The Bronx’s new, innovative approach to encouraging literacy, especially among its youth, has begun at Bronx Native, 127 Lincoln Avenue.
Aptly called the BX Writers, it’s the passion project of brand manager Josué Caceres to highlight the written word of his fellow Bronxites.
Currently, he’s recruiting writers from across the borough, with his final aim to publish a curated book of prose, poetry and just about any form of the written word about not only growing up in the Bronx but about all aspects of life. Capturing both the good and the bad.
“What we’re setting out to do is to change the perception of the Bronx, to give people from our borough a platform and a chance to express themselves they don’t ordinarily get,” Caceres said.
He’s published his own works in past years while also pursuing a passion for filmmaking in the process, taking inspiration from who other than Martin Scorsese.
Caceres has already directed his own short film that promoted mental health awareness with the assistance of Bronx Native’s owner, Amaurys Grullon.
Caceres’ inspiration to begin writing came after he had read JD Salinger’s ‘A Catcher In The Rye’ during his own coming of age.
After that he began to delve into challenges and difficulties he had endured and witnessed while growing up as a proud Dominican on the Grand Concourse near East 167th Street.
“My grandfather had abused my grandmother for some time and it was never truly spoken about in my family, so I wrote about that,” Caceres. “That to me was something very freeing and to have my grandmother’s blessing to open up on what she had struggled with was what made me want to continue,” the creative added.
Experiences like those are why Caceres does what he does, seeking out fellow Bronx bibliophiles to weave true and authentic narratives of their uptown home.
“The Bronx is its own character in my writing. There’s no other way to describe it,” Caceres said.
“Not just in my writing but in the submissions that I’ve gotten, there’s just certain things about the borough that everyone relates to when they hear a certain word,” he continued.
Some of that familiarity comes in the form of the ice slush man yelling from the corner on a hot summer, which just about any Bronxite can immediately visualize and relate to.
“It’s things like that. Anyone from the Bronx picks up these elements right away. It just gives such a sense of authenticity,” Caceres excitedly shared.
As a matter of fact, Caceres influence is part of why the Bronx Native clothing store has its own literacy section pulled mainly from Bronx authors.
Meanwhile, his BX Writers branch of Bronx Native has been a collaborative force for the borough, using spoken word and open mic nights at Bronx Native and elsewhere to enlighten the rest of the world that the Bronx is in fact bettering itself.
If you’re interested in being published in BX Writers or simply want to learn more about the project, visit the Instagram bxwriters or the website bronx