Emtithal Mahmoud Went From Fleeing Genocide in Darfur to Giving the Closing Remarks at Yale’s Graduation

This year Yale’s Class Day, an afternoon dedicated to conferring awards and hearing speeches by notable speakers, held the stage for Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, and a graduate of Yale. Yet, even more remarkable were the closing remarks made by a Sudanese Muslim woman. Emtithal Mahmoud, a decorated slam poet who fled Darfur with her parents, dictated a powerful poem rich with fluid prose that reflected her experience fleeing the genocide, and her time at Yale. Her one-minute poem harbors themes of racism, friendship, loss, and opportunity. Despite the circumstances she’s endured, her opportunistic tone transcends. Emtithal Mahmoud’s poem on Darfur, The Colors We Ascribe, will leave you breathless, and have you thinking about the people long after you are finished listening to it.