Acoustic melodies and poetry from the soul silenced a crowd of attentive listeners and created a safe space for a marginalized group of students.
The event, which was for musicians, poets and singers who are part of the LGBTQA+ community, attracted performers from several universities and garnered attention from listeners and passers-by in Stamp’s North Atrium Nov. 12.
“The feedback I’ve heard from the [LGBTQA+] students is that they feel kind of silenced on this campus,” said Shaina Destine, MICA’s graduate coordinator for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Student Involvement area. “There’s like 60,000 straight people, so their experiences and who they are and who they love is kind of silenced in the greater narrative with what’s going on on campus.”
Student in the LGBTQA+ community previously felt the events aimed toward them were too formal, often including discussions, panels and documentaries. Destine wanted to create a social space in order to build a community.
“I just wanted to give them a space where they can express themselves, even if it’s just in a song or for three minutes, just to make sure their voices are heard,” she said.
Kosi Dunn, a junior transmedia storytelling major, kicked off the event and kept the audience’s energy levels high throughout the open mic with poetry readings from a variety of writers.
The open mic’s first performer, Sam Sauter, performed her rendition of “Silver and Gold” by City and Colour.
“It’s important for us to have an outlet and to be heard,” said Sauter, president of Pride Alliance and MICA’s community organizing student intern.
The atrium and those sitting upstairs who could see and hear the acts from over the balcony were silenced by the emotion-fueled lyrics and poetry. After each performer took their final bow, the audience in the atrium and those upstairs erupted in applause.
“It provides an opportunity for representation and for queer voices to be heard,” said Danae Rupp, a sophomore architecture major. “It also gives a sense of community through passion, which is really important in any marginalized group.”
Rupp performed “Lover I Don’t Have to Love,” by Bright Eyes on her ukelele.
“After witnessing a lot of the people that [performed], I saw the love and outreach for the community,” said Dre Hawkins, a junior business major at American University.
At times, students passing by the Atrium stopped at the event to add their name to the lineup and perform original pieces or popular covers the audience was able to groove to.
Featured Photo Credit: Sam Sauter sings a song in front of the Co-op in Stamp during the Queer Open Mic. (Josh Loock/Bloc Reporter)
Katie Ebel is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.