Creative Writing

Stripped Skin

Momentum in social justice movements come and go like tides on a beach alternating between high and low peaks. The movement, however, always continues in silence or screams steadily moving one step closer with every difficult conversation, every start of an organization, and every action that is taken. I live by the phrase ‘It starts with you.’ “Stripped Skin” is about how even in the low peaks, the work continues through people individually and collectively. The streets might be empty, but the work is still being done, step by step by people of all skin colors.

Stripped Skin

by Safiya Khan

my black sisters and brothers cannot strip out of their skin
and peel it off like a bodycon suit

they cannot lift their blackness off
the way I can lift my hijab
put it in my drawer and
disassociate from all the stereotypes about my faith.

thrown into the cauldron,
they have no choice but to fight the war,
not just the battle.

their allies can come and leave fleetingly,
but they must remain.

so I dig a hole in the ground,
step with both feet in it,
pat the dirt dry around me,
and root my place in the plight along with them.

just as I stand up for myself,
I will stand up for all
forever and always.

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