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Second annual MOSAIC Week celebrates “One Love”


With Rodlyn-mae Banting ’19

In the midst of adversity, women of color are constantly challenged to rise to the occasion.  This year’s MOSAIC week was no different. Despite various weather-related setbacks, MOSAIC: A Womxn of Color Initiative successfully celebrated their second annual MOSAIC Week from Feb. 11-15.

The focus of this year’s MOSAIC Week was “One Love,” a theme that aimed to celebrate self-love, care, and expression during a season so focused on romantic love and putting others first.

“Our goal was to build upon self-love and work towards (sic) community empowerment,” XinYi Village Elder Nia L. Kuttamperoor ’20 said. “In all the work we do, we hope to instill love, empathy, and gratitude in our minds and hearts in order to bring forth positive change for our community.”

From an energizing dance workshop to a two-night performance of “The Vagina Monologues” to a powerful spoken word performance by poet and powerhouse Meccamorphosis, the week was jam-packed with activities that left its attendees feeling rejuvenated.

Monday: Yoga & Meditation

Unfortunately, due to the early university closing because of snow, the Yoga & Meditation event was canceled. The event has been rescheduled and will take place in March in the Fava Chapel. The session will be led by Pat Cassidy, assistant director for immersion programs at the Center for Community Service and Justice (CCSJ).

Tuesday: Haleema’s Dance Night

On Tuesday, MOSAIC hosted a dance night in the Center for Intercultural Engagement (CIE) where participants learned various dance styles from around the world.

Haleema Hazeef ’21 led the event, teaching students how to perform cultural dances and  explaining the origin and purpose behind each dance. For example, she explained how belly dancing was created to evoke feminine energy and give women the power to embrace their bodies.

“We used belly dancing as a style for the class since it is a Middle Eastern dance created by women for women, unlike what many perceive the dance to be,” Hazeef said.

Hazeef also instructed several Latin dances, including the salsa, cha-cha, merengue, and cumbia. Both men and women participated in the event and, by the end of the night, had formed a dance circle where everyone could showcase their new moves.

“People were laughing while learning yet were able to be in touch with their bodies,” Hazeef said. “As the instructor for the night, I certainly felt thrilled and happy to see that people were having fun and learning from what I taught.”

Gideon Abadilla ’19 attended the dance night and liked that he was able to learn not only new dance moves but also  their cultural significance.

“There’s more learning that should be done outside of the classroom, and it doesn’t all have to feel academic,” Abadilla said. “[It’s important] to share and appreciate others’ experiences, cultures, and traditions.”

The dance night fits into this year’s MOSAIC Week theme, “One Love,” by bringing the community together as one to interact with different cultures and to feel the connections between each other.

“Dance itself is ‘a joining as one’ as it requires sharing emotion through movement,” Hazeef said. “Movement and dance is a universal language, and it is enough for someone to understand the emotion and passion behind it solely by looking at dance.”

Wednesday and Thursday: The Vagina Monologues

To celebrate both Galentine’s and Valentine’s Day, MOSAIC led the third annual production of The Vagina Monologues, exploring the many facets of womanhood and all things female and feminine.

This year, Awhina Elder Dawn Rice ‘21, with the help of theatre consultant Caitlin Dwinnell ‘21, was in charge of soliciting cast members, directing the monologues, and ensuring that the actors and audience left the show with a new appreciation for themselves.

An early closing due to inclement weather canceled the first casting call, a challenge that Rice did not anticipate. When the cast finally got together, the group was noticeably smaller, but it didn’t take long for the silver lining to appear.

“It kind of made it more intimate that way,” Rice said. “It actually brought everyone closer together more quickly.”

With only five group rehearsals under their belts, the group was more than ready for showtime. Decked out in pink, purple, and red, with their glittered binders in hand, the cast members delivered their monologues with complete confidence and conviction.

While she was proud of the final product of the show, Rice knows that “The Vagina Monologues” has a lot of potential now that it’s been taken under MOSAIC’s wing.

“As MOSAIC progresses, [I know that] it’ll turn into a more heart and soul, more passion (sic) [performance],” Rice said.  

And even though many of the monologues centered around self-love, the production proved that there’s always enough love to go around and give to others. Over the course of two nights, the group raised over $400, all of which was donated to the Baltimore Family Crisis Center.

Read more about the event here.

Friday: Spoken Word with Meccamorphosis and Open Mic Night

On Friday, MOSAIC Week ended with a Spoken Word event in the CIE, featuring keynote speaker and local poet Meccamorphosis.

The night was one of empowerment, inspiration, and spoken word in accordance with the theme of “One Love.” To conclude the event, MOSAIC invited students and guests to perform their own poetry and songs.

Meccamorphosis performed poetry detailing her experiences as a woman of color, including her concerns over the sex trafficking of WOC, her experiences with body image and self-love, and her encounters with white privilege.

Rayonna Burton-Jernigan ‘19, president of MOSAIC, was excited to bring a Spoken Word event to Loyola’s campus.

“Spoken word is a tool that many people use to tell stories and let their voice (sic) be heard,” Burton-Jernigan said. “There should be more events like this so people can explore this old technique of sharing your art.”

This event was chosen to conclude MOSAIC Week because the initiative wanted to bring the community together to show the impact of voices that are too often dismissed. By sharing stories and intimate experiences, MOSAIC was able to create an immeasurable love.

“This event was dedicated to portraying the feelings that have come with this love. Self-love, romantic love, platonic, family, friendship love, etc.,” Burton-Jernigan said. “The point of this event was to verbalize our stories and how these stories have impacted love.”

Feature Image: Courtesy of Rayonna Burton-Jernigan ’19

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Second annual MOSAIC Week celebrates “One Love”