BIPOC Explored!

CCIQ Press is proud to acknowledge the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation which is covered under the Williams Treaties. We are situated on the Traditional Territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, which includes Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi.

(Please scroll down for previous weeks.)

One Take | What is Smudging?

Week XIX

permission of truth engaged in our senses 

purposeful smudge 
to cleanse a relentless body 
ready at present 
a warrior 
of the earth 
nothing is possible 
without preparations
for the growth of a spirit 
that demands change
and courage 
to allow others 
to spread their fingers apart 
to feel the presence 
of the creator 
as wings sprout
with the ability 
to fly in the strata
with an immense 
Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw Potlatch: To Give

Week XX

why is it that when I hear 
the calls of the First Nations 
my body responds in a fashion
riddled with goosebumps 
with each thump of the drum 
I am brought to another location
through my minds eye 
there is endurance 
in origin stories that solidify 
our unification with the earth
we are not isolated beings
who walk on this earth 
a plethora of interconnectivity
exits – I feel it in my bones 
bones void of Indigenous blood 
forged along side as an ally 
to not only raise awareness 
also to honour the Indigenous People 
of all lands 
The Story of Hope: A Story of the Two Wolves


every human being 
on the planet offers 
various perspectives 
some of them are formed

by ugly emotion: 

    other’s with blissful:
             self love

choices have to always 
    be made
        tragedy lies in allowing 
  the darkness to contort the light 
Canada’s Dark Secret | Featured Documentaries, Al Jazeera English 


I’ve been sitting in front of my computer screen trying to decide what to write for this week.  To be honest, I think this week there will be no poem; in lieu of a poem I’ve posted links of two First Nations organisations where the public can educate themselves pertaining to the pain the First Nations had to endure.  Forced loss of culture is something that no one should have to contend with; the level of intergenerational trauma is severe within the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island.  My body is radiating with goosebumps right now I’m so frustrated and angry as to the treatment of the First Nations.  Just to remind everyone, before the settlers arrived on Turtle Island the First Nations had been on this land for 15,000 years. The land where I am able to type this piece from.   (Which I am grateful for, as my homeland currently a war zone.)

All week, I have been listening to residential school survivors and their accounts of their treatment.  I don’t know how anyone on this earth could see this type of behaviour as normal – THERE IS NOTHING NORMAL ABOUT THIS!!  The level of intergenerational trauma that has plagued the First Nations, pure genocide should have never been permitted to occur in the first place. 

I would like to just add one more note, I was speaking to a friend of mine this week after I shared a media clip; his reply to me was ʺThey really don’t see us as people do they?ʺ my reply was ʺno they don’t! DO YOU KNOW HOW MAD THAT MAKES ME?ʺ For someone to say, other’s do not see them as people; do you have any idea how infuriating that is? I keep saying I am not Indigenous to this land, if all of this riddles me with rage – I can only imagine how First Nations People feel.  The denial of acknowledging someone’s humanity is not only tragic — it is despicable.

Please, I beg you, if you know nothing of the origin story of this beautiful people, I suggest you educate yourself.  Prior to the settlers the First Nations had their own economy, traditions, and ceremonies – I can only use my imagination to comprehend how that must have felt. If you do not know where to start I suggest you start with the Truth & Reconciliation Commission and then take a look at the murdered and missing Indigenous women document. 

Foster the knowledge you require to be an ally, over the next few months more bodies are going to be found on the grounds of residential schools. The First Nations are going to need not only support but understanding absent of ignorance.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Of Canada

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Women & the American Story: Marsha P. Johnson, Transgender Activist

Week XV

“Marsha P. Johnson was an activist, self-identified drag queen, performer, and survivor. She was a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. Marsha went by “BLACK Marsha” before settling on Marsha P. Johnson. The “P” stood for “Pay It No Mind,” which is what Marsha would say in response to questions about her gender. It is the consideration of who “BLACK Marsha” was that inspired The Marsha P. Johnson Institute (Marsha P Johnson Institute).”

