I was at the protest Saturday night and while I was there I just realized, looking through the haze at tear gas canisters rolling in the streets, that we’re standing in this poisonous smog of literal chemical gas. That’s wreaking havoc on all of our lungs in the same way that Black and Brown bodies have inhaled the toxicity of racism and exhaled it through our pores day-in and day-out through our whole existence. It’s that idea of breath—of all of us taking a collective breath together as Black and Brown people that I wanted to illustrate.
*Khan worked with local Black poets, Manon Voice and Malachi Carter. Voice’s poem, “Vigils,” is about Black femininity and strength, while Carter’s “Maybe the World” focuses on faith and maternal love.
Nasreen Khan is an Indianapolis-based artist and poet. She grew up in West Africa and Indonesia before moving to the United States for her education, focusing her graduate research on Asian and African diasporic literature. Khan’s work focuses on her experience as a young, biracial, brown, queer immigrant mother. She also draws inspiration from her community in the Haughville neighborhood of Indianapolis.
Malachi Carter, who has a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing, is an Indianapolis-based poet, youth minister, and teacher whose work is inspired by the city. He also performs spoken word and rap, shoots photographs, and swing dances. His podcast, “The Unapologetics Podcast” focuses on Jesus, Black culture, and racism. His goal is to give a voice to people who don’t get to have their own.
Manon Voice is an Indianapolis-based poet and writer, spoken word artist, hip-hop emcee, educator, and social justice advocate. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and has a passion for creative consulting with a focus on cultural competency through the arts. Voice has performed on diverse stages across the country and has taught and facilitated art and poetry workshops widely. In 2017, she co-founded the Hear Me Project, a project that centers powerful questions in civic dialogue to create spaces for individual and community healing.