Mixed Heritage Awareness Week (MHAW) gives mixed heritage students the space to share and raise awareness about their mixed heritage identities and experiences. According to Camila McGinley ’23, board member of MOSAIC, Andover’s Mixed Heritage Affinity Group, this year’s MHAW will be celebrated on campus with speakers, movies, and open discussions.
“We hope that MHAW allows mixed heritage students the space to share their experience and raise awareness about the mixed heritage identities and experiences. We want this week to give mixed students the space to celebrate their identity while also giving mixed and non mixed students the chance to learn more about what it means to be mixed heritage,” said McGinley.
MOSAIC plans to celebrate MHAW through a variety of campus activities, including a dinner plan selected by MOSAIC and screenings of Netflix’s “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” in addition to the 2019 sitcom “Mixed-ish.” The variety of MHAW events creates greater opportunity for Andover students to engage with MOSAIC’s scheduled programming, according to Christine Michael ’22, board member of MOSAIC.
“Because last year was online, we only really were able to get the photo essay out to the entire community. But this year will be hopefully really awesome, since we can engage more with the Andover community in person,” said Michael.
Michael continued, “I’m excited to have more events [that] are open to the entire community that hopefully, if people are bored on Friday night, [they will be] like, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll go watch this movie, maybe I’ll go to this MOSAIC meeting.’ I’m really excited for this huge jump from being totally virtual last year to having a bunch of in person activities.”
MOSAIC also plans to run open discussions regarding personal mixed heritage experiences at Andover. One will be led by MOSAIC and two others by this year’s MHAW All School Meeting speaker, Julie Lythcott-Haims. Lythcott-Haims is “The New York Times” bestselling author whose written works including “How to Raise an Adult,” “Your Turn: How to Be an Adult,” and “Real American,” a memoir about her experience as a Black and biracial person in white spaces. According to Angie Ceballos Cardona ’25, a member of MOSAIC, Lythcott-Haims’ writing highlights how people need to both share and listen for stories to be heard.
“I’ve read ‘Real American.’ It’s a great book and I think [Lythcott-Haims’s] speech is going to be really impactful. I really hope that people take the time to listen because that’s all we need. We need to not just share our experiences, but for people to really listen and try to understand,” said Ceballos Cardona.
Isaac Heitmann ’22 shared this sentiment, noting how the discussions hosted around mixed heritage allow for greater understanding of life at Andover as a student of mixed heritage. Heitmann believes that hearing new perspectives emphasizes a place of growth in the Andover community.
“I think what stands to me the most is definitely the discussion aspect because I think that mixed heritage awareness is very underdiscussed. You really don’t hear about it that much, and I think that when you have discussions, you suddenly hear a lot of perspectives, and I think that is what is needed: a wide range of voices and perspectives to get those experiences out there,” said Heitmann.
MOSAIC will also continue the photo essay activity from last year’s MHAW, which students can add to throughout the week. According to Heitmann, its placement in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL) is helpful for spreading the stories in the photo essays posted by students. McGinley shares how the impacts of activities like the photo essay can leave lasting impacts on the Andover community.
“For me, I remember meeting other mixed students in my grade because I did the photo essay my freshman year. Also, I think it helps the Andover community become more aware about mixed heritage students and faculty and our experiences,” said McGinley.
Ceballos Cardona echoed this sentiment, sharing her beliefs over the importance of telling the stories of those with mixed heritage. Ceballos Cardona believes that raising awareness about mixed heritage experiences is important for Andover as it evolves into a more anti-racist community.
“I think sharing your experiences as a mixed heritage person, or as a person of color in general, is really important, especially here at Andover, where we are aware that racism occurs and that it’s a part of our daily lives. It’s really important to get that perspective out there and keep pushing it because that’s the only way we’ll get change and move forward with the anti-racism movement we’re trying to do at Andover,” said Ceballos Cardona.