i tied my shoelaces; just like everyone else

glitter, or matte eyeshadow
lashes that go on forever
an ocean that travels to the core
of the earth – those are what eyes
should say about a human being

ornate optics are wonderful
to adorn; it is a true gift
when how you feel on the outside
is absorbed internally

there is a sense of freedom
that occurs when individuals
stop pretence of who they are not
and are able to live a true journey

one where uprising is necessary
judgement should be spared
as le maquillage
is slowly wiped off
to reveal inequality
that existed with its’
presence – stifled voices
who have lost do not sit along
the sidelines – they fight
for the next generation
to ensure a legacy of immense
appreciation of legacy

Week XVI

Today is the last day of Pride Month 2021; I am closing with Janelle Monáe: singer-songwriter, rapper, actress, record producer, model, and I also have to include social justice warrior. I could sit here and provide you with a brief bio of Janelle’s work; and talk about her advocacy and the manner in which her track Turntables truly impacts how I feel about the lack progress when it still comes to issues like equity and equality for the Black community, or how she has three iconic albums and has still not received the recognition she deserves. How the world needs to keep turning, how we as a human race need to rise for the betterment of humanity. Janelle’s track Turntable from the Amazon Original Documentary “All In: The Fight for Democracy”, has been posted below. This genuinely emotive and powerful song below; still has my body radiating with goosebumps. The impact of her worlds inspire the validity of revolutions and making our world a better place for marginalised human beings who are consistently looked over.

Soul Stealers; More Severe Than Hades

Jute bags
conceal the visage
of those society
thought to be inhuman
in part to a different
chocolate hued epidermis

What an exercise in futility
being exorcised from human to human
Pandora’s box announces chaos
as she is opened every single
person who assisted with the decimation
of culture for not other reason
except the fact that they could
have steeped themselves in pure tragedy

Imagine for a moment
you are a man engrossed
in a battle to simply hunt
a meal to nourish
an entire tribe and…



Over the month of June I’ve decided to acknowledge BIPOC 2SLGBTQ+ humans whose contribution to the world could not go unnoticed. The first person that I’ve selected is Writer & Playwright, American Civil Rights Activist James Baldwin. Anther perfect example how intersectionality comes into play, Baldwin spoke of his culture & sexual orientation which back then was a VERY taboo subject. Love is ANYONE’s birthright.

i am me! you see BIZZAR! i see a human!

you see, regardless of the age
humans have fallen for their choice
individuals can not control
who they adore

moments of solace
spent in the arms
of the one you relish
should never be a crime

my body is gone
however, there is an endless
echo that resides

tragic to say life in some ways
has moved
in a rewind fashion
of motion

Week XIV

The individual I am writing about this week is Ma-Nee Chacaby, an Ojibwe-Cree writer and activist who co-penned her memoirs A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder with Mary Louisa Plummer. This poem below is written in the voice of a child who was not taken to a residential school; at the time Ma-Nee was trapping with her father. Current count of First Nations bodies found on residential school land is now at 354. I suspect when all of the First Nations children’s bodies are found the count will be well into the thousands.

the trials, they never end!

you almost pulled my hair from my roots
my hair will stay long

you almost sliced my native tongue
into perfect cookie cutter cubes

my mouth free
to cultivate the gift of language

you almost gave me uncomfortable clothing
steeped in gray, my imagination expresses colour
in shades of bright tint

you almost moved me from my family
you almost punish me for simply being
at my sister and brother’s side

my soul scattered pieces
at once treasured memories cascade
into the nothingness

you almost tried to break me
I am free of you and will fight
to ensure allies are aware
of the knowledge
that I learned to ensure
no one ever suffers
this horrific ridiculously
impossible fate

