Monday, August 13, 2018

Regent Park’s French African Community

Regent Park is comprised of multiple populations from countries outside of Canada, such as Bangladesh, Somalia, China, and Vietnam. But in Regent Park, there is a small community that is often left off people’s radar: the French African community, which includes newcomers from Cameroon, Chad, Mali, and the Cote d'Ivoire.

About 2% of the Regent Park population speaks French as their first and primary language (City of Toronto statistics, 2014), which equates to 240 unique persons. Maybe that doesn't seem large, but for a neighborhood in Toronto, which is Canada’s most populous urban city, it’s larger than the city average of 0.1 (Social Planning Toronto, 2018)!

To support the social, cultural and economic inclusion of the smaller French-speaking population, there are some local organizations that exist, including the Centre Communautaire des Africains Francophone. This small community group was founded by a local Regent Park resident, Mr. Christian “George” Yombo, in 2002 in response to local gun violence. Yombo and other teachers help the young Africains Francophone of Regent Park each evening (Mondays through Thursdays) with their French or English homework. This after-school program was established to motivate the youth to continue going to school. According to Yombo, approximately thirty children and six teachers were engaged in the past. Yombo also said that he would love to continue this service; however, as it depended on volunteers, the capacity was barely there to support purchasing chocolate bars and snacks for youth incentives.

So who is Mr. Christian “George” Yombo? Originally from Cameroon, he immigrated to Canada at the age of 25. He knows upwards of thirty Regent Park families who speak French everyday as their primary home language, but they do not speak it outside of the home because barriers of access and inclusion still exist in Toronto for Francophone speakers, despite it being a federally-recognized official language.

However, while grassroots community groups can assist the French speaker with critical needs such as employment, health care, child-minding, immigrant services, and educational supports, Yombo was asked how the French language could benefit Torontonians. He replied that knowing the country’s other official language can position job-seekers for well-compensated federal government positions, entrepreneurial translation services, and careers in aviation among other opportunities.

As part of the efforts to increase the group’s visibility, the Centre Communautaire des Africains Francophone has partnered with Regent Park Focus to produce a weekly Francophone radio show, which airs every Sunday on Radio Regent.

By: Matthew Corneau

Editor: Kerry Ambrose

Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre

The CRC Community Gardens - Why Are They Important?

Have you ever wanted to grow a vegetable or a fruit, but didn’t know where to start or what to get? Ever wanted to be in a team of gardeners? Ever wanted to own a patch of fertile soil for freshly grown food? Now you can with the CRC Gardens in Regent Park. In the 1980s, social workers began realizing that many people in Regent Park were not accessing fresh fruits and vegetables. This was because residents of Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) apartment buildings did not have access to their own land to grow food, and fruits and vegetables simply cost too much. Aware that people were choosing to sacrifice basic healthy foods to pay for other necessities, community groups began to petition Toronto Community Housing for communal land to establish community gardens. One of the first community gardens was set up behind a TCHC building located in North Regent at 600 Dundas Street East, now the site of the entrance to the Big Park.

Today, managed mainly by the Christian Resource Centre (CRC), the Regent Park community gardens provide fresh produce for families throughout the neighbourhood, and it also offers great educational opportunities for children, youth, and seniors through hands-on gardening programs.

Ashrafi Ahmed, CRC’s Community Gardens Facilitator, led me on a tour of the allotment gardens. At each site, the tour was met by gardeners who were more than happy to show off their plots and proudly explain in detail the types of plants they grew. According to Ahmed, CRC provides opportunities for 200 families to grow and harvest fresh vegetables through the coordination of allotment gardens at 259 Sumach Street, 184 River Street, 295 Gerrard Street, the Regent Street Multi-Garden, and the Pop-up Container Garden at Regent Park Boulevard Mews at Sumach Street.

