How does the city help us care for each other? When do cities keep us from care?  What do we need from one another, and who supports, or severs, our communities of care? 

The caring city is eyes on the street, is smiling at neighbors even when you don’t know their names, is the public space where you met all your friends, is the democratic action that changed the story, is sharing food with people who are homeless, or homebound, is the community garden growing fresh flowers and food, is youth programs and organizing to end gun violence, is strollers left at the border for refugee mothers, is musicians in the subway, is the recovery meeting, the mutual aid gathering, is the picnic in the park, is pop-ups and public art, is block parties and clean-up projects, is indie bookstores and dog park parties, is storefront theaters and neighborhood festivals, is farmers’ markets and food shelves, is micro green spaces and little free libraries, is the stories that transpire in urban locations where we are shoulder to shoulder, face-to-face. 

The uncaring city is where freeways sever neighborhoods, where police violence shatters community trust, where the pandemic shuts down storefronts, where warfare forces refugees to flee, where the corporate replaces the local, where empty streets don’t watch over walkers, where rents rise while people without homes have no safe place to sleep, where the neighborhood groceries close, where the comfortable stare through people who need food, where mask mandates are revoked without concern for the vulnerable, where voting is suppressed and democratic traditions are shattered, where public transit is sparse and unreliable, where industries perpetuate environmental racism by dumping and storing toxins in under-resourced communities, where people who make pollution are not the same ones getting sick, where city people have needed, and still need, an ethos of communal care.  

Slag Glass City, a journal of the urban essay arts, wants to see your stories, speculations, lyrics, and reports of surprising and abiding urban connection/disconnection; of community spaces that still exist and those that are gone; of broken neighborhoods, lonely neighbors, and marginalized people in need; of citizens who dream of connection and care in cities that might yet come to be. Write us a city where old friends hug in the street, where new friends recognize each other across crowded rooms, where the damage is done and still coming, where working together means making and remaking the metropolis we need.  

Our 2022 editorial board will select an essay for publication in the online journal and consider the work for our miniature print editions. Slag Glass City publishes nonfiction prose, graphic memoir, video, soundscape, photography, mixed media, hybrid, and other forms of the essay arts. (We don’t publish poetry or fiction.)  
Slag Glass City is a part of the Publishing Institute of the DePaul University Department of English and MFA/MA in Writing and Publishing Program. DePaul is a nonprofit Vincentian institution with service to the city as a part of its mission. Our online and print publications are free of charge and distributed widely. We are unable to pay contributors, but artists retain all rights, we promote widely, and all work published stays “in-print” online. 

The special call submission sink OPENS on Monday, March 15th.


For GENERAL SUBMISSIONS (October through June) Submit to the City at: 

Mural photo by Enrico Strocchi 
Sidewalk chalk photo by Tim Dennell