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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The business Love for Words is bringing Black literature and authors to the forefront. One author is giving light to not only Black literary voices, but the development of a new national holiday as well.

“You exist, you are beautiful, you are dark and you are lovely,” author and founder of Love for Words CaTyra Polland said.

Polland developed a love for reading at an early age.

“I used to participate in the book program with Pizza Hut, where you get the free benefits of reading so many books over the summer,” Polland said.

Polland says she is gaining a sense of empowerment through her writing and use of storytelling.

“I started writing poetry in middle school and I was selected as an honorable mention, so that really just catapulted my motivation for writing and made me realize I could be celebrated for my writing and expressing myself,” Polland said.

She says she finds writing as a safe space.

“It can be very painful to grow up in a society, in school and institutions where, you know, the race or the culture that you come from is often labeled as inferior, as hidden, or our voices are muted or distorted and things like that,” Polland said.

Creating her business, Love For Words, she works alongside other Black authors to polish their manuscripts and help publish their works. Her services allow her to represent people of color in the literary sphere.

“I value our culture and respect the stories that we have to tell and recognize that we deserve to tell them in our own way.”

She is aware of the many challenges Black authors tend to face.

“There are Black publishers but there is a shortage in comparison to white publishers,” Polland said. “It can be discouraging at times when you’re working outside of your culture to try to explain yourself and sometimes they don’t understand it or they choose not to understand it.”

She wants to assure her voice, alongside others, are heard.

“Our history needs to be told correctly and that it’s important for everyone and that we are valuable, that our stories do matter and we have a right to share them.”

She is also sparking the creation of a new national holiday.

“I registered for the National Black Author’s Day, which will be May 4 of every year starting in 2023,” Polland said.

The day would commemorate Black literature, and Pollard hopes the new holiday will promote diversity and talent by Black authors.

“We do exist and that we have stories that need to be told and read and shared,” Polland said. “There’s so much value in what we have to say.”

The day would celebrate the diversity and richness from Black literary voices across the world.

“We’re here to stay and we are powerful people and we deserve to tell our stories,” Polland said.

For customized feedback on literary works you can visit Love For Words website, and to hear more from CaTyra Polland about editing and writing topics you can visit her podcast, Editors Know Best.