In an effort to educate the college community about mixed identity and help women of all backgrounds have a venue to share their experiences, concerned students formed a new club called Mixed Initiative.
Senior Rae Tabbert, president of Mixed Initiative, said that throughout her time at Mills, especially last semester, she felt that there wasn’t a place for her as a biracial woman. As a result, she has worked since last year to form the organization.
“I didn’t feel like I fit into the Asian Sisterhood Alliance even though I am half Filipino,” said Tabbert.
According to Tabbert, there are a lot of students of mixed identity at the college and by forming the organization, she wanted to promote awareness and bring the issue of mixed heritage and ethnicity to the surface.
“I want to have an environment that promotes a community where people will be there for each other,” said Tabbert.
Tabbert said that the club accepts all different types of mixed people such as multi-ethnic, multi-racial and trans-racially adopted students.
Junior Alexis Bell, publicity chair, said that the club is not just for mixed women of color. It can be for people with mixed European and religious backgrounds too.
“It’s important for us to be inclusive of the different types of mixed people,” said Tabbert.
Residential Director Lael Sigal, club adviser, said the formation of the group had nothing to do with people feeling like they weren’t comfortable in clubs such as the Black Women’s Collective, Mujeres Unidas, or the Asian Sisterhood Alliance. It had to do with the fact that some multi-racial/multi-ethnic students feel that if they chose to be in a club which focuses on only one race or ethnicity, they might feel like they are leaving out another part of themselves.
“It all has to do with identity development,” said Sigal. “They want to have a club where everything [all races and ethnicities] is incorporated.”
According to Bell, who is half Puerto Rican and half African American, it was very hard to get to the meetings for both the Black Women’s Collective and Mujeres Unidas because of time conflicts. She said she felt that if she couldn’t make it to the meetings for both clubs, she didn’t want to go at all. However, Bell said that she does attend the events and is on the mailing lists for both clubs.
“Both sides of my heritage are important to me,” said Bell.
Both Bell and Tabbert said that the main focus for the club at this time is to get more members.
“Even if you are or aren’t of mixed heritage, anyone is welcome,” said Bell.
Junior Dee Montero, member of Mujeres Unidas, said that she knows a lot of people of mixed identity and thinks that the club is needed because it would help provide a forum for more people at the college to interact with each other.
“When I saw the posters [advertising the club], I thought it was a cool club and a cool idea,” said Montero.
“The club is needed on this campus because not everyone fits into categories that we try to put people in,” said sophomore Julia McQuiod.
Junior Rachel Newman said that mixed Initiative would fit very well into the college culture. “Everything about Mills is about identity,” said Newman.
Newman said she liked the quote on the club’s posters, which state that ideas are as diverse as backgrounds.
However, she sad she’d like to start her own club. “I’m thinking about starting a Homo Sapian Alliance,” said Newman.
Another goal of the club is to talk about diversity in general by hosting a diversity panel with students and faculty, according to Bell.
“Personally, what I would like to see talked about is interracial dating,” said Bell. “We’re seeing more and more interracial couples and more and more interracial children.”
Tabbert said the in the future the club might host a program on interracial dating.