by: Rasheedah Na’Allah

Nigeria

With all its heat and glory

Shines like a streetlight with pride in my heart

Food, family, and love surround the country

As admiration and hard work keep it on its feet

I love the country that birthed my father and mother

With all its flaws and faults

I let the smoky orange sky engulf me with my heart on my sleeve

I feel free and at one with my culture

When I’m there I never want to leave

Although all good things must come to an end

It only starts a fire within me

A fire that lives in everyone before me

And one that will live on with kin after me

I keep that fire ignited wherever I go

As a homage to the person that I am and what made me

One day the flames will be taken home

And create a blaze nothing can ever distinguish

In Nigeria

About Rasheedah Na’Allah

Rasheedah Na’Allah is a senior at Dunlap High School in Peoria, Illinois. She is the youngest of her 3 siblings and enjoys the benefits of being the “baby of the house.” Her Nigerian and Muslim upbringing has led her to be resilient and outspoken in her beliefs. Rasheedah is a dedicated student who is a part of the National Honors Society and loves to be active in her community. She planned a diversity assembly at her school in front of the entire student body, formed an extensive research project on racial disparities and inequities in the education system, and has been appointed into the Peoria County Board’s Racial Justice and Equity Commission. She has also served as Dunlap’s representative to engage and network with young state leaders attending the 2020 Illinois Senator Youth Leadership Council. Rasheedah is the founder of her school’s Muslim Student Association, leads in foreign language club, and is a strong member of the color guard team. Outside of school, she enjoys volunteering and regularly posts on her cooking page through social media. She started her own book club and enjoys reading and discussing books by BIPOC authors. She hopes to pursue Business, Health, and Wellness during her college years and is extremely honored to write for the Giving Voice Initiative.

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