Home for Everyone: Student Poems for Palestinians

With hate crimes targeting the Muslim community on the rise, many people listening to the news about violence affecting Palestinians may feel a sense of helplessness, not knowing how to help or talk about their feelings with friends and family. On November 5th, Build Coffee hosted a poetry workshop for students that featured the works of Palestinian poets, facilitated by Stuti Sharma, Isra Rahman, and Shawnee Dez.  Build Coffee is a coffee and bookshop located on the South Side between the Hyde Park and Woodlawn neighborhoods. Children, parents, and other community members attended to support and write poems.

Children and adults created art and poems in response to the work of Palestinian poets Lena Khalaf Tuffaha and Noor Hindi, inspired by themes of food, family, and the concept of home. The poems and discussions were followed by a training on deescalation and becoming an advocate by speaking out against anti-Muslim hate. Palestinians here in Chicago need to feel safe in their city.
Below are images, poems, and artwork from kids and adults who participated in the workshop, sending love to Palestine from Chicago.


Power 2 the people
Act with love
Love is radical
Each life matters
Stand strong
In our lifetime
Never give up
Each person will return

by Malak A., Kindergarten


Patience from Allah
Always be kind
Long live Palestine
Each life matters
Stand up for yourself
Together we fight
Never give up
Everybody matters

by Huda A., 2nd grade


Press forward
Always be strong
Love more
Everyone is free
Still standing
Through everything
I see you
Never give up
Everyone should be safe

by Elsie P., 3rd grade, Bronzeville Classical



Scrambled eggs-not crispy-just a tiny squishy
My children-laid soft-little loafs
Any bread to toast—3 min boil at most
Better to smoke, window, wind blown
Some greens (hidden deep) in a berry frozen drink
two cups each if were lucky
The record plays, mirrors the day ahead
on beat, on vibe, on point, on key
catchy the break, the fast

by Saleem P, inspired by Noor Hindi’s “A home”


love love love love

Today is Sunday, so that mean time, at least a little.
It means that some families get to be just that
That we’ve worked enough and traveled
To gather Sunday’s ingredients afar
To gather ourselves afar.
To taste, in joy, to be with each other
If only for some time.
At least a little.

by anonymous poet, inspired by Noor Hindi’s “A home”


Earth is Ringing

A friend the other day told me about what it took
To make a home, specifically an adobe home
The dirt is not called dirt, respectively
It’s called Earth
It’s called Homeland
The Earth is ringing
The Earth Has Become Shoddy, through the glass, shattering
Charred, reddened
Sonic reverberations
The Earth is ringing
The Earth is ringing
The Earth is ringing

by Kelechi A, inspired by Noor Hindi’s “A home”


by August P., 3rd grade, Bronzeville Classical


Photo: Malak A., Huda A., and Isra Rahan


Photo: Malak A.


Photo: Elsie P. and August P.


Photo: Stuti Sharma, Shawnee Dez, and Isra Rahman



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.