top of page

Ypsi On My Mind


Ypsi On My Mind is a zine collection of poems by women of color exploring how we see and experience Ypsilanti -- past, present, or future. Ypsilanti is crucial to our region -- and Black, Latinx, Native American, and other women of color are crucial to Ypsilanti. So, what does Ypsilanti mean to women of color? These poems offer a glimpse. (Download ZIne Here. This is an open source community zine! Please share and reproduce widely!)


1893 Cyclone Damage at the Chinese Laundry

Hold the photograph close. The erasable space appears: you, nameless, hand on your hat, outside on the sidewalk.
(Photo Credit Matt Callow)

by Linette Lao


A Goddess of Contentment

You are a land full of abundance
an abundance of collective beloveds.
You have taught me to be still
(Photo Credit Shop_Ypsi)

by Erika Murcia


An Ode to Complex Movement

A housemate in Detroit
From Pennsylvania
Once told me that she had a polyamorous relationship to place
That multiple cities called to her that she all loved equally but different.

by Violeta Donawa


Birthing Home

When I say I’m undocumented
People are always asking me what
It means to be american.

by Maria Ibarra-Frayre


Familiar Daughter

The sound of the heavy rain woke me on a late August morning
Giant droplets slapped oak tree leaves
their vivid green shrouded the slightly cracked window letting in tepid summer air

by Connystynce Chege


Healing Roots

I try but can’t quite place the memory
That moment I felt rooted into the history

by Desiraé Simmons


Home (an ode to Ypsilanti)

I didn't grow up in one place
I am glad I didn't
But if I could offer one place for my children
It would be here
(Photo Credit George Thomas)

by Brenda Dinorah González


I Stand Tall

I stand tall on my foundation in a city that has shown me both love and hate. As I sit next to the water at riverside park, I feel the sun caress my face

by Lolita D. Nunn


In the saddle

Nothing does a better job of reminding me that I’m alive
than riding my bicycle
losing my breath as I sprint up Cherry Hill Road
(Photo Credit Alan L)

by Jayanthi Reddy


Plum juice

There’s a brown girl in the rain
Tra la la la la
There’s a brown girl in the rain
Tra la la la la la

by Nuola Akinde


Poema para Ypsilanti

Querido Ypsilanti amado Ypsilanti!
Desde el corazón te recito con amor
Me levanto a una solo vos con un son conquistador
(Photo Credit Shop_Ypsi)

by Roxana Quijada


Ten Pairs

Every tear escaped behind a mask at dinner unnoticed, a pattern of paw prints on pedestrian streets, the sound of a toothbrush connecting with the floor—
(Photo Credit Kari Zeissky)

by Amber Fellows


The Refuge

This place is the refuge
where with faith,
a grieving teenager sent her baby girl
lovingly down river
to rescue her from the 1980s.

by Erica B. Edwards


Thee Beast

All over my body.
If you collected every strand
My particles would travel for miles

by Rachael Somers


Ypsi (most of the time)

I can find
a friend of mine
in Ypsi
most of the time
(Photo Credit YooperAnn)

by Nancy Nishihira


Ypsi On My Mind

My being relates to this place
Like a turtle full of substance steadfastly
Its path

by Anuja Rajendra


Ypsi On My Mind Poets

Amber Fellows is a Japanese-American, working millennial, qtpoc punk, and an 18-year resident of Ypsilanti. These pandemic days Amber loves ritualizing piano practice, eating dessert, and looking absolutely cute despite not being on Instagram. Catch them on a walk on Water Street Trail or online getting into fights with politicians.

Anuja Rajendra is a community builder and social entrepreneur. Anuja is a double alumnae of the University of Michigan (Engineering and MBA), a social entrepreneur, and a recent Candidate for the Michigan State Senate. She is an MPLP Fellow and serves on boards including APIA-Vote Michigan. She is a mom, auntie and proud Michigander!

Brenda Dinorah González, a first generation Mexican, from Donna, Texas. Spent her summers in Michigan and New York with her family of twelve working as migrant farm workers.  She is an EMU graduate and lifelong learner. She feels very passionate about bilingual education and the benefits that it brings to our global society. She uses her platform as a teacher to share light. She lives in Ypsilanti, with her husband and two daughters.