“At the beginning of the growing season, because of the maintenance fee, we charge ten dollars to own your own plot of soil, but we do have two types of gardens. We have communal and individual gardens. The only problem is that there is a waiting list for individual gardens because there are a lot of people who wish to grow plants, but there are always volunteer opportunities, which do grant access to the gardens free of charge,” said Ahmed.

To find out more about how you can get involved contact Ashrafi Ahmed at

By: Divine Bailey

Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre

Regent Park Portrayed in Film and Television

Toronto has a rich history of being a go-to shooting location for many television and film production companies. Some notable films shot here over the years include Good Will Hunting (1997), Billy Madison (1998), American Psycho (2000), and X-Men (2000).

Regent Park has also had its share of showcases in film. This article aims to review the general content of movie dramas and televisions shows shot in Regent and explore their relationship to the community.

Clement Virgo is a director, producer, and writer from Montego Bay, Jamaica. He was born in 1966 and moved to the Regent Park area in Toronto in 1977. During this time Regent Park was generally populated by low-income families and as a hot spot for drugs. Virgo is most recently known for his roles in Greenleaf (2016-2018), The Book of Negroes (2015), and The Wire (2002) as Director and/or Producer. His first feature-length film, however, was Rude (1995), which was filmed almost entirely in the old Regent Park. “The film told three separate storylines that were all connected by the voice of an underground radio disc jockey by the name of ‘Rude’ (Black in Canada).” Maxine, The General, and Jordan face problems within the community and find solutions to those problems. Interestingly, the character “Maxine” from Rude has a job as a window dresser, which was also an early job of Virgo’s. The film was nominated for numerous awards and was the first feature film shot by a Black Canadian filmmaker. Unfortunately, when the film was released commercially, it went unnoticed.

Narc (2002) follows an ex undercover narcotics officer as he tries to solve a murder case involving the death of a local police officer. The movie is set in Detroit, but was shot entirely in Toronto, specifically Regent Park and Liberty Village. This was shot before the recent revitalization, so many location scouts looked at the area as gritty and crime ridden. One of the most engaging and memorable scenes in the movie is a chase scene that showcases a large part of Regent Park and its residential community. Detroit has a history of crime and grittiness that was easily portrayed in the old Regent Park. Even though Detroit is a cheap shooting location, Toronto has held a better reputation in terms of production costs.

Four Brothers (2005) was also filmed around Regent Park before the revitalization. The film is about four adopted brothers from Detroit who try to find the individuals responsible for killing their mother during a robbery. Rude, Narc, and Four Brothers fall under the same film category of gang violence in crime-ridden areas. Regent Park was obviously a target for these types of films, but since the revitalization, television companies have explored other genres.

Kim’s Convenience (2016-present) has been a tremendous success in television over the years with a completely unorthodox theme for the revitalized community. The show follows the everyday experiences of a Korean-Canadian family running a local convenience store in Regent Park. The show started airing around the second and third phases of revitalization, but, rather than focusing on violence and crime, the show focused on racial dynamics in a comedic way. Kim's Convenience showcases many broad conversations about identity, place, and belonging, which are all frequent topics in the community due to its many intersections of race, class, and faith (Costello, 2016). This show continues to air and represent the community in a positive and constructive way for all to enjoy.

By: Levi Linton

Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre

Gang Violence and Prevention

29 people have been killed and more than 83 injured thus far in the year 2018 due to guns. As many as 10 of these shootings have been in, or very close to, Regent Park. Why is this happening? Mayor John Tory thinks gang violence may have something to do with it.

“Who were the people that pulled the trigger on Queen Street? Were they the boy scouts? Who goes by in a car and fires a gun out the window at people on the sidewalk?"

Tory is referring to the recent shooting on Queen Street West, which took the lives of Toronto natives, rapper Smoke Dawg and producer Koba Prime. Tory has said statistics show that 75% of the shootings in Toronto are related to gang activity in some way. That’s a very large portion. Chief of Police Mark Saunders also had something to say about the many shootings this year. "The vast majority of gunplay in the city can be associated with a street gang. Having said that, being surgical, being strategic, and being focused with that gang subculture is a huge concern of mine. We've got a plan in play to look after it over the course of the summer."