this is the story of too many
First Nations children
some escaped it

others remain frozen and concealed in the frigid terra firma

Week XI

Colonisation, Genocide, Stolen Culture 

In order to cohesively understand, one must first listen to the origin of racism and systemic discrimination with regards to colonization, and the impact on Indigenous communities.  When colonization first occurred, stifling of Indigenous culture was commonly practised by the settlers.  This concept prospered by mandating the First Nations: not take part in their ceremonies, wear traditional garments, or even speak their Native language.  When one’s origin is not permitted to be shared and constantly silenced, that would tend to breed a resentment in anyone, and in turn take out the frustration on their families.  Colonization, ruined the First Nations beyond compare for centuries after the fact, it was the genesis set into play that predestined the level of destruction which currently continues to haunt First Nation communities. The levels of intergenerational trauma within the Indigenous People’s is beyond extreme, and commonly transpired to substance abuse as a result of contending with personal and painful histories. Which would in turn lead to a legacy of family violence, as not just one individual is impacted in that scenario but the entire family.

My first semester of Victimology found me in Diversity & Victimology: Indigenous Peoples, so much from that class is still seared into my mind.  My teacher introduced our class to Monster by Dennis Saddleman; the words in this recording and expressions behind them say it all.  This is authentic emotion as a direct result of the genocide that took place via the process of residential schools. The manner in which the residential school was written about in Saddleman’s poem is nothing short of raw brilliance.  He transforms the residential school into a persona of its’ own.  One that was relentless, filled with desire to terminate an entire culture and not only one generation but multiple generations as well. The trauma is so evident; how does one heal from something so traumatic? This is a manifestation of living breathing torture; not to mention how many children ran away from the residential schools and died before making it back home to the elements or even murdered by the caretaker of the residential schools. I would invite my readers to listen to the recording of Monster here – brace yourself and listen with a box of tissues. The message conveyed throughout this poem is one that would genuinely shame anyone that has any dealings with the residential school and its’ infinite legacy of abuse.  


I can appreciate why a human
        who would desire to scribe 
            a piece based on the abuse 
        endured by children 

   Cultural genocide 
       propelled on The First Nations

    The pain brought forth 
               by the residential school legacy 
            is one that never should have occurred 
          in the first place 

   No human should have power over others 
      greed and fear forced the Indigenous beings
                    off of their land -- 

        Who resided here for nearly 15,000 years 
             prior to being kicked off Native lands 
               nothing about this feels right 

       I am not Indigenous to this land 
           however am to another distant land 
             the screams of the children 
                     can still be heard 

             Listen to the wind which howls
                     as it engulfs with love 
                 those who’ve disappeared 

      You are not forgotten
           You will never be forgotten 

         Week XII
215 children’s bodies were discovered this past week at the site of a former “Kamploops Indian Residential School.” You can read all about here – that being said my poem this week is a continuation of last weeks! 


I double, triple, dare you 
   to tell me that residential schools 
         was not an act of GENOCIDE... 

  Rewind a minute please 
       please find genocide below
      as defined from he Oxford dictionary 
       I received decades ago: 

I don’t know your thoughts 
      however mine are cemented 
            in the fact that is it genocide 

      After that words 
           no longer take their shape

Buffy Sainte-Marie; Up Where We Belong

Week IX

For an open-minded individual there are a myriad of possible ways to not only educate ourselves but all society through first understanding the impact that the Residential Schools housed with regards to intergenerational trauma, cultural genocide, and forced assimilation. The Residential School system being a catalyst for First Nations trauma experienced as a method of severing familial ties, spiritual beliefs, and language.  Our modern-day world affords us an endless amount of information.  The Seven Sacred Teachings of: Love, Respect, Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, Humility, and Truth.  Each teaching brings forth with it an integral component that allows the one learning about First Nations culture such a rich scope to appreciate. 

Buffy Sainte-Marie has caused quite the rightful ruckus throughout the course of her life on behalf of protecting the First Nations.  This woman still continues to fight for the rights of murdered and missing Indigenous Women.   I know, I’ve brought up this subject on numerous occasions; because it is essential that the First Nations have everything that is owed to them. Buffy always spoke out about the atrocities that her people had to endure.  The legacy of genocide made possible with the creation of Residential Schools can still be felt through the echoes of First Nations ancestors.

