REENA VIRK (1983-1997): A POEM AND ROUNDTABLE IN REMEMBRANCE

Reena Virk picReena Virk, a 14 year old South Asian girl living in British Columbia, Canada was murdered in a racist attack by schoolmates in 1997. Today, November 14 2014, makes it 17 years since Reena was killed. The poem Reena is written by Toronto poet and activist Gitanjali Lena in honour or Reena Virk.  May Reena always be remembered.

Trigger Warning: the poem below deals with different forms of violence.

Reena

By Gitanjali Lena

Pounced upon by paleness

Set upon by mean girls of mixed races

And a boy for good measure

Who circled you like a titanium bangle

And kicked pleasure out of you

Gorged on your body

One November night in Saanich

Cracking bones burning bindi holes in your brown skin

Trampolining on your back until you were broken

You weren’t pristine

Your swagger spirit already soaked in spit, shame and

Too intimate touches from daddy

Fueled by mickey courage maybe you fooled around with someone at a party

How dare you? Lafungi besharam

You weren’t a delicate flower

With your broad Punjabi nose and masculine jaw

But “ugly” girls need protection too

Was the moon your only witness?

The stars your silent back up crew?

You needed us like brass knuckles, uppercuts and hugs for when you crumble

Standing at your memorial

I wished I could have stood by you in real time

Scattering daddy and Ellard into shards

We’d be that kindred sister posse that the coloured girls longed for

Post-mortem – details of the past rising to the surface like bubbles in bottle of Fanta

Denial of the community pushes back

Because to tear off scabs exposes raw flesh

And no one wants to be vulnerable in this land

You dared.

Gitanjali Lena is a mother, activist, poet, lawyer, an all around awesome person with good politics and a heart for community.  See Gitanjali read her poem Who Was Reena Virk? here.

The roundtable below provides much needed information NOT provided my mainstream media: 

To learn more about the Reena Virk murder and the court case that followed please click on the appropriate links below:

Review of Reena Virk: Critical Perspectives On A Canadian Murder

Interview with Mythili Rajiva, co-editor of Reena Virk: Critical Perspectives On A Canadian Murder

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About Black Coffee Poet

Black Coffee Poet is a mixed race poet, essayist, and journalist who focuses on Social Justice, Indigenous Rights, STOPPING Violence Against Women, Film, and Literature.
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