Journals of Color | Issue 7

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By Sunniha Hussain THE



By Kaylana Felipe HISTORY


By Suvidya Bishnudat PRIDE

By Kahdija Jabbi




By Nagieliss Belliard







By Xiomara Williams



By Nickaylia Anderson








By Elliot Babilonia ART






By Kevin Roman



By Stephanie Cuevas, Skye Knigt, and Mamon Alivio

REFLECTING (2020-2021)






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On Saturday, June 19th at 3 PM EST, Journals of Color will be hosting our first annual Open Mic Event! This will be a chill space to unwind while honoring the creative writing from our past seven magazine issues.

Emmanuella Agyemang Marielys Martinez Chazzel Ferbol Teresa Bautista Fatoumata Drammeh Yisel Dejesus

Skye Knight Stephanie Cuevas Mamon Alivio

Sunniha Hussain Kaylana Felipe Suvidya Bishnudat Kahdija Jabbi Nagieliss Belliard Xiomara Williams Nickaylia Anderson Elliot Babilonia

Kevin Roman

Journals of Color will be accepting applications again in the FALL of 2021.

this is

JOURNALS OF COLOR the voices of the bronx.

Don't Deprive the Right to Love

By Sunniha Hussain Depriving the right to love is like depriving the heart from beating It makes people question what the point of living is But some people don't see it that way Because when they hear that you’re gay They instantly stay away As if you’re carrying a disease that has no cure As if the way you love is impure They’ll hold out their large signs and yell in your face That you’ll never belong in this place As if loving another human being is a crime They’re failing to adjust with time They’ll tell you to change To change out of the rainbow colored shirt Because they think it’s changed your worth They’ll follow you to your house chanting their words But their crowd will grow smaller when we bond together Our height might not intimidate them but our acceptance will

Holding our signs And holding each other’s hands We’ll encourage to spread love instead They can’t change our mind and never will Because embracing our identity is what keeps our heart beating It’s what gives us meaning They’ll still hold out their large signs and yell in your face But soon you’ll feel stronger to say you’re unapologetically gay So hold each other's hands And give each other a hug Look at each other eye to eye And feel the love and pain you experienced in life Depriving the right to love is like depriving the heart from beating So support each other to give someone’s life another meaning Open the lid that’s closing a mind Heal a wound with kindness and love And surely the world will be a better a place to love and live in

The Rainbow Connection

By Kaylana Felipe People are weird, society is overrated If you are a woman and date a stud you will be judged If you are a man and date a man you will be judged Society has already made up its mind The rules are already set in place If you are a women you must stay home and keep the house tidy If you are a man you must go to work and be the “man of the house” But why not switch it up? Why not change the narrative and do the impossible? Love is happiness, Happiness is love I'm sick and tired of people being unhappy because they can't love who they love They can't go out in public with their girlfriend because she was once a man They can't introduce their parents to their partner because the parents are old school Don't even get me started on how people think you are supposed to look Who says men can't wear a dress? Who says women can't rock a tie? Your body is your body for a reason Wear what makes you feel sane & beautiful change your appearance, DO IT Love is happiness, Happiness is love

History Behind The Pride

By Suvidya Bishnudat

We weren't put on this earth to please folks If you want to, go-ahead but is it your life if you allow others to dictate your every move? It's not, it's not if you are a female & want to date a fem but you have to ask for your family’s approval first You should be able to love the hell out of that fem, but some aren't able to If you are a male and want to date a male you should go for it, you shouldn't have to think about whether or not “your bros” will still see you as a bro A lot of things shouldn't be the way they currently are but some people can't leave these toxic/ simple-minded people around them Love is happiness, Happiness is love

