Fatimah's Open Road


    Opportunity Youth


    Chicago, IL



“Stop apologizing. For a long time, I felt like I had to apologize for the way I grew up, but you don't owe anybody that.”


Art Writing


Experience Family Passion Talent Inspiration Self-Reflection Confidence Doubt Pressure Exploration Determination Goals Perseverance Individualism Support & Encouragement Negativity


Communicating / Sharing Stories


adversity, college, confidence, dreams, education, frustration, growing up, immigrant, pain, parents, performances, person-of-color, poetry, respect, storytelling, teaching, telling your story, violence, women, writing


  • Her family grew up in Kashmir but immigrated to America because of the violence between India and Pakistan.
  • Her mother died of breast cancer when she was one year old, and her father died suddenly from a heart attack when she was four years old.
  • Because she was raised by an immigrant family who didn't believe in therapy, she had a very hard time coping with those losses.
  • Eventually, she and her sisters started lying to everyone and saying they lived with an adult, when really, they were alone and raising themselves.
  • She took advantage of summer camps, where she could get a free lunch and have fun to help her forget some of her stress.
  • Saw spoken word for the first time and realized that she'd found an outlet where people would listen to and respect her story.
  • The first time she performed her poetry on a stage, she had to perform sitting down because her knees were shaking so badly she couldn't stand.
  • Says poetry allowed her to control and share her story, and that's why she has built her life around the craft.

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