Tory and Saunders have decided to implement new strategies in order to combat the ongoing supposed gang violence. 200 officers will now be taking on night shift duties across the city. The idea of hiring new police officers has been criticized by some as they think “overpolicing” will stir up more issues in the community, but the idea has been supported by others. What is the right way to deal with the rise of gang activity/violence in the community? There may not be just one right answer for that, but to start, we need to at least understand and identify the reasons that youth join gangs. Many believe that the root causes of joining or creating a gang are due to broken homes, inequality, and poverty.

There seems to be a correlation between crime-ridden neighborhoods and low-income neighborhoods; therefore, poverty can be a big contributing factor in gang violence. Inequality and growing up in broken homes could also be a very big factor contributing to joining a gang. As Robert T Muller, Ph.D. puts it, “...experts propose that young adults join gangs because they both act as a surrogate family, as well as provide a sense of belonging, power, control and prestige; all things that are commonly identified as absent in childhood among gang initiates.”

Now that we’ve identified possible causes, we can identify appropriate solutions. Gang prevention programs are something to look into. Mayor Tory has recently said that city staff is asking the federal government for increased funding for community programs. These programs support youth and communities exposed to gang and gun violence.

Prevention Intervention Toronto (PIT) was a program administered by the City of Toronto, and it was implemented between December 2009 and March 2012. This program set out to combat youth gang initiation and gang violence over the course of 36 weeks through individual needs assessments, an assignment of a case manager, and one-on-one counseling.

At the end of the program, PIT participants were said to have shown an “increase in pro-social attitudes towards crime, violence and gangs.” They also have evidence that participants indicated a statistically significant decline in gang membership. “For example, while 34% of PIT participants admitted gang membership during the pre-test interview, this figure dropped to only 9.0% during the one year follow-up interview.”

With many other prevention programs having similar results as PIT, one can only wonder if long-term, sustainable funding to community prevention programs could be a solution. Is it going to fix the issue entirely? Absolutely not. But it’s definitely a start.

By: Kaleb Marr

Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre

Fire at Daniels Spectrum – Was it Arson?

On the morning of May 30, 2018, a fire broke out at the Daniels Spectrum, located at 585 Dundas Street East. Although the fire was quickly extinguished, the emergency sprinkler system continued long after the fire was out, which caused flooding and extensive damage to the first and second floor.

It’s unclear how the fire started. “We were told that the fire started in the store room across the hall from ArtHeart” said Tim Svirklys, Manager of ArtHeart – a tenant arts organization located on the second floor.

Several people associated with the Spectrum believe the cause of the fire was arson. However, according to Artscape’s Chief Operating Officer, LoriAnn Girvan, the local fire and police departments are still investigating the incident to determine the cause. “We may never know, and it’s really important people don’t speculate. We are just moving forward,” said Girvan.

The fire has affected almost all of the first and second floor tenant agencies, forcing ArtHeart, Regent Park School of Music, Native Earth Performing Arts, Regent Park Film Festival, Pathways for Education, and the Show Love CafĂ© to suspend or move their summer programming activities. Additionally, many of the groups and individuals that have rented the Spectrum’s Ada Slaight Hall in June and July have had to cancel or reschedule their events. Fortunately, the third floor tenants and offices located in the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) space were not affected.

Repairs are well underway and the new Spectrum Community Hub Manager, Jermyn Creed, plans to have a reopening party in the first week of August.

By: Gisela Torres

Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The New Voice of Toronto Centre - NDP Candidate, Suze Morrison, Elected to Represent Toronto Centre

Until the recent provincial elections, Toronto Centre was considered one of the safest Liberal strongholds in the province. This all changed with the historic election of NDP candidate, Suze Morrison. Morrison was comfortably elected with 23,537 votes. Liberal candidate David Morris came second with 11,934 votes, and Progressive Conservative candidate Meredith Cartwright finished last with 6,194 votes.