Victimization: Indigenous Peoples

The plasma seeped into the earth
      has resulted in crimson grass tips
            ancestors’ bones coat
      the earth’s layers
          with each shattered treaty
                and the appointment
        of residential schools
     There are those who deny
          the genocide of the First Nations
               who state this deplorable time
          in Turtle Island’s history  
     is false
        One question keeps its persistence
                   WHY was this body of Earth’s
               organic beings treated in an inhumane
                     manner – culture in itself
                          is remarkable?!
            To be constantly stiffed
                where is the equity?

                    where is the improved
                          quality of life?
                where is the acknowledgement
                     of stolen Indigenous women?  

Week X

Please note Week X brings with some changes.  I started this BIPOC Women’s Exploration with Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw Founder of Intersectionality; that being said I am altering my project to be not only a permanent fixture of CCIQ Press but also one that will include anything and everything BIPOC.  Once again, I began to think about the Theory of Intersectionality and how a true study must incorporate every single angle on the axis for it to be impactful. I am not being true to myself by limiting the scope that impacts and cross references a myriad of magnificent cultures. I want to thank Emma at DRCC for the appreciation of my vision.  

Now, that being said this week my poem is going to be about the land of Palestine.  Written from the perspective of the hot desert earth; the story of an anonymous girl who is an anomaly.  One that is mixed with both Ancient Hebrew & Palestinian blood. 

And the fountain in the garden waits...

Ancient civilizations merged together
    love forged behind enemy lines 
         crimson ties that bind
             sorrow for both 

Damien: Do your parents know that you went out? 

Amani: No! Of course they don’t know! Ya Allah, 
are you out of your mind? 

Damien: Well, last time we almost got caught 
don’t you remember? 

Amani: Yes, I remember! I thought my father 
was not going to believe my lie. 

Damien: I hate that we have to remain apart 
like this – why can we just go somewhere             and get married? 

Amani: You know why – the minute we try to leave
my father is going to have the police out for a ransom on your head. 

Damien: I love you, nothing else at this point                       should matter.  Our days are numbered, they will
soon find out anyways. 

      A little girl born into a battle cry
          pyres row upon row 
    Culture is blasted 
            people die, casualties 
                scatter upon ash riddled streets 
                     genocide occurs everywhere
               to stand as a biproduct 
                    of love yet be pulled 
                in too many directions 

           there are 360 degrees 
       in a full circle – we should
        afford humanity the right 
           to peace – end the plasma 
                river – the earth no longer
                    needs to absorb

250 Indigenous Women who are: missing, stolen, or murdered going as far back as 1951. Some of the casefiles have since been resolved however the majority of the cases of missing girls or women are unresolved or cold cases.

Week VII

Facts about the Highway Of Tears

- 724 km is the length of the Yellowhead Highway 16 in British Columbia.  Tragically this space now referred to as The Highway of Tears is where most First Nations women have vanished or discovered as murdered (Sabo, 2016, 2019).
- 12-16% of missing or murdered Indigenous Women; make up 4% of Canada’s population (Kameir, 2014).
- E-PANA defined: Spirit Goddess who tends to the souls before they are reincarnated or go to Heaven in Inuit the “E” portion comes from the Division of Criminal Operations requesting review of the murders on Highway 16 (Royal Canadian mounted Police in British Columbia, n.d.). 
- Project E-PANA, which is the RCMP’s investigation into the murders that occurred on The Highway of Tears began in the fall of 2005 (Carrier Sekani Family Services, n.d).

