Opinions

“Admin, Can You Hear Us?”

Kay JCM, contributor

Inspired by the story of a student who couldn’t afford college, students were inspired to hold a space where students could express themselves via the arts, as they felt Augsburg was not creating those spaces. Meant to be in the same vein of a talent show, organizer and hip hop dancer Kay began the impromptu event on Feb. 17 in the Christensen Center lobby by freestyle dancing. This matched the poster for the event, which was sent to various Augsburg organizations and student emails, describing it as a “Open Mic/Mini Cypher,” but it soon became a gathering of students voicing their concerns using a karaoke mic. People from offices such as Department of Public Safety, Campus Life, Events, etc. quickly came to the event and have been working with the student organizers to mend some of their concerns on campus. 

The following is a statement to the Augsburg community from organizers Kenia M. and Kay JCM: 

EXCUSE ME,

But that’s it. We have to do something. I am done. Because if no one is, then it is up to us to do something!

Are they hearing us cry? Are they not noticing that we are struggling!? And yes maybe we act like we have things figured out, but that’s a lie. We are conditioned as human beings to always act like we’re okay and to move on. 

Do they know that their students carry big ass burdens on their backs and yet, we are still expected to show up mentally, physically, emotionally, do the work, pay tuition. 

Do they know that their STUDENTS WORK MORE THAN THREE JOBS to PAY FOR COLLEGE, SUPPORT THEIR FAMILY, MAKE END MEETS, EVEN TO BUY GROCERIES?! This causes stress, health issues, and malnutrition – these students are living corpses. Did they know that their STUDENTS WHO ARE COMMUTERS, TRANSFERS, DACA, UNDOCUMENTED, STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES (temporary, physical, mental, not visible), INTERNATIONAL, STUDENTS OF THE GLOBAL MAJORITY (QBIPOC), LGBTQIA+ ARE DROWNING! Do they know that their STUDENTS ARE CRYING BECAUSE THEY CAN’T PAY SCHOOL?!

Are they hearing us cry?!

To top it off, there are no spaces for us to join collectively and meet other students where we share our feelings, what’s happening in the world, what is happening at our school, talk about real shit such as burnout, wanting to drop out or whats it’s like being an undocumented student. They are not creating spaces for self-expression.

When you hear our collective stories OVER and OVER and OVER again there’s a breaking point. One must say, “That’s it!” BASTA!!! Our stories are equivalent to a single grain of rice. When you keep on adding to that scale it will break, and it did. WELL NOW, HEAR US YELL! Ahora escuchen nuestro grito!

This was created as an emergency event; one of the organizer of the event heard a story concerning a student being unable to pay for college and Augbsurg’s unresponsive call to action to acknowledge the murder of Amir Locke. 

The intentions behind this event was created to provide a safe space, a space not created at all, for all students to express themselves via the arts. To give students a sense of community and unity through the arts, something that is no longer present at campus. To give campus life again and to showcase that our students at Augsburg are amazing and have overflowing talent.

Spaces like these have not been provided at Augsburg. It was a space unfamiliar to students; they reacted unimpressed by a student that was dancing. It seemed that it was the end of the event because there was no engagement, but the open mic was only beginning. 

These three student organizers, Angelica, Kenia and Kay, CREATED A SPACE FOR STUDENTS TO SPEAK OF THEIR EXPERIENCES. A SPACE WHERE STUDENTS FOR THE FIRST TIME FELT HEARD, SEEN, AND UNDERSTOOD, when in reality, it was NOT their responsibility to create this event. It was the responsibility of the folks that get paid to do this. 

DO YOU HEAR US NOW?