In the month leading up to MLK Day, our blog will be exploring diverse expressions of art created by people of color. The blog will highlight artists, collaborators, performers, poets, filmmakers, and everything in between. We will be exploring creative outlets that express the various ways racial injustice exists today.

In addition to reading, you can join our MLK Campaign and help us serve in solidarity by hosting and volunteering. Together we can #ActNowForRacialJustice.

Meet: Danez Smith

Danez Smith is a poet and performer based in St. Paul Minnesota who writes with incredible depth, honesty, and power on the subjects of race, sexuality, and justice. Smith is author of several poetry books and chapbooks, one of which [insert] boy, was awarded the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry in 2015.

Smith’s poem, Principles, (watch them recite it in the video above) takes the classic JFK quote – “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – and turns it on its head, using it as a powerful springboard for a raw and fiery examination of America’s overlapping injustices. Find out more about Danez on their website.