Identity

Stepping Into the Beautiful Mess

Perched on the balcony, like the Black and White Doel¹ that serenaded me from the windowsill in the spring, I watched over my little corner of the world. In the most densely populated city on earth, that one little intersection of Road Six and Safwan Road felt like a microcosm of humanity itself.  I would […]

A Spool of Thread and a Piece of Pie

I was searching for a spool of black thread last summer. I couldn’t find one. Supplies were depleted in brick and mortar stores, and nothing was available at the online marketplace named after a gargantuan river. A simple roll of black thread proved to be a scarce commodity. All I needed to do was mend […]

Simplicity and Justice

I remember Tom and Jerry, Leave it to Beaver, and Sunday paper with comics mom cut out and taped on the refrigerator door. I remember Laurel & Hardy, The Rifleman, and watching boxing or NFL with Dad in between Sunday services when I was supposed to be napping on the bed or on the floor. […]

Elemental

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)   On this, my first empty-nested Mother’s Day, I am reminded of the goodness of the Lord. My babies are all grown-up-ish. This season of mothering has come to its end. God has a purpose for […]

Do You See Me?

  Do you see me Lord?   I feel alone and forgotten at times. Misunderstood. Invisible.   The world continues its rotation spinning, spinning even faster these days. A whirling top that will surely tumble.   Am I just a speck on this twirling planet? Do you really see me from above?   Your word […]

How Much Cultural Discomfort Can You Put Up With?

I know it’s hard to embrace someone else’s cultural values. Whether it’s their noise level, the smell and look of their food, their communal gatherings, the way they look at you, talk, dress, or act, another person’s way of life often feels like a disruption. Their actions and words can annoy us or make us […]

(Un)Follow Me

Shibuya Crossing simmers like a pot of Tokyo fusion, humming with aromas both foreign and familiar. In seconds its blends of foot and vehicle traffic rise to a rolling boil, and the lid begins to rattle. Ten lanes of traffic grind to a halt just in time for walk signs to open the pedestrian floodgates. […]

Meet Prasanta Verma

Hello, I’m Prasanta. I’m a writer, poet, artist, photographer, and mom of three fabulous kids. I write about culture, identity, race, and belonging. Most days, you can find me reading or writing, with a cup of chai in hand. When it’s warm and everything is blooming outdoors, you may find me out on a walk […]

Dr. Justina Ford Goes Higher

7,000 was the number of babies she brought into the world. 31 were the years she served the diverse community of east Denver—treating patients regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or ability to pay—offering resources and food for those who lacked them.1 She is reported to have said, “Folks make an appointment and whatever color they turn […]

A Poem Called Freedom

A Poem Called Freedom (Reflections on How To Stay Free While Black)   Keeping my head to the sky I will close my eyes And listen for the sparrows’ whistle, the rivers roll, the trees whisper of their journey to freedom.   As the wind wipes my tears and holds me near I will embrace […]

At the Table: A Place of Stability in a Multicultural Family

Stability. How do you create stability in a changing world? One way is to hold on to tradition and customs. Customs carry the thread of story into the next generation. Food carries story. Not only through its flavors, but with stories that are passed on along with it at the table. There are dishes prepared […]

Nia Dennis Has the Floor

Nia Dennis worked the floor for 90 seconds and a lifetime. The student-athlete’s January 23 routine (9.95) not only secured the UCLA Bruin’s win over Arizona State but became a rising, viral anthem for something far more profound: In her LA Times feature of Dennis, Thuc Nhi Nguyen reports, “Inspired by the Black Lives Matter […]

Phillis Wheatley’s Revolution

She had words, from a birth language, spoken by a birth family, who gave her a birth name. Thieves tore almost everything from her, endeavoring to replace the originals with cheap imitations—like the new name they chose for her, from the boat that abducted her (The Phillis) and the family that enslaved her (Wheatley). But […]

What’s in Amanda Gorman’s Name

You know her titles: National Youth Poet Laureate. Inaugural poet (youngest ever). Harvard University graduate. Super Bowl show-stopper. Amanda Gorman: The one with her hand uniquely positioned on the pulse of a nation past, present, and future. But from a recent interview with Michelle Obama (Time Magazine),1did you know this about her name? “President Biden […]

Ziyah Holman’s Anchor

Two weeks ago, University of Michigan student-athlete Ziyah Holman overcame an unheard of 21 second team deficit to win the 4X4000 (Simmons-Harvey Invitational). Holman’s 51.79 second split came AFTER she set a meet/stadium record (and NCAA season lead) in in the 600 meters.1 She narrated her comeback-mindset to Theo Mackie of the Michigan Daily: “‘Just […]