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A few months ago, I was sitting with my date at his formal (Australian prom-equivalent) when he asked me the most unanswerable question: “Where is your hometown?” It seemed straight-forward enough, but he didn’t mean “Where were you born?” or “Where did you grow up?” No, he meant “Where are you from?” i.e. where I […]

Societal Standards & the complexity of teen life

Every society has a set of standards to which it is expected that its members will conform. A common occurrence in my life is having that fear inside about what they will think if I am unable to accomplish those standards. This crippling anxiety inside occurs when I sit down and try to relax or […]

Last Night Dishes

Swirling in a cooking pot,
tinted broth and lemon wedge bones
corrode into corpses
it was the making of marble memories
sharpening knives under stove light
cutting ripe tomatoes
peeling the emerald cucumbers
our charcoal-skinned moon-eyed faces have been here once

The Dark Burden

I was weirded out by this statement because he had to mention the color of their skin as if it was negative, but I wasn’t shocked that he would say something like that. As he has made it known that he preferred tan Latinas, he fails to realize they have a similar narrative that black girls do. I proceed to point out that fact to him, but he denies it having anything to do with colorism.

Land of Love

Clutch my hands and don’t let go,

Feel my breath and make me glow

Push my hair behind my ear,

And let me know, are we the perfect pair?

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.

Sit Still, Look Pretty

I wrote Sit Still, Look Pretty because I wanted to illustrate the kind of silent violence that exists when it comes to societal expectations for feminine-identifying people and beauty norms. We may not always see it, but there can be so much turbulence behind the illusion of stillness or “pretty.”

Mela

Samina Parveen is a teen spoken-word poet from India. Below is one of her poems on body shaming. Midnight eyes mirror the truth,Dusky brown skin echoes the bitternessEchos reciprocate the four wallsAdjectives accustomed to the hearing eardrumFat, large, obese, big, thick.eyes drenched in saline dropletsThe blurry eye looked towards the hip line Stomach growled like […]

The Sound No One Hears

The stress of this realization– that is, the realization of my new reality, our new reality in the world today– has been weighing down on me since March. I am constantly reminded of it every time I hook my mask around my ears and pull it over my chin to cover my nose and mouth.

Asian Representation in the Media

In fact, the only TV show that comes to mind with the majority of the cast being of Asian descent is Fresh Off the Boat, and that’s it. Asian-Americans are usually reduced to side characters, such as Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy and Tina Cohen-Chang from Glee, and are often subjected to stereotyping. The last TV show I binged was Gilmore Girls. I noticed how Lane Kim was, no surprise, the quirky sidekick that wore glasses, and her mother, Mrs. Kim, was a simple-dressing Christian with extremely strict rules and expected her daughter to marry a Korean doctor.

Sri Lanka

I couldn’t understand their conversation and the words seemed foreign and guttural. I tried to follow, but it frustrated me that I couldn’t comprehend. Not speaking either Tamil or Sinhala had its disadvantages, as I always felt a disconnect to my country and to my family. I had never had a full conversation with my grandparents before they passed, and I always needed someone to translate. Being a vocal student and active member of my community made me accustomed to using my words, and whenever I was in Sri Lanka I was stripped of this.

Curls & Coils

I waited for my best friend to arrive in hopes that she would tell me my hair looked great and to stop worrying, but my teacher found me first. I said hi to her as I always did and waited for her to say hi back, but instead she said, “Hi! What’s your name?” She then proceeded to ask me if I was a new student. My teacher hadn’t recognized me

A Writer’s Calling

By AJ Morton For almost all my life I’ve known that I was meant to write stories. I’ve always been enchanted by the idea of being able to create an entire fictional world out of a few sheets of paper and some ink. People always laugh when I tell them how I first started writing. […]

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