In the Voice Of A Murdered Indigenous Woman 
*content warning

I am unable to feel warm
     the earth crusted to my skin 
          my hair is all tangled 

    I wish my mom was here
         she would hate my onyx locks 
             being all matted and dirty 
                 beautiful fuchsia nail polish 
             now scratched and bloody

                I tried to fight off 
                    this man who basically 
                          took me as I walked 
                      home from work
      What's worse is that daylight 
          was at the point of a faded sun
               I screamed -- no one heard me

            Trapped and tied up in the trunk
                  of one of those old-fashioned 
                       jeeps; with plastic zip bands
                   my hands and feet both bound 
               I am not safe, I want my soft 
           yellow and green floral comforter 
                  to hide below 
     I am no longer able to feel my tears 
  they have dried to my face -- brittle drops
           -- the moisture that was once
          on my body has now diminished into 
              a pile of buried bones 

        positioned face down
             I can never travel to the land 
                 of where my ancestors 
Canada's Highway of Tears and the Women We Forgot: Rawiya Kameir

Carrier Sekani Family Services

Highway of Tears By Don Sabo

Project E-PANA

The Ojibway Creation Story; First Nation Literacy


Turtle Island; Why Indigenous World Views Matter
As a human being who has no Indigenous blood, I feel that Indigenous worldviews matter for a number of different reasons.  For one the genesis story of Turtle Island is seared to the forefront on my brain as it clearly illustrates the desire for: love, peace, appreciation, and resilience. Take the muskrat for example who sacrificed his life in order to grasp some earth in his paws to assist with the concept of scope via a wider lens.  The interconnectedness between not only the elemental components of: fire, water, air, earth but also the interaction with all creatures: flora, fauna and human. There is a certain type of environmental sensitivity that is practiced which honours and respects the land, culture, and community. Humanity benefits so much from Indigenous worldviews that validate the purpose of why these specific worldviews and ideologies matter so much.  There are so many things we could learn from Indigenous Peoples such as: smudging and understanding the true purpose of a cleanse and how that purification doesn’t just impact the person who is smudging but also their environment and ancestors.  To have the constant connectivity to not only the elements but also the ancestors who have come before makes these worldviews so essential.  I must also add the oral tradition of sharing and teaching I feel solidifies the learning process as it is done in a manner that is conducive to facial expressions and understanding to those who sit and listen to all the elders have to offer.  We live in a very ugly world, humanity has taken so much for granted and has stolen so many resources from the First Nations. However, they are still here!!! Speaks of immense resilience...  To teach humanity about the importance of not only grounding, but also being open to sacred medicines that work and ceremonies used to open the soul. 

Turtle Cove’s Island 

     Fear response
        of the lack of knowledge 
  with regards to uncertain futures 

     a body of people 
 who occupy the pure elegance
    of the GREAT Mother Earth 

       In her hands she holds 
  the ideologies of protectors 
     sentries born in order 

    to sacrifice for the good 
a microcosm the efficiency 
   to thrive – to observe 

     that each life held 
  is immense yes, however,
means nothing 
   absent of the macro purpose
      that awaits our micro beings 

all elements course through 
   the crimson blood of The Indigenous People
        choices are made everyday 

   What may be right for one
       may not necessarily be best for everyone
         a mentality which is part of the problem
             Turtle Island, occupies a plethora
         of Indigenous tribes 

              each one of them
                 has a valid story 
                      that must be 

           please listen with all your 
               senses, which includes
                   true light riddled

Susan Aglukark O Siem

Week V

As someone of Palestinian descent my teita used to always ululate, the sound she would make would be so immensely loud and booming.  It reminded me of the First Nations chants; which still move me to tears every time I hear them. The first time that I heard the consistent drum beat from First Nations ceremonies I wanted more.  The sound would absorb into my entire being -- I stand motionless to ensure that I miss nothing.  It is how I feel when I listen to Uuliniq Susan Aglukark when O Siem was first released in 1995. The impact of that song pursues a message of love and unity. Something that the First Nations of Canada were truly not afforded.  The lyrics adhere to my frontal lobe "O Siem we are all family..."I remember, how thrilled I was to be an audience member at the Juno's that year to watch Susan win for: Best New Solo Artist and Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Recording.  Even as I write this, I still feel the goosebumps radiate throughout my body. 

