Young Writers Project

powered by your voice


The Project

Muslim Girls Making Change (MGMC) is a youth-led group created by Hawa Adam, Kiran Waqar, Lena Ginawi, and Balkisa Abdikadir. They, and their newest member, Basmala Fadel, are dedicated to social justice through poetry. Tired of having their voices shut out or ignored by an older generation, they turned to slam poetry to be heard and to make a change. Since forming - and with help from Young Writers Project, Denise Casey and Rajnii Eddins - these girls have competed at international levels, done shows all around Vermont, and have made real change. This web page on youngwritersproject.org was created during the team's journey to compete at Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival in Washington, D.C. from July 12-16, 2016. It will serve as an archive for any who wish to learn about the team's beginnings. Please visit http://muslimgirlsmakingchange.weebly.com/ for the group's most recent information and updates!

SEPTEMBER 24 - 5:30 PM - VT NETWORK 30th ANNUAL CELEBRATION - ECHO CENTER - BURLINGTON, VT
MGMC will be joined by their coach, Denise Casey, to perform a ten minute set during a 30th annual celebration for the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence at Burlington's Echo Center. Admission: Ticketed. Contact Auburn Watersong for more information.

SEPTEMBER 23 - 8:30 PM - UVM SOUL FOOD SOCIAL - BURLINGTON, VT
MGMC will perform Wake Up America and other poems during a ten minute set at the annual Soul Food Social event hosted by the Black Student Union of the University of Vermont. Admission: Ticketed. For info, contact Ivonne Headley.

SEPTEMBER 11 - 3:00 PM - OLD WEST CHURCH - EAST CALAIS, VT - CANCELLED
MGMC and their coaches perform and hour-long set of poetry, movement and song in beautiful Calais, Vermont. Stick around afterward for refreshments and to meet the artists. Admission: Free. Address: Old West Church Road between Kent Hill and Bliss Pond Roads in Calais, VT.


AUGUST 26 - 12:00 PM - CITY HALL PARK - BURLINGTON, VT
MGMC will perform several pieces as part of a youth open mic in Burlington, VT. This lunchtime showcase will last an hour and include other Young Writers Project stars. Admission: Free.

AUGUST 10 - 7:00 PM - GRACE CHURCH - RUTLAND, VT
The community of Rutland will be welcoming several new residents who recently escaped war and devastation in their home country of Syria. Grace Church has invited Hawa, Kisa, Lena and Kiran to perform and help lead a discussion about the content of their poetry with the idea that it will help community members gain some understanding of Islam and the issues and attitudes these new residents might face in their new home.

JULY  30 - 6:30 PM - BURLINGTON TOWN CENTER (CHERRY ST. EXIT ADJACENT TO MACY'S)
This celebration of community is hosted by AT&T and The Poetry Experience. Featured artists include MGMC, Randee Eddins, Rajnii Eddins, Denise Casey, Lizzy Fox, Cleo Rohn, Bless the Child and NYT.

JULY 12-17 - BRAVE NEW VOICES FESTIVAL & SLAM COMPETITION - WASHINGTON, D.C.

JULY 8 - 6:30 PM - MGMC SEND OFF TO BRAVE NEW VOICES - MAGLIANERO CAFE

MGMC invites all community members, fans and donors to a last hurrah before the team heads down to Washington D.C.! Join us for tasty treats, poetry and good vibes. Admission: By donation. Address: 47 Maple Street, Burlingon, VT.

JUNE 15 - 4 PM - FLYNN THEATER
MGMC performs group and solo numbers at the Burlington School District Parent University Program's annual graduation and awards ceremony. BY RSVP ONLY. Admission: Free. RSVP: adieng@bsdvt.org. Address: 153 Main Street, Burlington, VT.

JUNE 2 - 12 PM - BURLINGTON COUNTRY CLUB
Lena Ginawi performs at the Turrell Fund's 2016 Fund Day for Children event. Admission: No admission for general public. Address: 568 Sout Prospect Street, Burlington, VT.

JUNE 2 - 5 PM - BURLINGTON BOAT HOUSE
Muslim Girls Making Change performs at Voices for Vermont's Children's annual benefit on the Burlington waterfront. Admission: TBD. Address: 0 College Street, Burlington, VT.

MAY 27 - 11 AM - EDMUNDS MIDDLE SCHOOL
MGMC highlights at Edmunds Middle School Town Meeting. Admission: No admission for general public. Address: 275 Main Street, Burlington, VT.

MAY 24 - 6:30 PM - ARTS RIOT
Muslim Girls Making Change headlines at monthly open mic and slam hosted by Rajnii Eddins, poet extraordinaire and MGMC coach. Admission: Free. Address: 400 Pine Street, Burlington, VT.

