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
An Ode to Complex Movement
A housemate in Detroit
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
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
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
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