As the summer comes to a close, and our time as Managing Editors is now complete, we would like to close off with a letter and a hope for MiC — an ode to a summer of revolution, if you will. Neither of us could have predicted what we signed up for, but we are more than proud of what we were able to accomplish. Thanks to a group of brilliant and talented writers and staff, we were able to pull off a summer of enlightening and educational series of writing which not only shared personal experiences or reflections, but provided scholastic and experiential insight into the many departments and institutions that feed the Black and Indigenous plight in America — a truth that is often rejected and whose existence is perpetuated through journalism. Not only did we learn so much from our peers, but we are so grateful to have been given this opportunity to amplify issues in our country which have been occurring since the genesis of our nation, and which built the nation. These issues will persist until we confront them in every system through which we function — social, governmental, economic, etc. — we hold our peers accountable for this same confrontation, actively educate ourselves on how these systems affect society at micro and macro levels and utilize that education to grow and change with an united front.
Michigan in Color started out as a safe community exclusively for BIPOC to write and share their experiences at the University of Michigan and in the broad United States. We tried our best this summer to uphold MiC traditions while also adjusting to inevitable change and pursuing necessary actions as a section to carry on the change we instigated this summer. Before we give up our positions, we would like to remind others, especially at The Michigan Daily, that the sentiment of change which began this summer can not and should not stop here. The newspaper’s responsibility does not only rest in its published content, but in the team that they hire to write, edit and administrate that content for the paper. In all of our efforts to expand content and staff, we must be adamant about centering the Black and Indigenous voice — especially those of womxn. As the MiC section, we also want to hold each section accountable for this responsibility as individual groups — it is not enough to have Michigan in Color at the paper; this work must be demonstrated by each and every section at the paper. Simply put, MiC cannot and will not be your excuse or your teacher. We must treat MiC as an individual section which operates on our own basis. We are not diversity issue scapegoats and we must operate as a whole group to rectify our wrongdoings for a greater future.
But this conversation and demand for accountability is far greater than the paper — we would like to inspire a bigger call to action for our readers, as this time is one to take advantage of. We have sat comfortably for too long in great periods of performative activism. As we continue to stand complacent in the visual apologies granted to us by large corporations and brand names who participate in oppressive systems, we ourselves perpetuate them and we ultimately oppress one another. Amidst this pandemic and simultaneous civil rights and liberation movements sprouting globally, we have been given the opportunity to demand more from ourselves, from one another and from those who puppeteer these systems. We encourage you to be intentional and reflective with each pursuit of activism you engage in: Is this truly the most beneficial way for you to wield your privilege and/or space for the liberation movement at hand? Do you know who and what you are fighting for? Do you know what you are willing to sacrifice? Will you sacrifice it? Ask yourself these questions.
As for me, Cheryn, I also wanted to give a big thank you to my co-managing editor Gabrijela. Without her, I do not know if I could have been able to do anything this summer. As a woman who identifies as Korean-American, I can’t and will never understand the Black struggle in America and wanted to make sure this summer I was able to work for and with Black Americans without silencing their voice, and Gabrijela has taught me so much regarding how to be a proper ally. I simply thought going into the summer this would be a job, but it was much more than that, and I know Gabrijela and I will always be a team and friendship, whether we are MiC ME’s or not.
As for me, Gabrijela, I want to first thank Cheryn, my co-managing editor. With her, I was given the space and platform to create something greater than me and my own mind. My dear co-ME works like a racehorse, because that is simply who she is. And for all of your intellect, compassion and truth, I thank you. I want to thank our writers who were committed to their stories and to our community, and who I ultimately could not do my job without. I want to thank you readers, even if there are only two of you, and tell you that I have extreme hope for you and for our society’s future. But this hope is dependent on what we as civilians are inspired to manifest. If you want mental and economic revolution — as I so desperately do — then you will see it come to fruition.
A big thank you to the Opinion EPE, Brittany Bowman, for putting her heart and foot into her contributions to MiC’s educational mission this summer; as well as our EIC, Emma Stein, and ME, Devak Nanua, for helping us create and finalize our vision.
Cheryn Hong can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and Gabrijela Skoko can be contacted at email@example.com.