Why I Joined MiC: Aakash Ray
It took me a long time to realize I was a person of color, let alone to understand the significance of the term. In high school, these labels were not a part of any of my conversations. My closed community was diverse in identity but homogeneous in nature; everyone was competitive but didn’t seem to be overtly reflective on topics like race, gender and ethnicity. The words equity and inclusion reverberated here and there, but they meant little to me at the time. My identity as a South Asian was incredibly salient, yet my identification as a POC or even as a minority was a long ways away.
Fast forward to the first semester of my senior year, things have changed profoundly. I have grown so much in my time at the University of Michigan, intellectually but also culturally, through courses like PUBHLTH 200 and student organizations like the South Asian Awareness Network. Through the many issues, initiatives, people and communities I have encountered, I now feel akin to the POC community in ways I never felt before. With this growth, I felt empowered to join MiC, a platform where I knew my ideas, thoughts and beliefs would be validated within a learning environment led entirely by POC student leaders.
As a senior in MiC, I’ve had the opportunity to share so many of the thoughts and experiences I have accumulated in my time at the University, speaking on issues like voter suppression, systemic racism and generational divides. But, more importantly, I’ve also been able to learn from even more talented and passionate individuals with strong takes, vivid stories and thought provoking opinions. I joined MiC during a worldwide pandemic, leaving many activities off the table, but I have had faith in this section to cultivate understanding while bridging cultural divides.
I joined MiC to contribute to a platform that uplifts marginalized voices. My story matters among the thousands of voices at the University, and MiC allows me to actively acknowledge this power time and time again.