Muslim Girls Making Change Spread Messages Through Poetry

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Four girls from Vermont are using their voices and powerful performance poetry to get their message out about being Muslim in America, stereotypes, and other issues near to them.

Five months after forming their slam poetry group, Muslim Girls Making Change is competing this week in the Brave New Voices international youth poetry slam competition in Washington, DC.

“We write poems about things that we can’t keep inside of us anymore, so things that we care so much about,” said Kirin Waqar, 16, of South Burlington, whose parents are from Pakistan.

With titles like “American Dream,” ”Welcome” and “Chameleon” the girls address their parents’ expectations coming to this country, the Syrian refugees and their own challenges balancing their American identity with where their family is from.

Like in the poem “Chameleon”:

“We will never be white only pretend to be. We hide behind big mirrors and lies unsure of who we really are. African American or the other way around? Pakistani first, American?,” they say. “Tears roll off our face. The droplets form a perfectly curved rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, which one am I?” they say voices rising. “Which one are we. Maybe we’re a mix. Maybe we are many. A combination of colors … Maybe we are one.”

Read the full story on WTOP.