creative Writing Contest. In addition to receiving the Elise Woodson Scholarship Award and the Elise Woodson Education Stipend, participants' personal narratives will be published in a volume of Snapshots: Student Edition.
Please join us in support of our mission by making a tax-deductible donation the Elise Woodson Scholarship Award Fund. Your generosity will assist young scholars in their academic endeavors. To donate, click the donate button at the top of our website or send certified funds to P.O. Box 470707, Los Angeles, California 90047.
If you have any questions contact us at email@example.com
CWGLA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your support and donations allow us to document and preserve African American family history, mentor our youth in the We See You Creative Writing & Mentoring Program, and fund the Elise Woodson Scholarship Award.
Donations of any amount welcomed.