You don't have to be gay to understand that love is all someone needs sometimes You don't have to be bisexual to understand that love is all someone craves sometimes You don't have to be straight to understand that there are multiple different ways to express love Stop saying that there is only one way to love someone because there isn't There's hundreds of different ways to make love, confess your love, & view love Don't come for someone’s existence on who they choose to love because you are unsure of who you love Stop it, get some help, it's not fair to that person who's just trying to live their best life If you don't know what interest you try everything nothings wrong with tasting the rainbow Love is happiness, Happiness is love

Pride By Kahdija Jabbi All these beautiful identities Cultivating beauty and passion. Varying sexualities outside of the binary Is natural. Loving is free And there's so many ways to feel attraction. We've been told to fear what is not straight, What is not cisgender But, I say Live in your skin And love in your pride Because that's who you are. It gets dangerous And people are told to be silent They say they aren't homophobic But their views are so violent To the very people they claim to "love." Identities exist in so many colors, It's hard not to see it. LGBTQIA+ community I value you I believe you And you are loved. They claim to praise the God above But they are the ones who always judge I tell these hypocrites to hush Because they live in no truth When ignorance is their oxygen. Your pride is everything and more Love it, lather in it and keep it It's gorgeous And celebrate yourself.

Thoughts By Nagieliss Belliard I know they will misspell my name on my gravestone They will carve my name out with their distinct memory of my past Questioning whether or not if I am a mystery to the anatomy They are anxiously waiting for me to change my mind I am afraid I am going to die without a whisper I started to befriend silence I want to paint over my reflection My body droops like a question mark I wonder why the bread and wine at my communion starts to leave an aftertaste of shame and guilt I wonder why my uttered prayer isn’t being answered I am walking casket Filled with old memories The old me I am an questioned asked but not answers The echoes of my past travels far enough to start the “what a shame” conversation But, like my thoughts, my identity will never make sense to anyone

And What Even is Pride Anyway?

By Xiomara Williams Why is it that people should only be proud for one month every year? What does pride month even mean in this day and age? Maybe it's just a way for corporations to capitalize off of more people, by selling rainbow colored merchandise and calling it “diversity.” For some reason, society thinks that dedicating some period of time to any marginalized group will reconcile all the issues and disparities placed upon them. The world wants people to be grateful for the one month of the year that they are acknowledged. Despite the fact that Alabama has banned gender affirming treatment for transgender youth, or that half of the country still hasn’t banned conversion therapy, or the abhorent fact that the LGBTQ Youth are 120% more likely to Experience Homelessness. Society wants people to be grateful… for the bottom of the barrel. When the truth is, pride shouldn't be something that comes and goes. It shouldn't be slightly more accepted in the month of June. There's no one way to have or celebrate pride; it is something that you have to find within yourself before anywhere else because regardless of how hard or long we fight, society stopped listening after they put a rainbow pattern on a t-shirt and called it a “limited edition” and exclusively for pride month.

Diversity in Uniqueness

By Nickaylia Anderson I am Jamaican. Pride in my nation is not a problem. I am proud of my heritage I am proud of the culture that follows me. It envelopes my identity. But what also follows me? In my community where homophobia And prejudice is very common. When I was younger, I never questioned it If I did, I was acting grown Or I was involving myself in business that wasn’t mine. I wasn’t allowed a voice to speak my opinions Therefore ignorance thrived around me And most importantly - hate. It always hurt me to hear the derogatory names, To see the people who are affected by the lack of support. To know that the people around me could switch up so fast On the ones they once claimed to love Only because of whom they chose to love And how they identify as. I am sixteen years old now And even though I am still labeled as a child, I am my own person and I have my own mindset. I am old enough to know who and what I support. And I support allowing one to be themselves Without discrimination or judgement. To me, Pride Month symbolizes the acceptance of one’s self Supporting our family and our friends in their own life decisions. It’s about supporting who they love And to forego the negativity that has thrived in this patriarchal society. To me, pride month is allowing one their own choices of their identity.