It makes me wonder why this ideology has not been adopted and fostered by the greater society. We house the proclivity between us to rise to be there as an ally for a desperately underserved body of people, who reside all across Canada some of which are under water boiling advisories. In fact currently there are "54 long-term advisories in effect as of March 31, 2021 (Government of Canada, 2021)"  Our earth is one large dysfunctional family however, no one sees that.  All they see are how individuals do things differently and fear it.  In 2021 the time for unity should prevail. 

There is a kind of anger the surrounds the globe! 

For how many millennia
    has the planet been engulfed 
          in flames?

    The level of inequity 
       is deplorable -- 
          why fight?

         Why fight it at all?
    injustice occurs everywhere 
 at the hands of greed and inequality 
    gender and race bias takes over
        a manipulation tactic
           that should never
                exist --
  to never come to fruition! 
 -- when did society 
   simply surrender to its authority?
       Did it always?

     In secondary school 
 plenty of poems were written
    with regards to immense 
              over civilisation 

  I do not subscribe 
     to the one size fits all perspective 
        there is purpose 

   Human beings should not be classified
      as garden variety cookie cutters!
     Is that what people want?
        To be normal? To blend 
            the shades of diluted hues?
      If strength is not maintained 
        in anything saturated --
              will spread 
        through the bowels 
            of humanity 

   The choices are numerous
      however, the only one for me
          stands with those 
              who feel compelled 
                   to go to war 
           for a simple 
        yet valuable concept 

Ending long-term drinking water advisories. (2021, March 31). Government of Canada.

Ruth B Lost Boy

Week VI

There is something about the quality of a good song that can genuinely bring me to my knees. As someone who relishes the concept of music, impeccable song writing skills are never overlooked through my boring brown optics. This week I have selected Singer/Songwriter, Breakthrough Artist of the 2017 Juno’s Ruth B.  As someone who gravitates towards anything and everything fantasy related – Lost Boy struck a chord with me from the first time I heard the simplicity of Ruth B’s voice as she accompanies herself on the piano.  I relished Once Upon a Time as well, which inspired her song Lost Boy; it is incredible how art always feeds more art and throughout the various media genres throughout artistic impressions. 

Travel back in time? What the hell for? 

I’ve never been in search 
   for the fountain of youth 
        and don’t think I ever will be 
    Unlike some my youth was most unpleasant 
          it took a lot of energy to simply 
                remain alive 

     What I seek 
           is the sage wisdom of age
              to be able to comprehend 
        there are things in life 
            that must occur 
                   for resilience 
                        to emancipate 
                  itself from the confines 
             of shackles that bound 
         a spirit that simply 
   desired to fly into the infinite
       strata – to discover 
           far off worlds
                  through the scope 
        of an imagination 
              that has always 
                    felt a sense of a stifled echo 

        a fear that control 
          essentially must always 
               be exhibited 

         loss of creative maniacal 
             structure adheres 
                 to the verity 
            of self        

Week III

First Nation’s history in Canada does not paint of picture of equity; it is one that infused pure blood into all the rivers of Turtle Island and every single treaty broken.  Treaties like the Two Row Wampum Gä•sweñta’ which established that the First Nations and the early European settlers came to an understanding that each go their own way and none of the two shall interfere with each other’s lives, business, or community affairs to govern as two separate entities.  Two Row Wampum Gä•sweñta’ is one of the many treaties that did not do what it promised – EVERY SINGLE TREATY WAS BROKEN and not in favour of the First Nations.  If this breaks my heart and fills me with PURE RAGE -- I can only imagine how the First Nations of Turtle Island sense all of this unwarranted devastation.  

