As a child, I used to think about the stories and poems I wanted to write when I got older. Whenever something funny happened, I thought of how I could write a story about it and make someone else laugh too. Yet, I never actually put pen to paper. The stories I wanted to write were so different from the books I read, and my experiences were so noticeably different from those of my favorite characters. I thought my story wasn’t something people cared about. Why would anyone want to know what an Indian, Muslim girl from Michigan thought?
It wasn’t until I learned about the erasure of my history that I realized how powerful stories could be. As I began engaging with social justice, and learning names for phenomena that I had noticed and experienced as a kid, I realized that my stories had power. The details of my life are as important as Jo March’s in “Little Women.” My talents are as magical as Matilda’s. My feelings are as important as Hermione’s.
I didn’t write much as a child because I was scared. I was scared no one would like what I wrote, and I was scared no one would even care. As I grew older and pushed myself to write about my lived experiences, I found people who had experiences similar to my own. Finding other people who relate to what I have been through is empowering. This is what pushed me to write more and eventually join MiC.
MiC is a space where people of color can share their thoughts without policing their writing to fit what society tells us is important. We — our most raw and true selves — are important. We belong here. Most importantly, we deserve a space to share our stories. For me, MiC is that space and I hope it can be as empowering of a platform for more people of color as well.