Traditional values do not have to stay the same. Forcing someone to enforce your idea of ‘normal’ isn’t healthy. It’s not hard to continue to love And to continue to support. Neither is it hard to allow yourself the abilityAn ability to be yourself around your own loved ones. Pride month is about one’s identity and choices And the fight we continue to fight to be recognized And to be respected. All in all, I know that I love the people in my life And I will always have their back. I love being Jamaican But my environment does not define me. I can be among the first to say I support Pride Month I support identity I support love and the freedom to love. I can be among the first to say that But hopefully I’m not the last.

I Wish I Were A Boy

By Elliot Babilonia “Can I wish for anything, anything in the world mom?” “Sí, pero se supone que no me lo digas.” A wish that could transform my life, anything in the world, and I don’t even gotta tell her. Oh boy, my world painted in blue, overlapping my dress I put my hands together and look up at the sky, shutting my eyes I blow out the birthday candles and grin with glee


If I could wish for anything, anything in the world I would pray to God that one day I could wake up Ripped abs like a god Full beard like my dad With two girls on each side of my bed with me Instead I wake up to My mom telling me I’m a beautiful girl and any man would be grateful to have me But what if I wanna be the man with the beautiful girl?


I got home from school with bruises all over my body I still have nightmares about the teachers Taking my hot wheels toy Throwing it in the trash The toy my momma got me for Christmas In the trash The teacher held me while my best friend punched me in the stomach I wake up in my house I ain’t remember nothing until my girlfriend told me It’s because I’m with the girl everybody desired

Except I was a girl too. Even with my two sports bras on, my spongebob button up shirt, and my long hair in a ponytail So I can look handsome like Ray Ray from Mindless Behavior. My girl called me her prince, But my mom called me her princesa. I want to be the boy that everybody wants Not the girl they want me to be.


I read online somewhere That you can bind your breasts with two bras So that's what I do With them on the tightest setting, I slip them over my boobs with many struggles. I can't breathe But at the same time, I can Because now, I can breathe better than I ever could before


Digging for the inner conformation, Yelling and screaming to find myself, Searching for acceptance in a world of hate, Pushing away friends who don't accept your feelings, Hoping your parents will continue to love you the same, For my body to finally match how I feel, Opening the first card or letter addressed correctly Receiving a driving licence or bank card, Imagining a positive future, Accepting myself.


I’m on my happy pills that I take everyday, Everyday I have to take them For the rest of my life Unless my life is cut short like the 51% of boys like me who try to take theirs. I’ve been waiting for the day to come where I don’t get misgendered, Where I don’t hesitate to walk around with my shirt off, Where I can get dressed without crying everyday. When will the day come where I won’t have to be conscious of every action I take? Just to appear manly enough for others when I can’t even feel manly enough for myself. I’m just the worthless “tranny” that nobody has their mind on, That faggot trying to be something he’s not, whatever, They point and stare like I’m a lion in a cage. I’ll never feel 20 Free. I’m a man now, So why do I still feel cages Pressing against my bare skin? I'm on land, no water in sight. So why does it feel like I'm drowning? I just ate So why do I feel empty inside? Someone, anyone. Please tell me why.

INTRODUCING OF ISSUE 07 From showcasing the vibrancy of pride month to depicting pivotal figures like Marsha P. Johnson, the following pieces of art and photography beautifully encompass the strength and beauty behind pride month.

