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Davis

Davis, California

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Mixing it up

Mixed Heritage Week coming to UC Davis

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You may not have been aware of the Mixed Student Union before, but after this year’s Mixed Heritage Week, organizers hope that you’ll know about the work they’re doing. The 11th annual Mixed Heritage Week will take place from March 2 to March 6 and will include a wide variety of events that highlight the gifts and talents of the mixed community. There will be a mixed photo exhibit, open mic night and a mixed alumni panel, among other events.

Gabriela Preciado, a third-year Spanish major and president of Mixed Student Union, hopes that this week will bring attention to her community, which is often overlooked.

“[Events like Mixed Heritage Week] give voice to certain groups that are underrepresented and they provide spaces for those groups to come together and share their experiences,” Preciado said. “[It helps us] cultivate a community on campus and find a sense of belonging.”

When planning for this week, Preciado and the other organizers made sure to include a wide variety of events that would help bring visibility to the talents of the mixed community. One of the organizers of Mixed Open Mic Night, Max Light-Pacheco, a third-year wildlife, fish and conservation biology major, feels that events like Mixed Heritage Week are important because they give a voice to a community that is rarely mentioned at Davis.

“Mixed identity is something that is never really discussed in a public forum,” Light-Pacheco said. “Even in a school like Davis where we have such a large diverse community and other programs and weeks that celebrate diversity, I don’t feel like the mixed community gets any of that. It’s important to broadcast the diversity for people that identify as multi-racial and multi-ethnic.”

Third year applied mathematics major, Maya Nelson, who is also involved in planning Mixed Open Mic Night hopes that the events of this week will inspire people to reflect on their background and what it means to be of mixed heritage.

“Being in the community, I feel like a lot of people who are mixed don’t consider how being mixed affects them as a person,” said Nelson.  “So being around a community who can build that understanding are good. It’s about understanding yourself and the mixed identity, which often isn’t addressed as other racial groups.”

The theme of this year’s Mixed Heritage Week is “Mixed Roots, Same Earth” and Light-Pacheco believes that this theme means creating a space where everyone, regardless of their background, can feel that they are valued and heard.

“When I think of the theme, I think of how we all have different backgrounds but how we all live on the same earth and we’re very similar in most ways and there are just small differences [between us],” Light-Pacheco said. “One of the main ways I try to incorporate the theme is trying to make sure it’s a safe space for everyone and that everyone is given a place and space to discover their identity.”

The organizers of Mixed Heritage Week want to create a safe space where members of the community are free to express themselves in any way they see fit, be it through poetry, dance or music. The organizers all agreed that art is a very powerful form of expression and can communicate certain feelings in a way that simply having a conversation with someone can not.

“In school we don’t get to be creative as much, and we don’t get to use art as a form of expression, but everyone in one way or another is an artist,” Preciado said. “Allowing people to be creative and have freedom of how they want to express themselves is important so that’s why we try to incorporate events that use art or poetry or music.”

Along with Mixed Open Mic Night, there will be other events that allow people to engage with their creative sides. There will be events like like One Drop of Love, a one woman show incorporating filmed images, photographs and animation, as well as a Mixed Photo Exhibit displayed in the Cross Cultural Center.

“Art is something that connects people on a deep level no matter who you are,” Light-Pacheco said. “And that’s a great gateway to form connections with other people.”

Courtesy graphic.

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