Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
“Who are your people?” asked Meghan Kelly ‘18, secretary of Multi, at the club’s first meeting of the semester on January 25, in Mephistos lounge.
Multi is a student organization for those who identify as multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, or multireligious. The question “who are your people,” elicited a wide range of answers: some identified with their ethnicity, while others said they identified with people who are creative or passionate about something.
Leaders of Multi distributed Maria P. P. Root’s “Bill of Rights for People of Mixed Heritage,” which contained lines such as “I have the right not to keep the races separate within me, and I have the right to identify myself differently in different situations.”
Kelly then shared the story of how she came to identify herself, and how Multi has helped her come to terms with her own identity. Students also discussed their identities and how they related to the “Bill of Rights.”
Such discussions are regularly on Multi’s agenda, along with other activities such as potlucks and movie screenings. At the end of last semester, the student group also organized a panel discussion on what it means to be “Multi.”
As a new student group, however, Multi is still undergoing the process of realizing their identity as a group.
“Being a Multi entails so many things, so finding our group identity and how we want to represent that is very much still something that we are creating as we go,” member Adrienne Berring ‘18 said.
As a new group, Multi holds interest meetings and public events in order to attract more members, yet also faces another challenge: incorporating the ideas of those who are not part of its executive board.
“We are navigating how to make deliberate and inclusive decisions,” Berring said.
Despite the obstacles that Multi faces as a new student group, member Geoffrey Shepard ‘16 seemed satisfied with his experience as a member.
“[Multi] offers a safe space to explore [members’] various identities in the contexts of race, ethnicity, culture, adoption, nationality and/or religion,” Shepard said.
Correction (February 5, 7:44 p.m.): An earlier version of this article referred to Meghan Kelly as Multi’s co-president. She is in fact the club’s secretary. The article has been updated accordingly.