Photography by Kevin Roman

Photography by Kevin Roman

Artwork by Stephanie Cuevas

Artwork by Skye Knight

"Unforgettable." - Fatoumata Drammeh "Unforgettable." - Sunniha Hussain

"Worthwhile." - Nagieliss Belliard

"Unforgettable." - Kaylana Felipe

"Exemplar." - Kevin Roman

"Swag." - Mamon Alivio "Inspiring." - Evelyn Opara

"Exciting." - Suvidya Bishnudat

"Colorful." - Tasnim Khanom "Refreshing." - Kahdija Jabbi

"Journals of Color acts as an opportunity to not only express myself without any limitations but to improve my writing with each magazine issue. It is also a learning experience for me to learn about the different issues that affect the world or parts of the world. " - Nickaylia Anderson, JOC Creative Writer "Journals of Color mean so many things to me. When I think of joc I not only think of change but also a family and a safe space. Joc has given bronx teens the ability to change and take control of their own narratives as inhabitants of the bronx while sharing their experiences, thoughts and stories in hopes of spreading awareness on prevalent issues. Beyond that, it’s not only a team but a community of friends who come together to talk, comfort and advise each other and just enjoy each other's company." - Fatoumata Drammeh, JOC Art Director & Artist

"Journals of Color is a platform that allowed me and other teenagers from the Bronx to share stories that reflected our situations and our viewpoints. Journals of Color wasn’t just a magazine, but a magazine breaking stereotypes." - Sunniha Hussain, JOC Creative Writer

"JOC is a community of people who are constantly wanting to see each other win and cheer each other on whether or not they know each other, it's nothing but great vibes over here." - Kaylana Felipe, JOC Creative Writer "What Journals of Color means to me is a sign of alleviation because of how flexible and representative this community is. Journals of Color are a supportive and understanding group of people where you’re comfortable sharing your input." - Kevin Roman, JOC Photographer

"One of the highlights at Journals of Color was when I, surprisingly, had trouble coming up with an idea for a picture to capture for the monthly theme magazine. Despite finding a roadblock, I wrestled with it and eventually came up with ideas that were loved by the photography department. Another highlight is how supportive everyone was with each other because, at the end of the day, knowing that there is someone out there that healthily gives you positive reinforcement is always appreciated." - Kevin Roman, JOC Photographer

"The highlights were always the talks and conversations we would have about things going on or the questions of the day. It was always interesting to see what people had to say and exchange opinions and ideas. I also loved the days of issue releases! Seeing everyone's hard work praised and out in the world and just everyone happy and content always made me so happy." - Fatoumata Drammeh, JOC Art Director & Artist

"Seeing others express themselves through photography and visual art. It just shows that words are not the only way to reach someone." - Nagieliss Belliard, JOC Creative Writer

"My art being used as the cover on issue 4 is something that surprised me! I never knew my art would get that far to being on the cover. It was definitely my first time something I took part in was on the cover!" - Mamon Alivio, JOC Artist "At Journals of Color, I feel important and I feel heard. I am not just a 16 year old girl who has a lot to say or who is too opinionated. Here, what I say matters, what I say is taken into consideration. Everyone is so nice, helpful and understanding. Journals of Color I would say is definitely a place for teenagers who feel unheard and unappreciated and we become heard and appreciated. I am grateful for being able to be part of something so great and original. I can honestly say I felt lighter this year because I didn’t have so much on my chest. I feel HEARD and SEEN." - Marie Toure, JOC Creative Writer

"My favorite magazine issue from Journals of Color was issue 4, Black History Month. Despite how beautifully created the other issues prior to this was, issue 4 of the Journals of Color Magazine in my opinion, was beautifully executed. I got an opportunity to read writing pieces and admire art works and photographs that expressed how each member felt about Black history month. Over the years, our history has not been talked about enough. But, this magazine seemed to totally express everyone’s perspective on this historical month that deserves a yearly celebration." - Evelyn Opara, JOC Community Manager & Creative Writer

"My favorite magazine issue has to be the mental health one. All of the issues were amazing, but the mental health one was so impactful. Everyone was so transparent and vulnerable in their experiences and it was so real." - Kahdija Jabbi, JOC Creative Writer

"My favorite issue from Journals of Color is between Issue 5 and 6. Issue 5 because I had no idea what to do for that issue, even though it was about beauty and almost anything was acceptable, but I wanted to make something that stood out. And for Issue 6, depicting mental health in pictures is definitely an intriguing concept, so that one was interesting to put in picture form." - Kevin Roman, JOC Photographer