Connstynce Nduta Chege is a Ypsilanti resident and multi-disciplinary artist who explores learning and liberation through various modes of storytelling. She writes from her perspective as a 3rd culture immigrant and neuroqueer Black woman striving to integrate, decolonize and heal alongside her community.

Desiraé Simmons is a community organizer, activist, and advocate serving in multiple grassroots organizations and coalitions. Desiraé is a founding member of Liberate! Don't Incarcerate, Rising for Economic Democracy in Ypsi, What's Left Ypsi, and Untold Stories of Liberation and Love. She lives in Ypsi with Zander and Indigo who offer a portal to her wildest dreams.

Erica B. Edwards is a mamascholar of education whose work is dedicated to centering Black children’s joy in and out of urban public schools. She lives in Ypsilanti with her greatest inspirations - her two beautiful sons, brilliant husband, and sweet dog - who teach her daily, the deepest meaning of love.

Erika Murcia, also known as Erika Sanadora, is a multiracial Mesoamerican Latinx curandera, guardian of poetic storytelling, daughter of the Salvadoran diaspora, student of ancestral medicines. She facilitates individual & group healing programs through embodied ancestral power. Erika lives temporarily in Turtle Island known as the U.S.

Jayanthi Reddy is a queer, South Asian educator, casual cyclist, and novice poet. She teaches high school math in Washtenaw County where she is continuously learning alongside her students. She lives in Superior Township, MI.

Linette Lao is a designer, writer and teacher. As a Chinese-American and part of the city's 3% Asian population, she is interested in finding her own connection to Ypsilanti's complicated history, which has always been a fertile site for dreams as well as struggles. She lives and works downtown with her husband Mark and her children, Clementine and Arlo.

Lolita D. Nunn is an optimistic, innovative, change-maker who believes in doing the right thing, leading with love and kindness.  She is here to walk in her purpose, guided by faith, and doing her part to make this world a better place.  Lolita is happy to call Ypsilanti her home.

Maria  Ibarra-Frayre is a lover of trees, poetry, and tea. She immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico when she was nine and grew up in Detroit. Maria is an organizer, a poet, a partner, and friend. She fights daily to help create a kinder, more caring Michigan. She lives in Ypsilanti with all her plant-babies.

Poet, Singer, Musician and Mama! Nancy Nishihira is an Asian-American artist of Ryukyuan descent. In her spare time she works on her Etsy shop (rockstarkitten), makes absurd videos with her friends + follows her love of creating music. Nancy Nishihira has lived in the Ypsilanti area for over a decade.

Nuola Akinde (she/they) is the daughter of Yoruba and Bahamian artists, immigrants, and culture-keepers. She spends her days relishing the mundane magic of children and seeking liberation through play. Nuola, and her three children, live on the occupied land of the Council of Three Fires, commonly known as Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Rachael Somers is a poet, pianist, podcast host, and dancer. She uses mediums of expression to amplify justice and peace. In Ypsilanti, she has worked with the group Staying Power in the practice of artist activism through poetry. Her most recent project is co-creating the podcast Colored Conscience, discussing the modern issues and experiences of empowered women. As a current student she strides in learning about her own culture and peers to learn how to create the change she wishes to see in her reality.

Roxana Quijada es Latina y vive en Ypsilanti.

Violeta Donawa (she/ her/ ella) is a quiet soul of Panamanian and African-American descent who deeply loves the sacred work of question-asking and reflection. Poetry and journaling are longtime tools she’s used to explore racial identity, spirituality, and family. Violeta was born and raised in Detroit, lives in Ypsilanti Township, and the majority of her work as a clinical therapist is based in Washtenaw county.

About Ypsilanti, Michigan


The place that is now called Ypsilanti was home for generations to vibrant villages of Wyandot, Potowatami, Odawa, and Ojibe people who thrived along what is now called the Huron River. In the 1800s Ypsilanti was a strategy hub for Black leaders guiding Black people escaping slavery to Canada through the Underground Railroad. In the 1930s and 40s, Black workers from the Willow Run plant gained national attending for their organizing for economic and racial justice. Black women’s history in Ypsilanti includes stories of classical musician Allie Louise DeHazen, community leader Isa Stewart, teacher Wealtha Sherman, education and childcare advocate Mary Eleanor Delany, and educator Maude Forbes, all pictured on the Parkridge

bottom of page