CWGLA is a group of African-American writers that gathers 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 told 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 came by the stories that we leave behind.
CWGLA is so much more than a writing group; it's also a safe haven for our members to be vulnerable with each other and to be who we truly are using the vehicle of the written word. Our writers are encouraged to lift their authentic voices as we offer valuable feedback through a time of review aimed at strengthening writing skills. For ten months out of the year we gather to share -- 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. The group publishes our stories in a series called Snapshots: Personal Narratives of the Community Writers Group of Los Angeles annually in February. We invite you to “come down memory lane” with us; purchase one or more of our books and join us at out annual zoom theatrical readings and book launch. We promise you’ll find that there’s a story for everyone, and discover that our stories are your stories.
Board of Directors
Lori A. Williams (Executive Director)
Kathleen McGhee Anderson
Peggy J. Powell
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 & Mentoring Program
The We See You (WSY) Creative Writing and Mentoring Program offers cross-generational mentoring through creative writing workshops for youth in underrepresented communities in Southern California. WSY provides youth participants with a space to record their stories, and offers mentoring from adult writers, authors, poets, teachers, and guest speakers who will teach the elements of writing personal narratives and spoken word. During the writing sessions, participants will share their stories and receive feedback from mentors and other participants to improve their writing. At the end of the four-month program cycle, participants will not only learn the fundamental elements of writing personal narratives and spoken word pieces, they will also become self-published authors. WSY mentors will also provide support, guidance and teach youth participants basic life skills as they matriculate through high school and advance to higher education or take other career paths. WSY will offer The Elise Woodson Scholarship to qualified participants upon completion of the program as and when funds are available.
When: The program will be held on the first and fourth Sunday of each month via Zoom, commencing in April 2021, from 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. The writers will have the option to meet with the writers of Community Writers Group of Los Angeles (CWGLA) on the third Sunday of each month, from 4:00 p.m. --5:00 p.m.
o Age: 16 through 18 - Junior OR Senior High School Students
o Recent transcript, minimum 3.0 GPA, letter of recommendation required, see packet.
o For GPA 2.99-2.50 (min.) two written letters of recommendation from a 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)
o Access to a computer and/or laptop with internet, and Zoom or telephone conference capabilities
o Active participant in the program
o There will be a maximum of 15 participants - With completion of all eligibility requirements, participant selection is on first come, first-served basis
o DEADLINE: May 20, 2021 at 11:59 PM
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
Ayana C. Woods
Amajay C. Gravelly
James E. Davis
The Elise Woodson Scholarship Award is given to the We See You (WSY) Creative Writing & Mentoring Program participants who show full dedication and participation in program writing workshops. Upon completion of the workshops, the participants’ works will be judged by a formal committee comprised of members of the CWGLA board of directors. All of the works of the participants who complete the program will be published in a volume of Snapshots: Student Edition, and the participants will be eligible to receive a scholarship.
Our intent is for Snapshots: Student Edition to be a medium for the young writers to publish their stories, and to fund scholarships through the sale of each volume and donations.
We are proud of all of the students who participated in Snapshots: Student Edition, Volume I. Ayana C. Woods, Amajay Gravelly and James E. Davis, featured above, placed first, second and third respectively, and are the first recipients of the Elise Woodson Scholarship Award. [Click link to CWGLA YouTube Channel to see theatrical performances of winners' stories].
Please join us in support of our mission by making a donation of any amount to the Elise Woodson Scholarship Fund. Your generosity will assist young scholars in their academic endeavors. You may donate through the website www.CWGLA.org or send a check or certified funds to P.O. Box 470707, Los Angeles, California 90047.
If you have any questions contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, July 31, 2 pm
Our Black Resource Center and The Community Writers Group of Los Angeles, a multi-generational group of writers passionate about preserving African American history and culture through the writing of personal narratives, invite you to experience an afternoon of memoirs and personal portraits. Join us for a chance to win volumes of these written personal narratives and a Q&A. For adults.
CWGLA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Your support and donations allow us to document and preserve our African American stories in our book brand Snapshots and YGB, mentoring our youth, and fund the Elise Woodson Scholarship Award.
Your contributions are greatly appreciated.