For this week, the individual that I have selected Anishinaabe Artist Rebecca Belmore; I’ve written about Rebecca Belmore numerous times over the years.  The work that is created recognises humanity with a fine-tuned level of intrinsic awareness worthy of exploration.  My favourite aspect from the work I’ve watched – is the incorporation of not only environmental elements also included are powerful cultural elements steeped in statement.   Rebecca takes all the pain, injustice, and ignorance to be the architect to something truly advocacy based. 

How A Parchment Can Be Rendered Null & Void 

  When promises are written upon a parchment
  it is an oath between all parties involved 
     to render into the abyss of desolation

       each tree afforded by Mother Earth 
             should be used to chronicle 
             various artisanal expressions 
                        of verity and honour 
     for words to be written on a biproduct 
  f a forest, a part of nature should reflect 
          an small amount of respect 

     lies have no business 
             being written on an authentic 
                  document which dishonours 
            the treaties from the days of old          

       it ought to have an ounce of respect 
        those who have suffered on the basis
              of proper acknowledgement 
                         of humanity  

         More specifically the First Nations 
            of Turtle Island who bring 
       with them such a rich appreciation 
        for culture and maintenance 
                      of sacred customs 

The REDress Project at the National Museum of the American Indian

Week IV

Whenever I think of the legacy that Nina Simone has left our world; I am completely overwhelmed with such a sense of joy, and appreciation.  This is a woman that used her voice to leave a long-lasting impression; this post is going to be a little different.  As Nina Simone is a Singer/Songwriter this week’s presentation will be a video of my favourite song by Nina Simone with an accompanying piece by me!  I feel it would honestly be a disservice to share my thoughts in this instance; the legacy that was left by this beautiful soul speaks beyond any intro that I could potentially scribe.


I’ve always been fascinated
     with the space in between
         especially when it comes
      to eight and quarter notes
 as they travel so quickly
     across unaware keys
         they communicate
     a symbiotic dialogue
 that reigns the ugly truth
   stitched into visible elegance  
     decades after the revolutionary
would be devastated to witness
   the state of our world
   freedom still does not exist
      in life there must be a dash
   of tenacity if we are to truly
       survive – there is a quality
in relation to a bold essence
   that only desires to stand
    why not rise?
        why not ask life
   for all the impossible
      qualities that are heavily
          marinated in equity
   clearly individuals know
bigotry and ignorance
   does not lead to a path
      that will bloom
      at the feet of those
who deny the truth
    one that should
        not be ignored

Week I

As a placement student at the Durham Rape Crisis Centre; I am afforded certain opportunities that I genuinely want to take advantage of. Our world houses a myriad of subjects with relation to women that I would relish a poetic study of; BIPOC women more specifically, and enough content for a layer cake extended latter to the moon. As with everything in my life, it always comes back to poetry for me. I find the language to allow for more lush imagery that regular articles do not tend to support. This 52-week study will begin today March 11, 2021 and will end March 10, 2022; the purpose of this journey is to highlight the unsung BIPOC women who continue to inspire me.

“Intersectionality is the concept that all oppression is linked. More explicitly, the Oxford Dictionary defines intersectionality as “the interconnected nature of social categorisations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage”. Intersectionality is the acknowledgement that everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination and oppression, and we must consider everything and anything that can marginalise people – gender, race, class, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc. First coined by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw back in 1989, intersectionality was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2015 with its importance increasingly being recognised in the world of women’s rights (Taylor, 2019).”

For the first week, I have selected the Theory of Intersectionality Founder; Kimberlé Crenshaw who also happens to be an: American Lawyer, Civil Rights Advocate, prominent Philosopher of critical race theory, and a full-time professor at UCLA Law School. Kindly note my preceding list of all the various facets of Kimberlé’s life, how they all tie in so nicely with the theory she tenderly cultivated. Theory of Intersectionality allows us to view humans from more than one lens, no cookie cutter components all organic fabrications of our makeup. Perspective makes this theory important; this knowledge allows us as human beings to understand that we are truly multilayered beings; which is equally true in a clinical environment with clients. As a Social Service Worker and future Behavioural Scientists; I appreciate this theory on a myriad of levels. Not only does it focus on the individual traits that create a human; also their mannerisms and habits. Think about this way, start with a macro point, there are many humans on this earth, each being has characteristics that overlap on top of themselves individually, and tie that into the micro dissection of a human’s essence.