"My favorite issue so far was the black history month issue. The reason why is reading these poems and looking at the different arts and photos allowed me an insight into the true diversity of JOC. I also felt proud of the fact that we were all able to make our own contributions to the importance of this month using our own talents and individual backgrounds." - Nickaylia Anderson, JOC Creative Writer

"My favorite magazine issue from Journals of Color was the 2020 recap. I feel like a lot of things happened in 2020 that led us to have a full experience of what the world is actually like and how much of an impact it has on us including the amount of deaths due to the coronavirus and the commotion in government system." - Suvidya Bishnudat, JOC Creative Writer

"As an art director I’ve definitely improved when it comes to setting guidelines and giving concrete feedback. This experience has really shown me how to lead within a group, guide my artists and just spot and give more in depth critique about art in general. As an artist I’ve definitely learned a lot about what I need to improve on and I do think prompt wise as I always had to stick to a deadline which made me more organized and skill wise I have improved. As a person I know I’ve grown socially and intellectually due to my conversations with other members. I believe every interaction and experience contributes to my growth and navigation in the world and JOC is one of those experiences." - Fatoumata Drammeh, JOC Art Director & Artist

"Journals Of Color made me improve in my writing because it forced me out of my comfort zone. It allowed me the opportunities to explore different perspectives, issues and realities in our society today." - Nickaylia Anderson, JOC Creative Writer

"JOC has helped me grow as the person I am currently because of the knowledge and positive vibrations that we're being spread throughout the group chats. I think it's important for people to realize how exciting it is to learn new things and meet new people because you never know the type of connections that can form when you step out of your comfort zone." - Kaylana Felipe, JOC Creative Writer "Journals of Color made me grow in my field and as a person because it created a platform for me to comfortably share my writing pieces. This helped me grow as a writer because I felt a huge pride each time an issue was published. I also was given an opportunity to grow as a person because I was able to make friendships with people. This was something I thought I would find difficult given the fact that this was all done through a virtual platform." - Evelyn Opara, JOC Community Manager & Creative Writer

"Journals of Color not only helped me strengthen my writing skills, but also allowed me to grow into a young adult who is confident in embracing her heritage and background." - Sunniha Hussain, JOC Creative Writer

"Three things: A voice, A family and Growth. Journals of color gives any student who is a writer, photographer or artist a platform to express themselves and spread their thoughts be it through words or imagery. In the Bronx we lack opportunities like this and the media doesn’t really give Bronx teens a space like this either so with joc that issue is slowly being dismantled. Our talent, stories and voices matter and joc allows us to share them. Beyond that, Journals of color isn’t just a network of coworkers but it’s a community of friends. From the mental health space and community building events we were given a safe space to rant, make friends and have fun! Joc is a place to build connections with other Bronx teens and also experience growth either socially or skill wise." - Fatoumata Drammeh, JOC Art Director & Artist

"I would recommend someone to join Journals Of Color because it allows many different and creative roles to mimic their talents or careers they would be interested in for their future. It is also an open and inviting community that one can communicate with about anything and everything. We’re not only working to create a magazine each month. We are also creating lasting friendships around the Bronx." - Nickaylia Anderson, JOC Creative Writer

"Let me begin with this: my experience with Journals of Color was absolutely wonderful. The very first day I logged into their Slack workplace, I was immediately greeted and directed to different channels containing helpful information. Everyone was open to talking to one another from day 1, and that created a very wholesome and supportive community, where we all had a fun place to share with one another. I would recommend Journals of Color to any person of color in the Bronx seeking a place to use as a creative outlet and find some lifetime companions. I will always be grateful of this experience, and hope for the best for everyone on the team." - Ruby Moran, JOC Artist

"Yes if you are someone who is interested in writing and don’t know where to start JOC is the place for you. JOC has the community and support to fuel your passion for writing." - Tasnim Khanom, JOC Creative Writer


journals of color