ALLIES 'Shine a Light' on Campus Diversity

CMU ALLIES is hosting their third Open Mic Night event, taking place Friday, March 2, as part of their observance of Zero Discrimination Day. Zero Discrimination Day, an annual holiday celebrated by the United Nations (U.N.) and other international organizations, focuses on challenging discrimination by celebrating “diversity, tolerance, and inclusion,” a goal which ALLIES aims to fulfill with their “Shine a Light” Open Mic Night.

ALLIES is Carnegie Mellon’s primary student activist organization, with a strong focus on the diverse undergraduate LGBTQ+ community. In addition to offering materials and hosting events in support of LGBTQ+ students, they also aim to create a more inclusive and educated community at Carnegie Mellon. Frequently tabling on campus and coordinating social activities, ALLIES creates spaces for their students to become more connected and more informed. A few of their main initiatives include running support groups for various demographics and intersections within the LGBTQ+ community, like the Queer Women Support Group and the Trans and Non-binary Support Group, as well as recognition of formal holidays, like the Trans Day of Visibility, National Coming Out Day, and GAYpril.

“Shine a Light” will celebrate inclusion by placing marginalized groups at the forefront; it aims to place a spotlight on the challenges those groups face, as well as highlight the wonderful diversity that exists within them. Members of those groups will have the opportunity to perform a piece that shares their experiences, helping to create an atmosphere of understanding across the many communities and cultures within Carnegie Mellon, and even Pittsburgh as a whole. In the true spirit of inclusion, ALLIES encourages everyone and anyone to perform, “regardless of identity or affiliation.” While pieces relating to the LGBTQ+ community are welcome, “Shine a Light” will feature a variety of pieces relating to a variety of topics, so they do not have to solely relate to LGBTQ+ issues. However, there are a few requirements:

“Our main requirements are that the pieces must relate to some aspect of identity (gender,
ethnicity, religion, etc.) as well as the event theme of ‘Shine a Light,’” said ALLIES. “We encourage performers to illuminate the different aspects of their identity through various
media like spoken word, slam poetry, a cappella, playing instruments, and so on.”

ALLIES also encourages everyone to stop on by and listen to the performances, even if you do not perform. Some notable performances from past years have included songs from Carnegie Mellon’s Christian a capella group Joyful Noise, as well as spoken word on the struggles of growing up queer in a homophobic society. “Shine a Light” will take place Friday, March 2, 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. in the Connan Room.

If any individuals are interested in performing for the event or have any further questions, please send an email to allies.open.mic@gmail.com. If you’d like to gain more information about ALLIES, feel free to stop by their weekly general body meetings, which are every Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the Cohon Center Room 335 (SoHo).