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Photography taken by Rhea Shah, "i ain't a kid no more" accompanied by description

During his presidency, Donald Trump enacted policies that marginalized people of color and supplemented them with hateful rhetoric such as telling congresswomen of color to go back to where they came from and refusing to condemn white supremacy. These actions created uncertainty within my mind of whether or not I belonged here, in the United States of America.

So, when Joe Biden was named the president-elect over President Trump, I felt a sense of reprieve; I felt like I could close my eyes and take a deep breath again without having to wonder if I was as deserving of a place in society as one of my white peers. But, that breath was soon stolen from my lungs when I was faced with echoes of the hateful rhetoric that President Trump uses from both people I personally know and strangers speaking from behind a screen. However, regardless of where they were speaking to me from or what their exact words were, the sentiment was the same; there are people in the world who affirmed my nagging suspicion that I, a BIPOC person, does not belong in the United States of America. Left with only anger, sadness, and fear from this realization, I began to doubt the goodness of the world that no longer seemed to have a place for me in it. 

However, amidst all the chaos and uncertainty left in the wake of the election, I have found unwavering support within my community. I am reminded every day how lucky I am to have found these beautiful human beings, some of whom are featured in this collage. These people remind me that I belong here, that there is nothing that I or other people of color have done that makes us less deserving of an equal place in the world.

I also find this same sentiment echoed in Ed Sheeran’s song, “Beautiful People”. In his song, Sheeran underscores the importance of remaining true to oneself rather than changing oneself in an effort to become one of the “beautiful people” concerned with fitting the narrow image that society has sold to them. Sheeran’s lyric “we don’t fit in well ‘cause we are just ourselves” reminds me that I should never feel apologetic for any aspect of my identity. America may not have been built for people who look like me, for little girls and boys who share the pigmentation of my skin, but that does not mean that I belong here any less than my white counterparts today. I am proud of being a woman of color, and I refuse to let society convince me otherwise.

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