Student Highlight: Hanan Seid

Hanan in all her glory.

Hanan in all her glory.


Introducing our very first student highlight, the dedicated Hanan Seid! She is a rising senior at Washington-Lee High School. 

Hanan has been involved with poetryN.O.W. for two years now, participating in the Hayfield Slam, the Hyper Bole, LTAB, and the Washington-Lee Slam this year.

Here is her poem:


That’s Not a Religion

It’s crazy how three numbers can turn me from a friend

to a flight threat —

like I had the ability to turn my watch

into a bomb set.


And any time I spoke an Arabic phrase

they would all look so afraid,

like saying ‘assalamu alaykum’ was code for “lets blow up the place.”

And I apologize for the 19 inhumane,

but note that 99% of us are sane.


Maybe I’m overreacting.

What country would take the actions of a few,

and blame it on a whole civilization?

Thank God we don't live in that nation.



I live in the land of the free

sworn up and down for both you and me,

but freedom is tested throughout history

so forgive me if I don't see —

too blind and deaf to see sanity,

and never hear reality in a land where freedom

doesn't really come free…


Anytime a teacher brings up New York City

I’m labeled.

Organized on the media’s table.

“Those Muslims are so unstable.”

Fighting in armies against peace.


And I’ve apologized numerous times,

even though I knew it had nothing

to do with me.


You call me that girl with the veil that's oppressed

but when you see a nun walk around you give her the utmost respect.


But I want you to get to know me,

and what I believe.

Don’t let them twist your mind;

they deceive.


Don’t trust everything that is said —

all the media wants is hatred to be spread,

and tomorrow

I’ll introduce you to my scarlet letter.


When I was a little girl I never walked next to my mother

because of how others viewed her.


All I wanted was to be from here.

But swearing to this country would mean I was forgetting where I’m from.

How do you forget what brought you here in the first place?

It’s like looking at my ma’

and telling her that all her sacrifices were a waste.


All those stares,

all those words

never phased her.


There is terrorism,

but I’m here to remind you it’s not a religion.


I pity the media because their minds need help;

love me or hate me,

just as long as you do it by yourself.


I break stereotypes on a daily basis,

a slick worded Hijabi.


So when I introduce myself tomorrow,

ignore the prepackaged preconceived idea of me.

I want you to know the real me.

Heart-to-Heart with Hanan:

Why do you write?

For now I write for me, getting all my energy down on a piece of paper.

What do you hope to some day do?

Some day I hope to write to inspire others to choose a creative way to deal with issues at hand. Staying silent helps no one. Words can only help you if you speak or write them down.

I hope my poem inspires people to choose to speak up and to always look for the truth. 

Posted on July 21, 2014 .