Wade in the Water is a grassroots oral history of Black lives in the United States.

The goal of Wade in the Water is to compose an image of the impact of the movement for Black lives has since the unrest in Ferguson in the summer and fall of 2014, from snapshots provided by a range of Black interviewees. When this all began, it seemed to some that it would blow over by the next news cycle. Now, some are comparing it to the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s.

How have individual perspectives shifted? Has the movement driven previously uninterested or ambivalent people towards activism? Has it, at the very least, started to change the way individuals discuss race in the U.S.? This is not a question of How We Talk About Race, in the overarching sense it is often asked in thinkpieces in national newspapers and magazines.

Rather, it is a question of individual experiences: what did you think at the time? What do you think now? How did you cope? How have you changed? What change have you seen around you? And, most importantly, is that enough? What, after all, is the end goal of the movement–and how can we achieve it?

As the movement grows and evolves, we’ve seen a range of tactics mobilized to bring America’s racial inequalities to mainstream consciousness, from protests and policy work to journalism and personal essays. Wade in the Water looks to give individuals the opportunity to candidly share their own experiences and ideas, with the goal of painting a multifaceted picture of Black consciousness in America today as we mount another journey towards a more just way of life.

About the Editor

Maya Pascal is a Columbia University alum with a degree in Women’s and Gender Studies. After participating in an oral history project recording the development of Columbia’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality as an interviewee, she decided to try applying the experience to record the way the movement for Black lives affected her community. Maya was also one of the founding members of Artists Against Police Violence, an online resource for artists to share work around issues in the movement for Black lives.

You can follow her on Twitter at @meetyourm.