Morrison is a resident of Regent Park, and she is recognized for her work on healthcare, indigenous issues, inclusion and diversity. Her passion is inextricably linked with her personal experience of growing up in poverty and witnessing gender-based violence. Morrison has held communications and engagement roles in both the health sector and the indigenous non-profit sector, and she feels she can bring an indigenous policy and anti-poverty lens to Queens Park: “Something that's been absent from our governance for a very long time,” said the elected candidate.

Morrison feels that Toronto Centre residents have been unrepresented since the resignation of MP Glen Murray last year, so she looks forward to getting her office up and running. Among the issues the new MP-elect hopes to tackle in partnership with her colleagues are better dental care, affordable housing, and supporting resources and infrastructure for public school students with the goal of creating a safer, greener, and more equal Toronto Centre. Morrison is especially interested in the Regent Park revitalization and the issues that residents are worried about.

“Regent Park is really good at standing up for itself, and we certainly are not a quiet community. I have absolute confidence that the people of this community are going to make sure that the direction they want for this community is put forward, and I look forward to working with the community to make sure their vision is realized,” said Morrison.

Gisela Torres

Regent Park Focus

Media Arts Centre

Paintbox Bistro: Social Enterprise or Delicious Restaurant?

Looking for a delicious vegetarian restaurant in the east side of the city? Well, look no further. Located in the heart of Regent Park, Toronto, at the corner of Sackville and Dundas, is the Paintbox Bistro Restaurant.

Founded in 2012, the Paintbox Bistro and Catering Restaurant offers an array of unique and fresh vegetarian dishes including green curry tofu, collard green enchiladas, forest mushroom pappardelle, “meat-free” burgers, and a Caesar-style kale salad with coconut “bacon”.

For those that are quick to brush off the Paintbox as another example of the area’s gentrification, it is important to note that the Paintbox Bistro is a proud Certified B Corporation. Certified B Corporations are businesses that strive to meet verifiable social and environment objectives to help fight poverty and climate change. The Paintbox was the first caterer in Canada to receive the designation in 2013; it was also recently named “Best for the World” in 2016, landing in the top 10% of B Corporations due to its strong community mandate.

Part restaurant and part social enterprise, the Paintbox provides employment and career development training opportunities to individuals interested in starting a career in the hospitality industry. Indicative of this mission, most of the Paintbox employees have no prior experience working in a restaurant setting, and, as part of their training, they experience every aspect of the restaurant’s operations, including its catering business and administrative work. This allows individuals to find a niche within the restaurant where they both enjoy the work and can hone their skills, whether working on the kitchen line or supporting front-of-the-house operations.

Considering that the owner and founder of the Paintbox restaurant, Chris Klugman, was a former instructor with the prestigious culinary management training program at George Brown College, the Paintbox is well suited to the task of providing career path opportunities in the food hospitality industry.

Travis Acheampong

Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre

New Developers for Regent Park - Announcement But Not Consultation

In May of 2018, residents of Regent Park were informed for the first time about the possibility of a new developer moving into the area after years of building a relationship with the Daniels Corporation. Many reacted angrily, “We don’t want to start over again” residents stated repeatedly.

Development Manager of TCHC, Kelly Skeith, sparked resident anger with the May 4, 2018, community announcement that Toronto Community Housing will be inviting developers to send proposals for the next four and five phases of the Regent Park Revitalization. “ We are proud and thrilled that Daniels has worked so closely with us, but we have a certain procurement policy, we have a certain way that we must sell land because we are a public agency,” explained Skeith.

However, many residents are now asking why this critical information was withheld from the community?

