Identity Monologues shatter harmful stereotypes

By Victoria Herlocker
Correspondent

The Identity Monologues, held in Mayo Concert Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 28, gave a voice to those who have historically been silenced. The event aimed to create a space for students to share their stories and identities, free from any stigma or shame.

From this idea, the College’s first annual Intersectionality Week was born. Other events held during the week included a lecture on the isms, a criminalization of identities panel and an interactive mural.

Sponsored by the Bonner Institute, the Identity Monologues was designed to start a conversation about how factors such as race, gender, class and religion have become tools of oppression.

The Bonner Institute hosts the College’s first Identity Monologues. (Meagan McDowell / Staff Photographer)
The Bonner Institute hosts the College’s first Identity Monologues. (Meagan McDowell / Staff Photographer)

“You are in a space that will give the narrative back to members of the community,” said Melissa Sandoval, a junior education and Spanish double major. “Stories have the abilities to change movements and start them.”

After Sandoval gave the first speaker an encouraging hug, the night began. Students from all backgrounds told stories, sang songs and even rapped about their identities and world perspectives.

Senior communication studies major Natasha Piñeiros spoke about her identity as an Ecuadorian daughter.

Her piece, titled “Defining My Womanhood,” addressed the traditional expectations of a woman — cooking, cleaning and childcare. Despite her young age, Piñeiros has learned that there is more to womanhood than these gendered expectations.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let’s stop stereotyping,” Piñeiros said. “We can be whoever we want to be.”

Junior Spanish and philosophy double major Thelma Carrera used her time onstage to speak about race and immigration. The daughter of immigrant parents, Carrera holds an interesting perspective of America — she includes North, Central and South America. She said she sometimes feels too Guatemalan for America and too American for Guatemala.

“Where do I go? Who do I claim?” Carrera asked.

In a piece titled “Intersectionality,” junior sociology major Madina Ouedrogo spoke about her experience as a black Muslim woman in America. Ouedrogo said being part of three marginalized groups can be exhausting.

“It makes you feel guilty about addressing one issue more than another,” Ouedrogo said. Despite this, Ouedrogo said it is “amazing to be able to relate to so many people and view the world through so many lenses.”

After the last student spoke, Sandoval opened up the floor to anyone in the audience who wished to share their experience with intersectionality. One of the students who made his way to the stage was Joseph Ballesteros, a sophomore nursing major.

“I regretted not having signed up previously,” Ballesteros said. “So on the way over, I thought about what I would say if I was up there.”

Ballesteros then spoke about his experience growing up and what it means to be yourself. He concluded his impromptu monologue by defining himself as “a melting pot.”

The night was centered around “learning and unlearning,” Sandoval said. “There is a danger of having a single story and having a single narrative.”