More than 100 students and staff gathered in the Great Hall on Thursday Nov. 7 to watch and participate in Harmony in Diversity, an open mic event hosted by Pierce College’s Diversity Committee.
During the open mic session 23 people read poems, sang, danced and discussed social issues. In the middle of the event there was a performance by Diane Kelly, a musician and Pierce professor.
Kelly is a fan of the event and offered to support it when she first heard of the event.
“I sat in on the [Diversity Committee] meeting and they came up with the idea of having the event so I said ‘I’ll play,’” Kelly said.
Having Kelly perform was a draw for some students like Karen Ibarra.
“I had professor Kelly before, and I was interested to see what kind of genre was hers,” Ibarra said.
While performing an original song Kelly broke into a guitar solo and the crowd erupted in applause.
Professor Maria Bates, co-chair of the Diversity Committee, said the committee is a group of faculty who support diversity and help to bring people together on campus.
“This is such a positive thing because it allows you to express your individuality,” Kelly said.
One of the students who performed during the event was Arnel Reyes, who attended the event to receive extra credit in one of his classes and recite a poem entitled “I Know You” by an unknown author.
“You’re pretty open to do whatever you want. It’s a good vibe, good environment to be yourself in,” Reyes said.
Food and drinks were provided for students in addition to the entertainment, and included cookies, muffins, chips, water and soda. There was no budget for the event so funding came from Bates’ own pocket.
“I just felt like it wouldn’t be a really nice event unless we offer food. Students come here, they’re spending their afternoons here, it’s really a nice perk,” Bates said.
Some of the students who took the stage were from foreign countries and performed in foreign languages such as Farsi and Spanish.
Christine Valada, co-chair of the Diversity Committee, was happy with the turnout.
“It’s always gratifying to see participation,” Valada said.
Events like these have a good impact on the campus and students at Pierce, according to Kelly.
“I think it’s important for students to be able to connect to one another and it just kind of brings a really cool spirit to the campus,” Kelly said.
Following the success of the event, the Diversity Committee is planning to host another one of a similar format for May of next year.