Voices on the Front Lines

Bisharo joined us at our annual fundraising dinner to perform spoken word, sharing two poems that she wrote specially for the Sisterhood. In this piece, she reflects on what it meant to write the poetry and what it meant to perform the poetry for her sisters.

Both of these poems are massively important to me. Before I write, I've visually visited many of the voices that dearly want to be heard, or I’ve spiritually walked in their shoes. So the pain and joy of the voices is felt vividly.

“The Sheroes” is telling the stories of many Muslim women who work hard everyday. Without any audience, without any cheers, they are showing up and making a great difference in many lives. They write and share their own stories by simply being there and owning their share. I compare the Sheroes to a breath, because the simple ability to breathe isn’t thought about until it’s absent. In the poem, the Sheroes’ costumes and caps never come off — they are in action all the time.

The poem “Voices on the Front Lines'' was inspired by many things. I started by exploring this thought of what it means to fight on the front lines. Treasuring your own story first, taking the chance to give of yourself, becoming the carrier of prayers, listening to and valuing other stories. I use lyrics from K’NAAN’s song “Take a Minute” because they fit so well with the poem. At the first line are powerful fighters, and bringing them to this front line meant simply caring about them. The poem concludes with the voices all fighting on the front lines together. 

Performing these poems felt amazing — it felt like I was fighting on the front lines and becoming the Shero of the moment. I was inspired to write these poems because it was my way of carrying out action. I wanted to bring my share of inclusiveness to the table in order to inspire other Muslim women to step up and act in a way that is equally meaningful to them.

I wondered what it meant to fight on the front lines.

To be the armor and protector 

To carry sweet dreams and hope 

I wondered what it meant to shape for my sisters a safer 

World for them 

I wanted to fight on the front lines 

So I carried my voice, my story 

I held it dear and close and brought it forth 

To fight for what’s right

I brought my sisters along 

To see from afar 

What it means to care in action 

So in the future they just might 

Be the ones to serve with passion 

I sat on a log at a campfire to hear a beautiful story

Of a voice that made a difference in their world 

A voice that carried other voices with all their might 

And eventually was part of a decision to make an ablution space

In a new gym at their place 

I remember hearing other voices

And this was the line 

‘’And every time I felt the hurt and I felt the givin' gettin' me up off the wall’’

Just when you feel cornered 

Think about what you can give 

What difference you can make in your life 


The people around you 

The world

As the tune continues to dance along 

I stumble upon another line

“You know, 'cause it isn't everybody that you get to give”

Fighting on the front lines 

Meant being able to give 

Sharing your voice, your story 

Making history for your own self 

It meant being directly involved in the revolution to inclusiveness 

Fighting for everyone 

Not to care behind closed doors 

For prayer needs a kick to take off 

It meant 

Listening close to the dreams and plans my sisters have for the future 

and creating a world that fostered that 

Creating environments that nourish their energy 

It meant sitting down with friends and family 

It meant being the Uber for the one neighborhood’s aunty and taking her to the polling place

Letting her know her voice matters 

Letting her know that I’ll also be her interpreter for the hour 

It meant taking the first step 

So we could all fight on the front lines together


We are a spirit of free breath,

Holding out for the right moment 

We are the air within that breath 

In and out, the right moment 

We go unacknowledged only to be missed 

We are the free spirit of great activists

Teachers and scholars

An illustration of Sedulous

We were taught how to dream but not 

How to actually owe that dream 

Though times have changed 

And now we are dreams

We are examples 

Important, professionals and leaders 

We make our own history and choose our own fates, in the midst of all obstacles.

From the cover of Forbes Magazine 

To positions in congress

Seats in government 

Our voices in the streets 

Our prayers in complete 

Dribbling down barriers every step of the way 

Raising the bar every step of the way

We are the future we hoped

We dreamt 

We prayed

The future for this country 

Sharing goals, being of service

Teachers that teach beyond the school 

Giving wings of lessons to carry on for life

Healers that heal through a heart that’s frozen cold

Healing again through and through 

Healers that heal beneath severe wounds 

Guiding souls to battle on

To stay strong 

To remain faithful and true 

We are the Sheroes

Of our homes 

The Sheroes for our village 

Embracing mistakes 

Embracing scars 

Embracing growth and embracing stars 

Letting the future know 

They’re not alone 

Our costumes and caps never come off 

Free breath of Sheroes that breathe amongst you,

Here are our stories.