In a follow up residents’ meeting on May 15, 2018, organized by the newly formed Regent Park Neighbourhood Association (RPNA), Delegate Marlene De Genova, who has been living in Regent Park for seven years, demanded that Toronto Community Housing be more upfront when dealing with the community. “Transparency is what they (TCHC) promised us, and transparency is what we expect”.

RPNA delegate, Stephanie Beattie, agreed with her colleague that a great deal of information has been hidden from residents. “There is a lack of information. There is nothing in the (TCHC) website. We are finding that we have to ask the right question if we want to get the right answer,” argues Stephanie.

At the meeting, RPNA delegates argued that TCHC should not only be transparent regarding the Request for Proposals and all related decision making but that it also commit to realistic timelines and accurate assessment of the risks involved with changing developers at this late stage. The delegates’ message was that residents are the primary stakeholders and investors in the redevelopment and that their needs should be prioritized! One solution, put forward by former Member of Provincial Parliament for Toronto Centre, George Smitherman , was to adamantly oppose TCHC and advocate to City Council to reinstate Daniels and reverse the procurement policy, a policy that was adopted during Rob Ford’s tenure as Mayor.

In an effort to address community concerns, Skeith maintained that the TCHC master plan, which includes the vision, timelines, budgets and the quantity of affordable housing, will not change. In addition, Skeith relayed the news that Daniels has confirmed that they will be submitting a bid. Skeith also surprised the meeting attendees by offering to have four residents participate in the review of the development proposals, provided they are willing to uphold confidentiality.

In the follow up meeting between Toronto Community Housing and RPNA, it was agreed that two representatives from RPNA and two representatives from the Toronto Community Housing’s Tenant Council will sit on the on the newly named Regent Park Phase 4&5 Consultation Committee (the “Committee”).

Although RPNA agreed to accept the proposal, delegate Marlene De Genova remains skeptical that residents’ voices will be heard. Resident representatives, she reminds us, must maintain confidentiality and are unable to report back to their respective association members. “What is the point of having residents involved in a decision making process if there are no opportunities for them to share information or gain feedback from the other residents and elected delegates of RPNA and the Tenant Council?”

What are the issues at stake with the call for a new Regent Park developer for phases four and five?

- Lack of information, transparency and resident decision making: It's been nearly five years since the public housing agency's directors scrapped an existing contract with the Daniels Corporation. Residents say they only learned about the move in the last month. Who is making decisions related to evaluating the proposals from developers and how much actual decision making will residents have?

- Anxiety: Residents are anxious about whether a new developer would share the same vision they've worked hard to build with Daniels over the years. Also, questions circulate around the community about the new challenges that residents can expect if a new development partner is brought in mid-way through the revitalization. For example: Will a new developer foster the same kind of relationship as the community had with Daniels?

Will a new developer stake their reputation on the quality of the buildings in the way Daniels has?

- Delays in the timelines of the projects. A project that originally was to take 12 to 15 years, could now take 15 to 20 years. Residents living in older housing and those awaiting return will now have to wait longer due to delays related to having a new developer. Additionally there are safety concerns with the areas that are awaiting development.

By Gisela Torres

Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre

Friday, July 6, 2018

Meet Your Neighbourhood Police Officers – PC Mircea Biga and PC Farzad Ghotbi

Community-based policing is a proactive law enforcement strategy that focuses on building ties and working closely with a community’s members to create partnerships and plans for preventing and reducing crime. While community policing will look differently depending on the community it serves, a central feature is that the same officer patrols and works in the same area on a permanent basis. Currently there are 17 community-based police programs in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), but what most people don’t know is that Toronto’s community policing started in Regent Park in May of 2017. We know this because the original officers involved in setting up the Regent Park community policing program continue to work here today. The officers are PC Mircea Biga, PC Farzad Ghotbi, and PC Edward Parks; the newest officer assigned to the Regent Park community is PC Nigel Thomas (who is replacing PC Melissa Huntley while she is on maternity leave).

