As I walk on the corners of Nathan Road where I had the fondest memories of my teenage years, I see water cannons and riot police with their rifles and I start coughing from the teargas as I try to find the nearest train station on New Year’s Eve.
In the past three years at this university, I’ve learned a ton. Most of my learning has been done outside of the classroom, however, I have also learned by actively taking part in movements, issues and communities that challenge me to think about the world critically.
For much of my life, my identity as a woman of color was rooted in embarrassment. I hid my weekend activities, which were always Carnatic music class, Bharatanatyam class, and Bala Vihar (study of Hindu scriptures).
As a little girl, nothing brought me more joy and excitement than dancing. My parents recognized this and were quick to enroll me in dance classes, in an attempt to encourage my curiosity for the performing arts.
During my first semester writing for the Michigan Daily I noticed myself wanting to write more about my experience as a freshman of color. Because what I’ve realized the past several months is how much race seemingly plays a significant role in creating new relationships.
I want to learn myself. I want to learn my power of voice. I want to learn my heart, my trials, my confusions, and my strength. I often shy from that which I fiend for: self-love, affection, my own art, my own words and thoughts. When I say shy from, I mean avoid.
I took this photo through the window of my car on May 16th, 2018 in Nazareth, Israel. On this day Israel-Palestine saw nationwide peaceful protests and demonstrations. These were against the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S.