Meet the immigrant teen who just got into all 8 Ivies

Harold Ekeh is a senior at Elmont High School on Long Island, New York, and this spring his mailbox overflowed with positive offers for the future. Ekeh, who immigrated to America with his parents from Nigeria eight years ago, was accepted to every single college he applied to — including all eight Ivy League universities. His story and what he plans to do after college will make you admire him even more.

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If you not rocking with ALL of us, stop saying #BlackLivesMatter. That means the crackhead down the street, the girl working the pole, your drunk uncle, not just the “respectable doctor,” your pharmacist, and that sweet old lady who tells you to keep out of trouble every time you pass by her house. #staywoke #farfromover

Meet Silvana Imam, the Queer Feminist Rapper Who’s Taking on Sweden’s Fascists with Hip-Hop

While outsiders often see Sweden as a kind of utopian ideal, the rise of the Sweden Democrats (who polled third in the 2014 election) and news of Nazi-related violence would suggest otherwise. Imam is at the front of a wave of socially conscious and feminist rap that has risen concurrently with these issues and with the rise of the feminist party, Feministik Initiativ (FI), which, in the 2014 election, received their best-ever share of the vote. Imam has performed at FI events—she says they are “the only political party who wants to change the structures from within”—but does not consider herself a political artist.

“I’m a conscious rapper,“ she says. “I write songs about my life, and since I write through a lesbian-immigrant-woman’s perspective, it’s labeled as "political.” I’m letting people know how fucked up the world is through my art. This is about my life and my own survival in this patriarchal and anti-democratic world. A woman who writes love songs to other women causes immediate chaos in most peoples’ minds? That is something you should question. and not whether I’m political or not.”

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The narrator encounters resistance when she tells her father she’s considering a creative path. Often, in an immigrant family, it’s a very big departure for a child to say: I want to be an artist, not a doctor, not a lawyer, or an engineer. The father, here, tells his daughter what so many immigrant parents tell their children: Art is not the safest route in life. We didn’t sacrifice all this for you to take up a precarious profession.

He tries to comfort her, at the same time, by insisting that being an immigrant makes her an artist already. And this is a fascinating notion: that re-creating yourself this way, re-creating your entire life is a form of reinvention on par with the greatest works of literature. This brings art into the realm of what ordinary people do to in order to survive. It takes away the notion that art is too lofty for the masses, and puts it in the day-to-day. I’ve never seen anyone connect being an artist and an immigrant so explicitly, and for me it was a revelation.

My parents spent their entire lives in Haiti before they left. They didn’t know much about the United States except that, at that time, there were opportunities there. They basically packed two suitcases and came. That experience of touching down in a totally foreign place is like having a blank canvas: You begin with nothing, but stroke by stroke you build a life. This process requires everything great art requires—risk-tasking, hope, a great deal of imagination, all the qualities that are the building blocks of art. You must be able to dream something nearly impossible and toil to bring it into existence.

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 All Immigrants Are Artists, Edwidge Danticat

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Pope Francis gave this adorable 5-year-old a loving embrace

Coming from Los Angeles to see the pope in Washington, D.C., 5-year-old Sophie Cruz managed to cross police barriers. After initially being blocked by one security guards, the pope beckoned for Cruz to be brought forward. She was promptly scooped up and beelined to the pope. Cruz is the daughter of two undocumented immigrants and wanted to meet the pope to ask for help.

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We’re all humans, folks, it’s really not that hard to see.

Translated by me and Monica Odom

[image text] Once, a stranger asked Rafaela: “You’re so exotic, what are you?”
Rafaela preferred to answer with humor, so she said she was the last living T-rex, but nobody else had noticed until then, so he deserved the prize of Exceptional Perception.

[texto da imagem] Certa vez, um estranho perguntou a Rafaela: “Você é tão exótica, você é o quê?”
Rafaela preferiu responder com humor, dizendo que ela era o último tiranossauro sobrevivente, mas que ninguém havia percebido até então, e por isso a pessoa merecia um prêmio de Percepção Excepcional.

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Concepcion Picciotto, responsible for the longest act of political protest, has died

Concepcion Picciotto, who also went by Conchita or Connie, held a peace vigil outside the White House for over 30 years in the longest-running act of political protest until she died on Monday around 80. Picciotto immigrated to the U.S. from Spain in the ‘60s and first settled down in New York City, where she found a job as an interpreter at the Spanish Embassy. But her “classic American dream” soon fell apart.

Hello My Name Is [immigrant] ;
and I’m sorry the edges of my broken English are so sharp that they leave your ears bloody. My mouth is trying to swallow a whole other Tongue.

Hello My Name Is [ go back if you don’t like it here] ;
and I’m comprised of 3 jobs, in each I am invisible. I’ve slept under so many bridges, People ask if I’m a troll. I’m struggling to stitch a future from broken fragments of the past, crushing up parts of my self to make a paste and hold it all together. Last night I slept on Hope but I was blanketed by Fear.

Hello My Name Is [ … what are you even eating..] ;
and the only time I can mimic safety is when I eat my homeland’s food. The soups are the waters where I swam for fun, the sautéed vegetables are the hills and trees I ran through, the spices are the twinkling stars at night. Sometimes, I forget the strength of the blood running, jumping, coursing, through my veins. Am I still worthy?

Hello My Name Is [they’re all so dirty] ;
and my hands are cracked from the pressure, caked with the mud that comes from trying to make stubborn ends meet. I watch you stare at my odd clothes; your scared glances keep feeding a monster in me. The secret is: I balance precariously the line between the Yin and the Yang, neither one nor the other. Neither here, nor there. Too much of both to be at peace in a place other than a wanderer’s arms.

Hello My Name Is [immigrant] ;
And I’m Here,
to stay.

—  B. Damani || Hello My Name Is