By Nora Tarabishi, Bloc Reporter
The Multiracial Biracial Student Association collaborated with a University of Maryland professor to celebrate mixed-heritage for Mixed Madness Month at the Nyumburu Cultural Center March 27.
Professor Naliyah Kaya’s class “Leadership and Intersecting Identities: Stories of the Multiracial/Ethnic/Cultural Experience” is being offered for the first time this spring. The class gives students the opportunity to explore leadership in connection with multiracial identities and experiences through a narrative approach.
Topics in the course include leadership styles, multiracial leaders, race, transracial adoption and interracial dating.
MBSA organized this year’s Maryland Mix Up Showcase to highlight topics discussed in the course.
“My students are responsible for an on-campus experiential learning project because it is a leadership course,” Kaya said. “They decided a showcase would be best to express the multiracial experience.”
The showcase included an art section, a literature section, a slideshow, a game and a station where students created cards for the U.S. troops. Between 15 to 20 students arrived within the first hour, Kaya said.
UMD Squires and Sigma Delta Tau co-sponsored the event and attendees received free T-shirts depicting nine diverse faces.
Mixed Madness Month, an annual heritage and advocacy month for those who consider themselves multiracial, occurs every March at this university.
“We hope it helps break stereotypes about who multiracial people are, interracial relationships and to challenge people to think differently than they may have previously thought,” Kaya said.
Kaya is the coordinator for Multicultural Student Involvement and Community Advocacy at this university.
Ryland Adkins, a senior family science major, said she decided to take the course because learning more about her mixed-race background interested her.
“I’m half-black and half-white,” Adkins said. “I wanted to see what others’ views were about being multiracial.”
Adkins said she enjoyed “Who Am I?”, a game consisting of student photos from the class and index cards with information about the students.
Players of the game had to guess which index card matched which students’ picture based on stereotypes.
Some index cards had information such as the student’s religion, favorite sport or musician.
“The showcase was a good way to get people involved in an important issue that does not get a lot of attention,” Grace Freund, a senior psychology major, said.
Freund said she enjoyed the art portion of the showcase. “It’s nice to hear students’ voices,” Freund said.
Kaya said she plans to teach the course again in the fall and hopes to have another showcase.