By Zoya Zia
On Wednesday, April 26, the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life will host an Open Mic Night at the University of Texas at Austin. The event aims to pass the mic to different voices and serve as a platform for students to discuss what it means to be a “Texan.”
Those who may feel underrepresented or perhaps misrepresented in mainstream perceptions of Texan identity can share their perspectives over the course of the evening.
As a part of the #ThisTexan campaign, the Open Mic Night is inspired by the same commitment to reshaping the narrative about Texan identity. Although Texas is a state of immense diversity and a rich history, not all of its stories are told. The current political climate has only perpetuated a deep sense of marginalization in minority communities.
The #ThisTexan campaign asks Texans to post photos of themselves with the hashtag #ThisTexan. IDCL shares and reposts these photos across platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to showcase the diverse ethnicities, cultures, religions and races in Texas. Ultimately, the campaign strives to bridge divides and emphasize that “y’all means all.”
In a similar vein, Open Mic Night gives students and other community members the opportunity to talk about their experiences as Texans and whether or not they feel a sense of belonging in the state. While these are the general topics of discussion, event attendees should not feel constrained or limited in their talking points. The Open Mic Night will boost their voices in an inclusive forum for sharing and understanding.
The event starts at 6:00 p.m. in the Texas Union 4.224 and is free and open to the public. IDCL will provide Home Slice Pizza, Tiff’s Treats and beverages.
Presenters will receive a free #ThisTexan tee shirt- these shirts will also be available for attendees for a donation. For those may be unable to attend but are still interested in the overall themes, the Humanities Media Project will video the event.
Texans from all walks of life are encouraged to participate in a night of reflection and empowerment. In the face of intolerance and an erasure of certain narratives, the Open Mic Night will bring communities together for a common cause: to listen and learn from others. Feel free to sign up for a ticket to the event here on Eventbrite or RSVP here on Facebook.