Symptomatic of the increasing diversity of the Metropolitan Toronto Police force, Mircea Biga arrived in Toronto from Romania in 2004, and he joined the Toronto police force in 2007. Farza Ghotbi arrived to Canada from Iran at 13 years of age, and he joined the force in 2002. Both Mircea and Farza are proud of their work in Regent Park and see themselves both as public servants—taking directions from residents—and as community ambassadors.

As community police officers, Farza and Mircea make an effort to attend all events and community-wide meetings involving residents, particularly meetings related to safety. They also regularly conduct classroom visits with local area schools and work closely with afterschool programs in the neighbourhood. In addition, their work includes coordinating police volunteer activities with youth, making time to meet with families of children involved with the justice system, regularly patrolling local “hot spots” for conflict, and responding to resident reports of criminal activities. All these activities can be summed up in three objectives: (1) engagement with the community, (2) programming, and (3) enforcement. This is why, according to the Toronto Police’s twitter account (June 2018), residents expect that neighbourhood officers should have training in the following: sensitivity, customer service, communications skills, mental health, cultural competencies, and human rights. In the words of Constable Mircea: “There is no such thing as a typical day in the life of a community police officer”.

As part of a new effort to outreach to the community about their work, the officers have added the role of television celebrities to their job. This is because Farza and Mircea are working with the Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre on a television series called Meet Your Neighbourhood Police. The series, featuring conversations with Farza, Mircea, and others about policing in Regent Park, was launched before a community audience on June 21, 2018. The series is now available on Regent Park TV on Rogers channel 991 and on YouTube (Regent Park TV).

Do you have a question or an issue that you would like to see Farza and Mircea tackle in the next episode? If so, please contact

Travis Acheampong

Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre

Spoken Word: I Am A Hijabi

I am a Hijabi

I am a Hijabi
My Hijabi is apart of me
It is weaved into my skin
So don’t even try pulling it off of me

I am a Hijabi
Highly sophisticated
I am not to be taken as a joke
So don’t even try to play with me

I am a Hijabi
I know what is right
I am a believer
So don’t even try to say I’m wrong

I am a Hijabi
So speak about oppression all you want
It’s my choice and my choice only
Don’t open your mount around me because I will not hear it

I am a Hijabi
Stop with the profanity, nonsense and false Koran verses
It wound go through the thick cotton because my Hijabi only lets words with meaning reach me

My Hijabi is my protector
My Hijabi is my love
My Hijabi is my life
It’s simply everything and so much more

I am a Hijabi
A Hijabi bearing women
There’s nothing you and do about it
So don’t try me

Written by: Hudda Haggi
Photography by: The Divas Media Group

Monday, June 4, 2018

Western Muslim Identity: Embracing your Niqab and your Citizenship

In recent years western perceptions of Islamic practices such as forced marriage, extremism, sexism, terrorism, and most recently, 'honour' killing, have riled up quite a bit of controversy in Western media critics. For example, one of the most recent topics that have surfaced as problematic has been the niqab. A niqab is a veil that Muslim women use to cover their faces in order to be seen as who they are and not what they look like. To some, the niqab represents the Muslim population exercising their right to follow their religion, some individuals believe it is a security issue, and to others it signifies the Muslim minorities failing to integrate with Western society. Although the niqab is perceived by the many to be a practice that is oppressive to women wearing the niqab, but the woman wearing the niqab may think differently. Not only do many perceive the niqab as oppressive without even asking the woman directly, the person practicing her right to wear niqab has her own struggle of trying to properly function in society as a niqabi woman. In truth, the niqab is another excuse among many for the post 9/11 western media to generate stress among the Muslim minority.

What is Canadian identity?

Canada is often thought of as a country with a pluralistic and diverse society; therefore one assumes that Canada ought to be a mosaic of appreciated cultures. A place where all citizens are willing to understand and maybe even appreciate each others’ different belief and value systems. Malicious practices like ‘honor’ killing are depicted as prevalent in our culture that are used as excuses in effectively separating Canadian culture from the things that Muslims are depicted of doing.

