Afrofuturist Art, Call for Submissions

upEND Movement invites you to submit Afrofuturist-inspired visual art, poetry, and short works of fiction to our first creative publication, Dream, Create, Liberate: A Future Without Family Policing. As is often mentioned, part of the work of abolition is to imagine a world that can exist outside of the damaging, punitive systems that overwhelmingly harm the people most marginalized in society. Our hope is to join artists and activists together, in community, to dream of this new world.



Meet the Judges

Adam Pendleton 

Visual Art Judge 

Adam Pendleton’s (b. 1984) multidisciplinary practice uses text, gesture, and appropriated imagery to reconsider social resistance, avant-garde art, and underrepresented historical movements. Across silkscreen paintings, photographic collage, video, performance, and publishing, Pendleton filters ideas and aesthetics from the Black Arts Movement, Minimalism, Conceptualism, and Dada through a graphic, monochromatic palette. The resulting pieces explore Blackness and race from myriad perspectives. Pendleton describes his work as “Black Dada,” a phrase originally coined by the poet Amiri Baraka. He has exhibited in New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Seoul, and Johannesburg. His work belongs in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Long Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Tate.

Kiese Laymon

Short Fiction Judge

Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. In his observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. His savage humor and clear-eyed perceptiveness have earned him comparisons to Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alice Walker, and Mark Twain. He is the author of the award-winning memoir Heavy, the groundbreaking essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and the genre-defying novel Long Division.

Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton

Poetry Judge

Deborah D.E.E.P Mouton is an internationally-known writer, director, performer, critic, and Poet Laureate Emeritus of Houston, TX. She is author of the Newsworthy (Bloomsday Literary, 2019), its German counterpart Berichtenswert (Elif Verlag, 2021), and the recently released memoir Black Chameleon (Henry Holt & Co, 2023). She has been a contributing writer for Glamour, Texas Monthly, and ESPN’s The Undefeated. Her most notable productions include Marian’s Song (Houston Grand Opera, 2020) & Plumshuga: The Rise of Lauren Anderson, (Stages, 2022). She is a Resident Artist with American Lyric Theater, Rice University, and the Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC).

“We strive for abolition because we understand that the biggest threats to child safety and well-being are anti-Blackness, economic exploitation produced by racial capitalism, the continuing cultural genocide produced by colonialism, gender oppression sustained through patriarchy, the ableism entrenched by the current system, and White supremacist norms of good parenting, family, and safety—norms that maintain power in the hands of oppressive systems. Abolition seeks solutions for issues for which the state has no solutions, because the current system maintains and upholds ideologies and constructs that ensure harm will continue. We seek to build a society where children, families, and communities self-determine what well-being and safety mean for them and are supported with the resources to do so because they are no longer oppressed by a system that destroys their ties to families and communities.”

– From How We endUP, our seminal publication puts forth ideas about how we can, in community, improve support and care for children, youth, and families as we move towards the abolition of family policing.

Learn More



  • Entry is free!
  • Submissions close on January 31, 2024. Submitters can expect a response in February, 2024. The collection will be published in Spring 2024. 
  • The contest is open to writers and artists anywhere in the world, however, we will prioritize artists and activists who have been directly impacted by the family policing system and artists and activists living in impacted communities.
  • Submission Requirements by Category
    • Visual Art
      • Submissions must be submitted in JPG, PNG, or PDF.
      • This will be a printed collection, so visual art will be limited to painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, and graphic design. 
    • Poetry
      • Submissions must include at least 3 poems in PDF format. 
    • Short Fiction 
      • Submissions must be fictional stories between 3,000 and 5,000 words in 12pt font and PDF format. 
      • Submissions with accompanying art or photos (like graphic novels) or may have a word count shorter than 3,000 words.
  • Authors must be 18 years old or older at the time of submission.
  • We do not accept previously published or simultaneous submissions (works can only be submitted to this contest and not to others until we have informed you of the result).
  • Only one submission will be accepted per entrant.
  • Submissions will only be accepted through this form — click the “submit” button at the bottom of the page when you’re ready! If you need accessibility accommodations, please email the team at 


Submission Form



  • Finalists will be judged by Adam Pendleton (Visual Art), Kiese Laymon (Short Fiction), and Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton (Poetry)
  • Three $1,000 prizes will be awarded– one prize for each submission category of art, short story, and poetry. Six additional finalists will receive prizes of $500. 
  • All awarded art will be published on the upEND website.
  • Worldwide copyright and ownership of each story remains with the author.
  • If a story is accepted for publication, upEND retains the first serial rights of the work to publish, produce, reproduce, distribute, and market.
  • All other remaining rights revert to the author upon publication.


For more specific questions on what we’re going for, contact the team at 



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