Intercultural Open Mic Night explores multicultural student body
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Breakfast Culture Club hosted talents, opinion, and emotion at the forefront during the Phoenix’s Intercultural Open Mic Night. The event came into fruition when The Phoenix (Westmont’s student-created literary, art, and music publication) and GISA (Global and International Student Association) realized that they had similar events scheduled for the same night. They decided to combine the two ideas and create a culturally-based open mic night.
Sam Gee, the student leader of The Phoenix, said that choosing Breakfast Culture Club as their location was motivated by “really wanting to do something in the community.” Gee also shared her hopes for the night, saying that “for the people sharing, it will be really rich in identity.” The other student organizer for this event was Renee Chan. She planned on hosting a global open mic night on campus as a project for her Global Studies course, and later became excited to collaborate plans with GISA and The Phoenix. She says that her vision was to “create a space for students to share about their background through music that they’ve written, poetry, spoken word, or a really good testimony that they have.”
Luckily for Gee and Chan, their expectations were fulfilled. Caleb Rodriguez opened the event, reading his poetry––an exploration of his Korean, Mexican, and white identities. Then, Sharon Ko sang two beautiful a capella renditions of hymns from her home country of Turkey. Andrea Garcia then addressed stereotypes and misconceptions of Mexican women with her spoken word. Perry Rickard was up next with a personal poem about body image and self-love. Renee Chan took the mic next, singing the Mandarin-English version of “Spirit Break Out,” concluding the scheduled acts of the night.
Sam Gee opened up the mic to those who did not sign up, but wanted to share. Jaclyn Smith was the first up, sharing a journal entry from her summers spent in Uganda, exploring the culture and the overall experience of her new and beloved “home.” After this, Gee took the mic once again, but this time to share a poem that advises immigrants moving to the United States by one of her favorite poets, Li-Young Lee. Then, everyone roamed around, drinking coffee, encouraging one another in their works, and enjoying a taste of Jack Johnson (courtesy of Kieran Clark) and some worship music (led by Chan once again).
The night was very open and refreshing. Perry Rickard, one of the spoken word participants, said that she decided to share because she thinks that “it’s very important to use your voice and the only way that you can tell other people to use their voice is if you use yours.” As hoped and predicted by the student organizers, Sam Gee and Renee Chan, the Intercultural Open Mic Night was an enriching experience for the participants—who explored their thoughts and identities—as well as the audience, who got to learn just a little bit more about their peers and culture.