All posts tagged: featured

Mama’s Writing | Nia Norris

Nia Norris is a journalist in the Chicago area who writes about social justice, public policy, education, and culture. Her publication credits include Catapult, Courier Newsroom, and Antiracism Daily. When she is not writing, Nia is a mother to her three children and a full-time student. Follow her on Twitter @nianorriswrites.     How has parenting influenced your writing? Parenting has influenced my writing in a sort of a roundabout way. Although my social media followers often told me I should write for a living after reading my posts that found levity in the ups and downs of parenting, I didn’t start writing professionally until I actually had to take some time away from my children — and I turned to writing as a coping mechanism to deal with the grief. I rarely directly write about my children; their father is a very private person and prefers not to have their stories shared widely. However, I have mentioned them in a few pieces, and I did write an essay for Catapult about dealing with postpartum …

Lost Daughters, Losing Mothers

Justice Involved Mothers is a column developed in partnership with Roots. Wounds. Words.: A Literary Arts Revolution. Devoted to real life, authentic narratives of criminalization, Justice Involved Mothers is curated and edited by Nicole Shawan Junior and penned by the Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Brown women who have suffered the white supremacist arm and misogynist fist of law enforcement. Through these creative nonfiction works of literary art, we aim to uplift liberation demands, amplify abolitionist urgings, and cast an even wider spotlight on the vice grip criminalization holds around the necks of women—MOTHERS—of color. Justice Involved Mothers centers Our stories because we are the ones who are most ignored. The ones with the most to tell. Pulling my charcoal peacoat tighter around me, I trudge the short distance from the train to Ma’s house. January’s cold nips at my bare fingers. I shove my hands into the coat’s pockets, bow my head to the ground, quicken my pace as I near the brick elementary school that shares space with Ma’s housing complex. School has ended for …

Beautiful Dreams After Tiny Wings

I knew something was amiss. My intense craving for anything covered in tikka masala sauce had disappeared overnight, and my entire body felt…off. I stood in the mirror rubbing my tiny belly whispering, “Please don’t leave me. We can do this. I love you so much.” I was pleading with this little life to stick it out with me, trying my best to hide the panic in my voice from their tiny ears. After all, tomorrow we would celebrate our first Mother’s Day together.  That same night, I had a dream that my sweet nugget, who was a warm addition to my body, would leave me soon. I shared that heartbreaking dream with my husband, Jamie, and we began to pray for our baby to live while Jamie also tried his best to comfort me. But receiving comfort felt absolutely impossible. I wanted to believe God would answer our prayers but, in my gut, I knew my dream was, in a sense, God’s grace in preparing my heart for what was to come: an unbearable …

The Other Side of Town

On weekends, Mẹ and I drive twenty-five  minutes to the Vietnamese grocery store on the other side of town. The lot is chaotic, with no discernible lines to bring order to the few random cars parked on cracked black asphalt. Inside, the store is cramped and cluttered. In a corner, framed black and white photos of someone’s deceased parents anchor a mostly red altar. Beneath the pictures rests a gilded Buddha statue, flanked by a bowl of tangerines and fresh yellow mums. Incense wafts through the air, bridging the human world to our ancestors’ spiritual heaven.  Mẹ uses metal tongs to fish homemade tofu out of a big bucket and into a tiny bag. I get lost in a small selection of brightly colored Chinese candies wrapped in pink plastic. Mẹ’s broken crimson shopping basket holds dried bean thread noodles, packets of roasted rice powder, and bundles of rau răm and rau muống. The store owner grows the precious herbs on the patio, harvests them into ordinary sandwich bags, and from a beat-up produce case …