MAY 23 - 8 PM - LIGHT CLUB LAMP SHOP
Muslim Girls Making Change highlights at weekly Lit Club spoken word session in downtown Burlington club that lives up to its luminescent name. Admission: Free. Address: 12 N. Winooski Avenue, Burlington, VT.

MAY 18 - 9 PM - VERMONT COMEDY CLUB
MGMC performed in special guest appearance during Welcome to Gurlington: a variety show intended to showcase the incredible talent of women in and from Vermont.

May 15 - 9 AM & 11 AM -- UNITARIAN-UNIVERSALIST CHURCH, BURLINGTON
MGMC performed at two workshop services.

MAY 13 - 7 PM - MAIN STREET LANDING PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
Muslim Girls Making Change was one of the featured performers at Young Writers Project's Celebration of Writing/Anthology 8 Release Party, Burlington.

APRIL 29 - 2:15 PM - INTEGRATED ARTS ACADEMY
MGMC performs at Integrated Arts Academy Town Meeting as the school wraps up poetry week. Admission: no admission for outside guests. Address: 6 Archibald Street, Burlington, VT.

APRIL 27 - 12 PM - VERMONT PUBLIC RADIO
Muslim Girls Making Change speaks with with host Ric Cengeri during Vermont Edition.

APRIL 27 - 7:15 AM - FOX 44 WFFF
Muslim Girls Making Change performs "Wake Up, America" on morning television with host Brittney Hibbs.

APRIL 20 - 6:30 PM - KARMA BIRDHOUSE GALLERY
MGMC gives its first public performance at Young Writers Project's final Open Mic of the season.



 

PRESS LINKS

JULY 22, 2016 - "Muslim Teenagers Use Slam Poetry to Educate Others About Their Faith," Antonia Blumberg, Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post

JULY 13, 2016 - "Muslim Girls Making Change Spread Messages Through Poetry," Lisa Rathke, Associated Press

APRIL 20, 2016 - "Female Muslim Poets Challenge Stereotypes," Kymelya Sari, Seven Days.

APRIL 27, 2016 - "Young Slam Poets Push for Change through Spoken Word," Brittney Hibbs, WFFF FOX44.

APRIL 27, 2016 - "Burlington, South Burlington High School Poets Write and Perform to Create Change," Ric Cengeri and Sam Gale Rosen, Vermont Public Radio. Watch the full interview.

 

CONTACT

 

 

Poems

Jun 09
hawa's picture

Balance Beam

Gym class 2009
A young girl steps in to face her biggest fear yet
She thinks to herself
Nothing can hold her back from this kind of success
Can tell her she can’t do it
Can scare her away
Nothing, but the balance beam 
She hops on to it hoping that it would be just as easy for her
as it was for the other kids
She wishes for one single chance to prove to the rest that she could maintain balance
She crosses her fingers that no one would laugh...
Little does she know that with one foot comes the stumbling of another
That we are not all as nimble as jack
That this beam was not made for victory on her part
There never seems to be victory on her part
only obstacles
But she dodges these obstacles
NO, bullets, its matrix
Puts on costumes to make everyone comfortable
it’s white chicks
Jun 09
hawa's picture

We are the World

We are the World

By: Hawa Adam, Balkisa Abdikadir, Lena Ginawi, and Kiran Waqar

♫...We are the world, we are the children, we are the ones who...♫

Hawa: Are making mistakes,
Kiran: Segregation never was so visible
Balkisa: Me vs. you
Lena: Us vs. them
Hawa: Black
Balkisa: White
Lena: Arab
Kiran: Asian
Hawa: We get so caught up in the darkness of these differences that we can’t see the light of our similarities
Kiran: We turn away from the 2 eyes, 1 nose model of the human being and instead form our own images of acceptance
Lena: Humanity, unity, we detach from it all
Balkisa: We drift apart slowly, steadily like water eroding at rock

Kiran: I am Mother Asia
We have a rich history scared by the hands of white men
Jun 09
hawa's picture

3 Words, 3 Syllables

3 Words, 3 Syllables

By: Hawa Adam

Why is it so hard for a man to say I love you
3 words, 3 syllables that control everything
But don’t seem to be included in your vocabulary
Is it honestly so difficult?
Do you even want to say it?
Should I even be speaking this poem?
I love you 
It is foreign, it is alien
It never seem to come to your brain
As if your brain is shut down for the day
As if your brain circuits are dysfunctional
Or do you have another in mind
Even when life creates the perfect opportunities for you, you don’t grasp them
You can’t seem to push it out of you
As if there are invisible hands holding you back from it
From happiness
Sometimes you don’t even have to mean it just say it
Because searching for meaning simply takes time
Jun 09
Kiran's picture

Body Standards

Body Standards

By: Kiran Waqar

You saw my body way before you saw who I am
But that’s okay
I did the same to you
You took it all in
The outfit - meh
The face - blah
The body - ugh

I saw yours
Thin waste
Luscious hair and breasts
Beautiful baby blues
You are the standard

How can I ever compete?
Your clothes are great and so is your skin.
I prophesize your personality will match without even a single word.
I can see your pearly whites and sigh.
I know mine can never be so shiny.
I bet you get all the boys you want.
Bet they chase after you like a hungry dog.
Bet you have life easy.
With your long eyelashes you wouldn’t have to work a day in your life.

