L Train to Resistance

Forgive me, Imani, for leaving tonight. Forgive me for spending so few minutes lying beside you, my palm resting gently on your burning chest. Forgive me for not being able to slow down, with my touch, or my own even breathing, the fierce beating of your heart, trapped in an abode on fire. Forgive me for not delivering the inspirational speech I had recited to … Continue reading L Train to Resistance

Women Rising

When women unite, we part seas and move mountains. When women stand together, even the wealthiest of men in the world can’t afford to build a mightier wall. When women’s voices rise in a collective roar, the only way to survive our fierceness is to agree to listen. Women have always come together in the face of destruction. But the tsunamis, earthquakes, and tyrants that … Continue reading Women Rising

The People’s Inaugural Address

My friend and I have now given up on the ridiculous idea that we might find each other in a crowd of twenty-five thousand. I am only a few blocks away from the stage from which Michael Moore, Rosie Perez, Mayor De Blasio, Robert De Niro, Reverend Al Sharpton, Natalie Merchant, Mark Ruffalo, Alec Baldwin, Melissa Mark-Veverito, Sally Field, Cynthia Nixon, and others are addressing … Continue reading The People’s Inaugural Address

What’s the Point?

He says he’s not gonna do it. He says he doesn’t feel like it. Excuse me? 3. He says he’s missed too many classes without an excuse, and he’s not getting credit for the class anyway. So what’s the point of writing this essay? Excuse me? 2. He says he doesn’t want to try and get it done because it’s too late. He doesn’t wanna … Continue reading What’s the Point?

Roads Untraveled Can’t Be Taught

The boy says her train can’t get through, and my five-year-old daughter’s immediate and emphatic response is: “You just don’t want black people’s trains to pass.” It turns out the boy had only meant to say he wasn’t ready yet; he had needed more time to lay the tracks. Later, the teacher asks my husband whether our daughter is happy at the school, where she … Continue reading Roads Untraveled Can’t Be Taught

Resistance Anthem

May everything I write this year be an act of rebellion. May my pen draw its ink from an ocean rising in fierce waves of collective resistance. May these waves come crashing down on everything and anything that threatens peace and justice. May we all roar until our voices come together into waves so fierce that they will sweep bigotry and tyranny out of all … Continue reading Resistance Anthem

All the Children of the World

Their brush strokes are careful and measured, especially when they are using the thinnest brushes to gently dip into the black paint on the palette of one of the older girls, the only child at the table to have made black one of her three choices of color. She doesn’t mind that everyone is using her black. Although she nods each time a hand reaches … Continue reading All the Children of the World

My Soul’s Most Enduring Mate

We sit down at the kitchen island, nibble on pita and feta, and look at each other. It’s been this way since I woke up one morning a few months ago and found a teenager in my home. Maybe I would have been ready, if I hadn’t only had seven years of his boyhood, or if he wasn’t half a year short of turning thirteen, … Continue reading My Soul’s Most Enduring Mate

Why We Celebrate Kwanzaa

Since we decided to bring Kwanzaa to our family and make it the centerpiece of our winter holiday festivities four years ago, I have been questioned, teased, and even mocked for celebrating a holiday that has nothing to do with me, and involves seven days of intense preparation, execution, and reflection. Why bother? “It’s not even a real holiday,” a student once rolled her eyes. “Some … Continue reading Why We Celebrate Kwanzaa