About MGMC

Muslim Girls Making Change (MGMC) is a youth-led group created by Hawa Adam, Kiran Waqar, Lena Ginawi, and Balkisa Omar. They are dedicated to social justice through poetry. performance and action. 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 in March 2016 - and with help from Young Writers Project and YWP coaches Denise Casey and Rajnii Eddins - MGMC has competed at international levels at Brave New Voices, done shows all around Vermont and beyond, and have made real change.

This web page was initially created during the team's journey to compete at Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival in Washington, D.C. in 2016. It also serves as a resting place for their work since that time and with YWP's Voices for Change project, that has been funded, in large part, by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

Please visit http://muslimgirlsmakingchange.weebly.com for the group's most recent information and updates!





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.


MGMC at Johnson State College


Jun 09
Kiran's picture



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
We are the change
With every breath
Opinion we alter the course of humanity
We screw the road map of society
Searching the busy roads for beautiful gems
The quiet streets for hidden messages
The forgotten allies for the forgotten folks
Every day we choose our words
Jun 09
Balkisa's picture



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
They Wanted to create a new home
but it’s not their home
Nor is it my home
Jun 09
Lena's picture


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 represent a way of differentiating and identifying people.
Little do they know, they are demeaning those they are describing or classifying.
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
And a woman's heart can only beat to the rhythm of the clock for so long
So just grow some balls and say it
Dec 28

MGMC new video

Jul 24

Huffington Post writes about MGMC

Jun 09
Kiran's picture



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

I can’t talk about black liv…
Don’t talk about it
There is an elephant in the room
I can’t talk about gay righ...
Shhhhh don’t talk about it
There is an elephant in the room
I am in my room
Watching video
After video
After video
Black girl talks about black power
White girl talks about feminism
Muslim girl recites the Quran

I want to hear a white person speak up against racism
I want to see a man stand up against rape
I want to witness a Jew preach against islamophobia
Does this even happen?
Why isn’t this happening?

There is an elephant in the room
These problems are too big for one group to handle
One person
One identity to handle
We need you
And you need us
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
Who have taken a beautiful continent and tried to turn it evil with greed
British colonialism in India
Drugs in China
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
You’re a product of makeup artists, stylists, designers and editors
Editors who brushed away 15 pounds
Jun 09
Balkisa's picture


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


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
I know you saw my hijab and think you know who I am
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
So don’t tell me I’m oppressed
For not being a slave to my body
My body which is