Every year, the Arab Students Association hosts Arab Xpressions — a cultural show dedicated to featuring the beauty of Arab culture. Join us Feb. 17 to enjoy traditional Arab dances, music, clothing, poetry and more. As we explore the unique experiences of Arab Americans through detailed displays and hilarious skits, we hope to provide a powerful and entertaining night for you and your family. The following spoken words were presented at Arab Xpressions 2017:
When I was younger, being Black and Nigerian never caused me any problems. I grew up in a fairly diverse town and school district. Throughout elementary school, I had friends of multiple races and ethnicities. Though it was obvious to us, even as elementary schoolers, that we differed by skin color, it never changed how we saw each other. The only thing I didn’t like about myself that stemmed from my race and ethnicity was my hair. I was always ashamed of my hair and how it was naturally kinky and coily, unlike my friends’ hair.
On the anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, congressional Democrats and Republicans failed to agree on a budget that would secure continued protection for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
We often think of movements or even advocacy in general as something visible. If we can’t see it, we don’t feel it’s happening. Oftentimes movements are visible or at least have some tangible components. What do you remember about the civil rights movement? Probably Rosa Parks refusing to be moved from her seat, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. We hardly ever think of all the preparation and invisible, deliberate actions that fueled the movement.
The very first occupation I was interested in becoming was a police officer; whenever one was around, I could not take my eyes off of their gleaming badges. For an assignment in school during kindergarten, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up and why. I wrote: “A police officer so I can arrest people.” My family found it humorous, but when I think back to the assignment now, all I feel is shame.
Growing up, I always loved to read. Some of my fondest childhood memories include going to the library with my mom to pick out books, and then reading them together. As I got older, I developed a passion for writing as well, finding my voice and feeling the true power the written word can hold. I enjoyed writing in my English classes, and I also wrote and continue to write in a journal as an outlet for my frustrations and emotions.