Technically speaking, it’s simply Islamophobia disguised as biased sampling data; a few choice case studies cannot represent an entire community. Almost all Muslims, including myself know that there is no honor in killing, no matter what the situation, but sadly, our views aren’t the ones that are voiced on TV and printed in the papers. This oh-so-convenient ‘misunderstanding’ of Islamic culture is what creates the friction between the Islamic and Western worlds. As a young hijabi woman growing up between both worlds, I can see that there are many similarities between each cultures’ values, and often notice that Islamic practices are well mirrored to Western ideals. Like the west, Islam is egalitarian. Equality is always upheld in Islam; for example, there is no mosque for people of a certain country, financial status, or race, all mosques are open to all people, even non-Muslims (considering they are respectful). In mosques, people from completely different backgrounds pray shoulder to shoulder and worship the same God, because God doesn’t discriminate, so why should God’s worshipers? On the other hand, there are churches for certain countries, and races, there are Bulgarian churches and churches for black people, and even Chinese churches. Now how can the west eliminate racism if there is still segregation at a place as integral to spiritual life as the place of worship?

Fighting all kinds of oppression is on the forefront of Islamic values, and we have been doing an excellent job at adhering to these ideals, and have been waiting for the west to catch up to us.

So, what is Canadian identity?

Canadian identity is and always will be, to-be-determined. Canada is a country of immigrants. Whether 2nd generation or 13th generation, we are immigrants, and therefore the cumulative culture and identity of the people will be a constantly evolving idea that will depend on who are the active members of society at that time. If Muslims want Islamic culture to be an assimilated part of Canadian culture, we can make it happen, all we need to do is stop using our skin color, hijab, and other ‘differences’ as an excuse to why our people can’t integrate with society, instead just get outside and participate. This goes for people of all cultures, not only Muslims: the key to re-defining Canadian culture and getting this country to accept our values is to volunteer, work, and engage themselves with their country.

By – Saeema Sai

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Spoken Word: Family

Listen I don't know how to say this but it's not going to be easy it sure ain't going to be hard I have one question that just about to start... What Is Family? Is it the blood that makes you related or even the friends that came from the same. Or together you've been raised? See its not just one question but these certainly rattle your minds because people of today are currently family blind. See you might feel as if no ones there friends won't always care so family may be all you got. Not everyone will listen they're just kind of mild, you can be in a huge family and still feel like the only child. Reliability is issues when trust has already been broken pick yourself up don't listen to what these people have spoken, learn to look after yourself before you have anyone else snack because you still carry your bag on yours. Yeah its great to help them but don't fall into their dirty chores, take your own advice it can really help you. No one knows you like you do and that is true. I'm happy for the loved ones in their life, that are there through any fight, carrying the loyalty with all their might, because it takes a strong person to get it right. I am Nadia not just anybody, individually is what I love and it helps being different. Into empowering underestimation because whether it bothers any of not nothing will stop into growing a higher elevation. Through any situation I smile because I'm still breathing and to be the best I can that is just another reason.

By: Nadia Adow

Friday, June 1, 2018

Spoken Word: Muslim Girls

I am a Muslim Girl Modesty is my middle name

“Terrorist” and “dangerous” are carved in my blood

While side looks and shameless whispers get pierced to my earlobe

Though sincerity is written in my fingertips

No man shall ever see

The humanity hidden in my palms

Or the respect I carry within myself

I am a Muslim Girl

As innocent as can be

What have I ever done?

That only Allah can see

Do not judge me for who you think I am

You’re nowhere close to right

Quit harming the harmless

And watch me put up a fight

I am a warrior, built out of clay

I am a Muslim Girl

And will always be ‘till the last day

By: Sadia Islam