Kicking off the 10th annual Mixed Heritage Awareness Week, MOSAIC, Andover’s mixed heritage affinity group, hosted an open-door viewing and discussion about the role an individual’s mixed heritage can play in their lives. In addition to the open event, MOSAIC plans to host a variety of events geared toward showcasing mixed heritage to the Andover community throughout the week.
Aya Murata, Associate Director of College Counseling and Faculty Advisor to MOSAIC, helped coordinate the programming for the week. She explained some of the activities and events that would be hosted to help develop students’ understanding of their heritage.
“This is the 10th annual [Mixed Heritage Awareness Week] so it feels really exciting in that way. We always have a photo essay, an opportunity for students to kind of just answer a broad prompt of ‘what does it mean to be [of] mixed heritage’ or to share something maybe more specific,” said Murata.
According to Murata, MOSAIC expanded on past programs with new events and activities while also maintaining the “traditions” set by previous boards. She feels that these new events will help broaden community engagement and awareness.
“This year we started doing Instagram reels, little video clips, and then we also try to have a keynote speaker when possible, as well. We also extended an invitation to the community for those who want to come to the special dinner in [Paresky] as well as various other events that the [board] has had planned,” said Murata.
In previous years, much of the Mixed Heritage Awareness Week programming and events were geared toward affinity group members. Camila McGinley ’23, a board member of MOSAIC, talked about her goal for expanding programming to include more members of the Andover community.
“We want to first celebrate our identities and share our stories but also bring in the community too so it’s not just something that we ourselves are doing. We want to reach out and to bring more people into [MOSAIC] because sometimes people are multicultural or bi-ethnic and they may not automatically be on the email list,” said McGinley.
William Boo ’23, another board member of MOSAIC, spoke further on his vision for the week. He hopes that the week will help people of mixed heritage feel visible and heard among the broader Andover community.
“The goal is to sort of, as the name would suggest, raise awareness for students in our community, living between cultures, that are many times put into like the separate buckets of say, Asian, or white, or Black. It’s about recognizing those people in between and making sure that the broader community recognizes them,” said Boo.
Boo also expressed gratitude to the faculty and staff who collaborated and contributed to making the week possible. He explained how while most of the planning and coordination behind the events was left to the student board, faculty involvement still played a major role in the week’s planning.
Boo said, “The week’s events are mostly student-run but we’ve gotten a lot of really great support from the faculty. For example, we’ve asked for chaperones for the dance that we’re having this weekend. The adult members are the top members of our community and they responded really, really nicely. They were able to get chaperones relatively easily. While it’s student-run, we’ve thankfully gotten a lot of support from the adult community.”
Kai Mafunga ’26, an attendee of MOSAIC’s open-door meeting, said that it helped her explore her mixed heritage in a way she hadn’t before. She hopes that the week’s programming can help other people experience and learn about their own mixed heritage just as she did.
“Before I came here and before I experienced mixed heritage week, my heritage wasn’t something that I thought about a lot in a conscientious way. I feel Mixed Heritage Week has really let me explore sides of my culture that I didn’t necessarily know I had, and that I didn’t really interact with in the past,” said Mafunga.
Mafunga continued by explaining how the programming helped her explore multiple facets of her identity. In particular, she appreciates that she was able to dive into the various cultures that make up her ethnic background.
“I also like how it’s not just one type of mixed heritage, because I’m not just one type of mixed [either]. I have several different cultures, several different peoples, and several different identities mixed within me and I love how I’m able to explore them during mixed heritage week and in general [at Andover],” said Mafunga.
Subscribe to The Phillipian Newsletter!
Read the week’s top stories from The Phillipian, curated for your inbox. Subscribe here!