Woman of Color Open Mic Night Returns

By Anna Gombert

Almost 100 people overflowed from the Space on Thursday, March 15, as Drew had its second annual Wake the F* Up: Women of Color Open Mic Night (*the F stands for feminism). The event took place in the Space from 8-10 p.m. and was put on by the Feminist Intersection, a new group on campus that is in the process of becoming a club.

The first Women of Color Open Mic Night took place last year and was organized by Ivy Wong (‘17). The event came out of Drew’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

The first 40 people at the door received free t-shirts that were a twist of the ones given out last year. This year the shirts had the same design on the front as last year and included a quote by Viola Davis on the back. The quote, “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” was delivered during Davis’ acceptance speech at the Emmys. The Feminist Intersection held a contest for which quote would be put on the shirts, asking Drew community members to submit quotes by or about women of color and then to vote on which they liked best. The Davis quote that won was submitted by Olivia Winters (‘19) and Katelynn Rodriguez (‘20).

The night kicked off with a showing of Davis’ speech, followed by the first round of performers for the open mic. Performances ranged from original poems and songs, recitations of poems and even just telling personal stories. There were then three other videos shown that highlight different types of feminism around the world, followed by the second set of performances.

Akua Asante (‘20), a member of the Feminist Intersection, said, “This event showed that the Drew student body wants to see diversity in many ways. We planned this event by doing exactly what feminism calls for- support, support and more support.”

In the style of last year’s Women of Color Open Mic Night, there was a wall where attendees could write the names of women of color who inspire them. There were also books given away as raffle prizes at the end of the night such as “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee and “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir” by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele.

“It was hard but we have an amazing team of passionate people who each brought a different skill set and belief in true equality,” explained Bongiwe Bongwe (20’), one of the organizers of the event. “But we had fun doing it.”

The Feminist Intersection aims to focus on intersectional feminism and create a space for women of color specifically to come together. The co-founders of the group are Bongwe and Mundia Sibongo (‘20), but as of now there are a total of eight members who all helped to organize the event.

“It was evident that there is a space on our campus that hasn’t been filled. I felt that feminism could exist on this campus in a way that it hasn’t. And that is intersectionally,” said Bongwe.

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