As a woman, I am a: wife, mother, Lebanese born Palestinian, student, poet/writer, first language as French with a bit of Arabic; all of these individually are plain Jane. However, if we bring them together not only do you have a complete human; moreover, there are various perspectives of thought according to those roles. Each one requires study; as a multidimensional being. There are of course other things that require consideration: age, gender, sex, sexual orientation, religion/faith or spirituality/philosophy, physical appearance, height, weight, disorders, addictions, and caste. Crenshaw’s Theory of Intersectionality puts a name to something so simple; that houses the potential to make a huge difference in someone’s post-trauma recovery life. To be considered a full human being by workers in all Medical and Mental Health fields allows for a genuine study; in order to gain a better understanding with regard to potential courses of treatments and post-trauma-safety-plans. How well would we be able to empower our clients; a one-dimensional linear view does not condone a course of action that is authentically conducive to a better life.

It’s brilliant really; a big picture down to the small micro detail that could make the big difference between truly helping another human being and possibly re-victimising them. The Theory of Intersectionality should be studied by all students in all caregiver roles as this knowledge is incredibly important.

Pinwheel Sunburst

Is saying I am worthless?
    various factors identify
          the tattered edges that bind
              our intimate tapestries
  a cross on a page
          two simple lines
    now for the whimsy
        another cross placed
             on the previous
                  and shifted 45 degrees
            multiply by a Googleplex

  it’s there look
          can you see it?
     a pinwheel, magnificent
         windmill that cycles
               with each of Luna’s phases
            now, imagine all the arms
                  out stretched

     each extended appendage
        into the abyss of
                     or earth

    roots have the capacity
       to house wings – individually
              all feather points
     around the circumference
         not only a different hue
             also characteristic
           and millions
       of traits
                any terrain   
Taylor, B. (2020, October 15). Intersectionality 101: what is it and why is it important? Womankind Worldwide.
The REDress Project at the National Museum of the American Indian

Week II

The REDress Project was established as a direct result of the missing or murdered Indigenous women of Canada.  This installation is one that has travelled throughout North America to showcase and add visibility to the Indigenous women who’ve had their lives terminated before their time.  The reason that these dresses are placed in very open public places is to raise the awareness of the mass numbers of Indigenous women who have been massacred as a result of violence against women.  To provide an infinite voice to those whispers who’ve been bound tight with wire thread (Black, 2020). 


why is there a dress on my branch?
   my roots have started to tingle 
       i can feel the agony 
             of their representation 

     although these branches 
         are above ground the ache
              below is a startling reality 

   embers burn through the splash 
        of crimson that elegantly 
               hangs on my branch

      a string of plasma induced 
         hues for a necklace of humiliation
               the fabric brushes against 
                    my trunk and my roots 

    stretch through the land
          in communication with other trees
               to comprehend the definition 
        of why it is genuinely necessary 
             to acknowledge all the murdered
                   Indigenous women 

            whose disappearances
                 have been ignored 
                      this loud battle cry 

            can be heard right 
                 through to the tip 
               of the last centimetre         
            as they stretch below 
               our glorious terra firma 
                  the levels of compassion
                 rise with mother nature’s 
                     claim on this earth 
              made for women 
                  annihilated and diminished
                               by society 

                 i’ll never forget 
                    i will always rise 
                        regardless of those 
                     why attempt to bury 
                            my shell
                        a spirit to haunt 


Amnesty International        
“Newsworthy” Victims? Exploring differences in Canadian local press coverage of missing/murdered Aboriginal and White women By: Kristen Gilchrist

About the REDress project By: Jamie Black


3 thoughts on “BIPOC Explored!

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