Despite a delay due to severe weather, several University students took the stage in the University’s Museum of Art auditorium Thursday night to perform songs, dance and spoken word.
Hosted by PILOT — an organization dedicated to increasing awareness of identity and providing opportunities for minority students on campus — “Denied Voices: The Launch” featured 10 performances related to identity and acceptance.
The event was originally located in the Museum of Art lobby, but due to a tornado warning just as the show was about to begin, attendees and performers relocated to the museum’s basement auditorium.
Among the student performers were LSA junior Dana Mosa-Basha, who performed “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley, and LSA freshman JuJuan Griffin, who performed an original rap piece titled “Statistic.”
LSA freshman Emily Kaufman also performed several poems discussing her experiences as a transgender woman.
“Becoming the woman I was meant to be is the only way that I could live my life as me,” Kaufman said in one of her poems. “All I want is to be my truest self, and I’m not doing this for anybody else. This is for me and me alone.”
Along with the performances, the event was also the start of fundraising toward the Denied Voices Scholarship, which will be awarded every year to members of marginalized communities on campus.
During the show, PILOT announced Josue Hervert as this year’s scholarship recipient. Hervert is currently a student at Wayne County Community College and hopes to transfer to the University in the future.
LSA senior Swati Sudarsan, a member of PILOT, was one of the organizers of the event. In an interview with after the program, Sudarsan said talking about identity and acceptance is important in raising awareness about the diverse identities on campus.
“We live in a world where only the most privileged identities are heard, so there’s always a dominant narrative,” she said. “Creating a platform and space where these voices can be heard creates an atmosphere where we can start learning about them and raising awareness about these different identities.”
Overall, Sudarsan said she hopes the performers impacted students with their performances and stories.
“Using art is one of those most salient ways for people to express themselves and be true to themselves,” she said. “We wanted people to take away the motion and the pain that the performers have with these different identities and the joys too.”