Unity Week celebrates the ‘I’ in identity

Eva Mihelich, News editor

Multicultural Student Services is working hard to spread more awareness about critical issues regarding identity and inclusion.

One of these efforts is Unity Week, celebrated Nov. 14-19. This year’s Unity Week is titled “I am I,” which Jessica Hubert, Multicultural and Inclusion co-ordinator, explains the significance of.

“The theme is I Am I; a very simple phrase that holds a lot of power in accepting your truth and who you are in every way,” said Hubert. Hubert said Unity Week is in-tentionally created to empower students. “It is a week of intentional programs to highlight identities that are often invisible or underrepresented on our campus. The goals of Unity Week are to emphasize the idea that we hold multiple identities at once and they all are true at the same time,” said Hubert.

Intersectionality is something that Hubert feels very strong-ly about, as you cannot define yourself with merely one term. There are many aspects to everyone, and it is incredibly con-fining to limit yourself to just one title. Each day during Unity Week, there will be different programs, speakers and activities scheduled which students are enthusiastically encouraged to participate in.

On Nov. 14, Feminista Jones, a well-known feminist, writer, activist, and speaker presented in the Walker Recital Hall. She spoke about intersectional feminism, women’s empowerment, and gender/racial bias. She also encouraged students to do their part, research more about what they do not know and to make a difference in their communities, especially through volunteering their time with others.

Tuesday, Nov. 15, offered interactive opportunities from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Student Union Great Room. This event was titled “CommuniTEA with the Counseling Center.” Students had the chance to win raffle prizes, make their own teabag, take part in art therapy activities, answer community -building questions and take pictures at the selfie station.

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, there will be an Erie Community Fair in the Great Room featuring small businesses from around Erie. Thursday, Nov. 17, will revolve around the Trans Day of Remembrance. From 7 to 8 p.m. in the Multicultural Student Lounge, conversations will be held about the new season of American Horror Story and break down the stereotypes of the queer community along with the history of New York City’s community’s influence on pop culture.

MAC/SAC will take over on Friday, Nov. 18, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Great Room, where students can drink some bubble tea and paint a flag that represents their identity. On Saturday, Nov. 19, MAC/SAC will host a lip sync event in Luke’s Landing, where students can participate alongside a drag queen who will also be performing. This jam-packed week is an invitation to consider the different biases you may subconsciously have.

Hear from different people who have faced discrimination and learn from them to improve the way you treat certain minorities. You cannot always relate to people’s stories, but you should still hear them so that you can treat them with the utmost dignity and respect. When it comes down to it, we are all human which is the most important identity of all. This is something worth celebrating every day, not just during Unity Week.

Consider taking part in the activities being offered during Unity Week. Build the Mercyhurst community up and be the change on campus.