Weaving Voices Hosts Open Mic

Photo by Carmen Pullella '16 | Weaving Voices held their first open mic of the year this past Friday.

Photo by Carmen Pullella ’16 | Weaving Voices held their first open mic of the year this past Friday.

 

Jackie Leahy ’14
Staff Writer

At 7 p.m. this past Friday, Sept. 27, Weaving Voices held their first open mic of the year. The Weaving Voices organizers, Rebecca Lee ’15, Elaine Kuoch ’15, Yolandi Cruz ’16 and Monica Munoz ’15J, issued the following statement about the group’s mission:

“Weaving Voices is a grassroots group of students that came about to provide a space for students of color. Weaving Voices seeks to share the stories written and told by students of color, to celebrate and honor the labor and struggles that it takes to survive and thrive at Smith. Since the fall of 2010, it has acted as a space to bring together different narratives in the hopes of building a critically conscious and understanding community. We believe that through self-expression and creative art forms, we can understand that all of our lives are interconnected.”

Weaving Voices, they explained, is not a chartered organization because it was never meant to function through Smith College. Separation from the institution of Smith would hopefully allow the open mics to greater serve the shifting needs of Smith’s students of color.

This ideological separation does result in practical challenges. The group continued, “Because we logistically cannot book spaces and events without the sponsorship of an org, we do collaborate with other orgs to make our events possible. This enables us to foster strong relationships with other students and orgs on campus.” Sponsored by other organizations on campus, Weaving Voices gains an interdisciplinary appeal.

143 people had accepted the Facebook page invitation to the event, the event’s diverse draw was more apparent as Neilson Browsing room filled to capacity, with attendants spilling over into the library’s foyer. With every seat in Neilson Browsing room taken, people sat on tables in the back of the room and against the bookshelves along the back wall. Themes of love and self-care, family and estrangement were discussed between speakers and the audience; there was poetry, music, monologue and rhapsody, with each performance receiving a positive reception. For audience members, the opportunity to perform lasted throughout the event as performance lists circulated throughout the night.

The Weaving Voices organizers described how Smith students and staff have met the event with aplomb. “It is very encouraging to see how Weaving Voices has grown over the years and the amount of support we’ve received from students, staff, and faculty. It only goes to show how necessary this space is. As a very empowering space for students of color, Weaving Voices validates and legitimizes our stories while enabling us to learn about each other as well. We strongly feel that WV has had a place in building and strengthening the community for students of color.”

Halfway through the reading, a short video featuring prominent Weaving Voices participators from the class of 2013 was projected. Many students’ faces appeared onscreen, all of who expressed how the Weaving Voices open mics enriched their college experience, and the video was met with much loud reinforcement from the audience. After the event, performers and audience members alike went to Unity House for cupcakes.

The Weaving Voices organizers expressed their satisfaction with the event: “We felt that this open mic went wonderfully. It was a night of moving poetry and music. The beauty of these open mics, is that although we put it together, all we really do is provide the space. But its everyone else – all those who are so willing to share – who truly make Weaving Voices what it is.”

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