Michigan in Color: Passing our MiC
We know what love feels like now, how it is part pain and part knowledge and part empathy. Part power.
Michigan in Color has been a learning and loving space for us as editors and, we hope, for all students of color at the University. We owe everything to our contributors, for those who were brave enough to share their truths with us. We have loved delving into your joy and celebration; we have been honored to help parse your anger and sadness.
MiC is where we have found our own voices, where we have learned from each other and from all of you. We were blessed by the chance to help nurture the section that Jerusaliem, Rima and Kayla gave us — now, it is time for three of us to let it go.
Teresa Mathew: I had no idea what I was getting into when I took on this role, but I count it as the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I have ever done at the University. Through MiC meetings so raucous that people around us would stop and stare to the quiet respect of candlelight vigils, MiC has changed the way I viewed this campus and the world. It has driven home over and over again the power and beauty of our own stories. MiC is a space that taught me to be both fierce and vulnerable, and I think that perfectly sums up the work we do. There is beauty in bravery and laying yourself bare. I can’t wait to see what’s next for MiC, and I’m both relieved and despairing that I no longer will have a hand in it — Gabs, De’Mario, Sarah, I now leave all of that to you. Ryan, keep them honest and keep them strong. Carlina, Ryan, Nour — I thank you, I love you, I could never have done this crazy job with anyone else.
Carlina Duan: When I was small, I told a group of older family friends at dinner that I wanted to be a storyteller. Over plates of broiled shrimp and garlic sauce, they laughed. One man, puffy in a blue coat, raised a finger. “Your daughter’s cute,” he said to my father. This memory has lingered with me, and rises now, as I exit a space that watered me with not just stories, but energy, community, humility, power, peace. I don’t think stories or storytelling are “cute.” To me, stories have infinite worth. They deserve to be listened to, because in every story, there is a mouth; there is a brain; there is the courage to lift that lived “story” outside the body and retell, save, reflect, remember. Stories are lives, and MiC has instilled in me a sharp and lifelong belief in stories, in humans, in life. Stories matter. Stories empower. The love and the pain and the joy of MiC stories have reminded me, again and again, how lucky I am to have been witness to this space as an editor for a year. The world sprouts. People of color open their mouths. We all learn how to teach, how to grow, how to listen. I am stunned, full of breathless love for this space and what it’s grown and continues to grow to be. All I have left to say to the Michigan in Color readership and community is thank you. I trust you; I am taught and blessed by you, long after I’ve left this University. Teresa, Ryan, Nour: I love you. I’m crying, and late to a meeting, and eating an apple, and celebrating you three every day of my damn life. Sarah, De’Mario, Gaby, whoever continues to read and contribute to this space: Love, light. Remember these stories are breaths. What you’re doing is so important. We’re all grateful.
Ryan Moody: For so long, I held my Black identity close to the vest. Not in that it was a secret— you can see that I’m Black from looking at me — but in that I didn’t want to talk about it. Going to white schools, being an engineering major, and a host of other experiences taught me that it was better, safer, to pretend like my race didn’t exist. That never speaking about my racialized experiences and pretending to be colorblind was ideal and the only way to be seen as an equal. MiC helped me on my path of unlearning that false way of thinking through a medium I rarely used — writing. Connecting with MiC community members, reading MiC stories and workshopping pieces has given me insight into the dearth of experiences we as people of color face and how different and similar we all are. Teresa, Carlina and Nour — our collective of strong, powerful, intelligent women has been everything from a safe haven to a place of celebration, and for that I am extremely thankful. I can’t wait to see where MiC takes conversations and this campus next year.
Nour Soubani: Beginning a new school year, I’m still learning and understanding what Michigan in Color gave me. What I do know is that it helped make the idea of empathy brighter, more important in my life. It forced me to stop and listen to others, and it made me realize that that is a responsibility each of us has, and each of us can take on, no matter what stage of our lives we’re at. Carlina, Teresa and Ryan — in a new place this year, I’m missing our (productive??) weekly meetings/hangouts and you three. Thank you for creating a space filled with laughter and for the infinite care you showed to each of MiC’s stories. Sarah, Gaby, De’Mario — the work you do for MiC is important for our campus, and it is important for you as individuals. It is one of the special spaces on campus that values people first and foremost, and I hope it continues to be filled with that respect and integrity.
Ryan will be returning to the MiC board, and she will be joined by three incredible new editors: Sarah Kahn, De’Mario Longmire and Gaby Vasquez. With them and with all of you, we rest our words, our love, our power. Your voices have indelible strength, and there is an incomprehensible bravery in the act of telling your own story when no one else seems to be willing to hear it.
But that is precisely why MiC exists. Give us the texture of your mother tongue, the shape of your sorrow, the endurance of your hope. We are here for your stories. We are here for you.
2014-2015 MiC Editors
Teresa Mathew, Carlina Duan, Ryan Moody and Nour Soubani
Michigan in Color is the Daily’s opinion section designated as a space for and by students of color at the University of Michigan. To contribute your voice or find out more about MiC, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.