Only problem is you’re not real
Jun 06
Kiran's picture

American Dream

American Dream

By: Kiran Waqar and Hawa Adam

Singer: Lena Ginawi

♫...Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light...♫

H - America, the golden brick road to success. A place they had seen on TV screens, books and magazines.
K- Just the thought made their heart swell. They saw Americans whose eyes glittered with passion, whose souls were filled with hope of the future. They wanted that.
H- It was a place where their children's children could reach for the sky where they could reach for the sky.
K- A place where they were told to shoot for the moon so they would land among the stars. A place where the rags to riches story was as common as their veins which bled red, white and blue.
Jun 09
abdikadb's picture

Feminism

Editor's Note: This piece is a work in progress!

Feminism

By: Kiran Waqar and Balkisa Abdikadir

I changed 5 times before getting here and I’m still worried you don't think I’m pretty
I am hyper aware of my imperfections
Of your hungry eyes eating them up
Taking them in
Swallowing me in labels
Words that tell you who I am
But what I am
Ugly
Pretty
Fat
Skinny
Tall
Short
Beautiful
Hideous
I know you saw my hijab and think you know who I am
Oppressed
You see me and tell me to reveal
That I’m in America now, no need for this cage, right?
Wrong- this is me
I’m not hiding
I’m protecting myself
From your eyes always looking for flaws
Looking for the unshaved legs
Or the not so beautiful marks
Jun 09
Kiran's picture

Speak

SPEAK

By: Kiran Waqar

What makes us any different than a mountain lion?
A bumble bee?
A bat? A monster?
Is it our opposable thumbs?
The ability to understand the world around us?
The corny dad jokes?
The motherly affection?
What makes us human? What changes us from beast to person?
It is our voices
Our opinions that invoke change
That are heard from the tops of mountains
From the darkest corners where not even light can escape
We are there. We are brave. We are loud. We are unbashful. We are quiet
Whispering our beliefs
Right
Wrong
Yes
No
We are the change
With every breath
Stance
Opinion we alter the course of humanity
We screw the road map of society
Searching the busy roads for beautiful gems
Jun 09
abdikadb's picture

Home

Home

By: Balkisa Abdikadir

The globe next to my bed
one single spin my eyes land on somali.
The home i’ve never been to only born into.
And still
my heart yearns for the land that raised the Father who brought me far away from it.
The land that built a nation of poets
Poets that talk about the culture and land ruined by war
They speak the same words that run through my veins.
Our hearts will never become sore
It is a nation where art and culture are celebrated all around at every festival
From weddings to baby showers, funerals and homecomings
But the question is when will when can I go home?
Today Somalia is only known because of all the televised terror
But it was once home to many who were forced to leave so much behind
They found a new nation
Jun 09
Lena's picture

Labels

Editor's note: Lena Ginawi is a member of Muslim Girls Making Change, the slam team that YWP selected to represent YWP and Vermont at the Brave New Voices Festival in July, 2016. She has presented this poem in public prior to BNV and this recording comes from her appearance at The Turrell Fund Day -- a Celebration of Children and the many people and organizations who work to make children's lives better. Lena received a sustained standing ovation; several in the audience were brought to tears.

 

By Lena Ginawi

Labels.
Labels represent a way of differentiating and identifying people.
Jun 09
hawa's picture

You're White

You’re White

By: Hawa Adam and Balkisa Abdikadir

H: Hey Black girl, it’s almost like you’re white
*pause*
What does that even mean?
K: That my voice is a little too high for my identity
K: That I carry binders around instead of a bottle of hennessy
H: That my tongue articulates without an accent
K: That I can’t use slang, “you got me bent”
H: Tell me, is white a remedy to the poison of blackness
H: Is my coffee color too black and too strong
K: or do you call me white because I spend 4.99 on a vanilla bean frappuccino
Actually girl you should try the iced caramel macchiato
H: does white to you mean educated, successful, satisfaction guaranteed
H: does it mean participating in extracurriculars
You know, doing the most, getting away with stuff

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