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CALL: “Mic Check!” RESPOND: “1, 2, 1, 2!!”.

“Mic Check!” “1, 2, 1, 2!”. Silence. One mic. Attention! One speaker. Silence. One voice. Silence. Please listen. “Mic Check!” “1, 2, 1, 2!” MIC CHECK! Hear me out. MIC CHECK! Please, hear me out.

On Saturday, June 27, 2015 KAMP hosted “Mic Check: Ethnic Studies 101” at the Filipino Food and Bakery in Barrio Logan. The purpose of that night was to provide a safe place for community members to freely express themselves and share their stories of life with their own words. That night was the basics of ethnic studies.

It’s about being able to talk without the thought of holding back your tongue. Hoping that there are others who share your story. Hoping, that you are not alone. Hoping that there are others who identify with you. There are others who share your history and culture.

To me, Ethnic Studies 101 is self. Ethnic Studies 101 is love. Ethnic Studies 101 is empathy. Ethnic Studies 101 is embracing identity. Ethnic Studies 101 is music. Ethnic Studies 101 is writing. Ethnic Studies 101 is performance. Ethnic Studies 101 is Open Mic.

Ethnic Studies is not fearing but empowering.

Ethnic Studies is acknowledging the participants who are also present with you.

Ethnic Studies is self-determination. Ethnic Studies is transformative.

Ultimately, Ethnic Studies is Care. Care to understand the simple stories of everyday people. Care to sit and listen to the stories of selves. Care to express your thoughts and your perspective. Care to say, “I am me”. Care to say, “I”. Care to say, “I am”. Care to say “me”, “my self”, “my voice”, “my own”, “my life”, “This is who I am” and “I am” telling “you”. “This is how I see the world, this is my own view. This is my story”.

Care to see the self in other. Care to stand next to each other accepting our differences, accepting the life style I chose to live. Because being here, present, validates that I am somebody.

That is Ethnic Studies, to me.

By: Ate Kimberly Paule