Our story begins when I was a first year at King’s College London, completely disillusioned with the sheer lack of diversity, and side-lining the concerns and genuine worries of people of colour – particularly women and non-binary people.

Whenever we openly spoke out against this treatment, we were often met with condescension, told to remain quiet, and most prominently – “it just isn’t your time yet”. Can you imagine? This is where I suddenly thought of creating an online space that would be accessible to all of us, and a place where we could express ourselves without old white lecturers telling us to “wait for your time”. Our time is now.

Credits: Surya Elango

I RISE Magazine first launched in November 2016, as King’s College London’s first ever women of colour & non-binary people of colour online magazine, and we honestly thought that only those at King’s would be interested. Little did we know that experiences of isolation, exclusion, discrimination and outright disrespect was not unique to King’s alone, but is infiltrated across universities and educational institutions across the country. We exist to make our voices and experiences heard. That is what I RISE is all about.

It makes me so proud to be part of a group/social media platform that celebrates melanin, headscarves and bindis – a group that recognises the shortcomings of Kings/the world in general in terms of catering to Women of Colour and plans to do something about it.

We want to break the rules. Break the stereotypes. Stand on our two feet. Rewrite the story. Set the record straight.

We want a space especially designated for us, to share our experiences, unleash our talents, and ultimately, celebrate our diversity.

It was only recently that I discovered the boundaries faced by PoC and women in particular. I was shocked and dismayed but soon realised that I had the power to do something. As a WoC, every artistic endeavour I embark on will inevitably be seen in the context of gender studies and racism.

This is the ethos that I Rise places at the center of its aims. We ultimately want the voices of women of colour and non-binary people of colour to be heard wide and loud. We strive for boldness, ferocity and fearlessness. In the words of Maya Angelou herself, where we got our inspiration for our name from:

You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise!

With love, power and resistance,

Rahma & Team I RISE