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zakia is of starshine and clay lineage. She is the author of What Kind of Omen Am I, winner of the 2017 Poetry Society of America’s Chapbook Fellowship, selected by Cate Marvin. She was a 2016 Poets House Emerging Poets fellow, and has received additional fellowships and support from the Fine Arts Work Center, Callaloo Journal, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and Cave Canem. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Adroit, African American Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Burner Magazine, Epiphany, Little Patuxent Review, Mobius:The Journal of Social Change, Reverie, No, DearNorth American Review, Obsidian, the OffingThethepoetry.com, Torch, Vinyl, Washington Square Review, and the anthologies New Daughters of Africa (Myriad: 2019) and Why I Am Not a Painter (Argos: 2011). 

She has worked as a community organizer at Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; as a researcher at UNITE HERE!, a resource coordinator at Break the Chains: Communities of Color and the War on Drugs; and as a research associate at the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College. She completed the 2010 Activate! organizing fellowship at Social Justice Leadership and is an emerita board member of the Brooklyn Movement Center, where she co-founded the anti-gendered and sexualized street harassment collective, No Disrespect.

zakia was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Furious Flower Poetry Prize by A. Van Jordan, nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2013 by Beloit Poetry Journal and has been in residence at the T.S. Eliot House, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Louis Armstrong House Museum. She earned a BA from Wesleyan University, and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation from Queens College, where she also served as an adjunct professor. She currently serves as Editor and Strategic Partnerships Coordinator at nonprofit publisher The New Press. She is a Brooklyn native and loyalist.