Multicultural center story slam gets snaps of approval


Remijo C. Mendoza delivers his story “Teifling” to the crowd in Hargreaves Hall Friday. A story slam is similar to a poetry slam where writers recount events from their lives that impacted who they are today | McKenzie Ford for The Easterner

By Erica Bullock, Contributor

EWU’s multicultural center hosted the first ever story slam in Hargreaves Hall last Friday, surrounding the theme of identity.

A story slam is similar to a poetry slam, but instead of poems, volunteers perform short, original, true stories. Storytellers are judged on how well the story is told and the relevance of the theme. The top three winners won gift cards to the campus bookstore.

Sarahi L. Gutierrez won third place for her performance of “Accents are Sexy.” The story was based on her younger self coming to appreciate her bilingual upbringing.

Gutierrez said she used to make fun of her relatives who had a difficult time pronouncing English words clearly. She spoke of the heavy Spanish accents in her family and how they demonstrated the struggles of assimilating to a new culture.

“Accents add a little spice, flavor, oomph,” Gutierrez said to the crowd.

Second place winner Remijo C. Mendoza performed “Tiefling” in black dress pants, a red dress shirt and vest with a matching set of horns protruding from his head. In the Dungeons and Dragons game, a Tiefling is a human with demonic ancestry.

Mendoza said that he told his story “for people who exist in the in-between space, people who don’t belong.”

He described how people feared spending any time with him because they worried that being around him would turn them into gay, devil worshippers. Mendoza also said that the pride center was not as accepting of him and his wiccan beliefs because of the ban on Ouija boards.

“She Woke,” told by first place winner Bianca M. Mejia, was a story about three childhood friends who ended up falling apart because of race. As second graders, Mejia’s white friend Madison told her, “I can’t play or talk to black people,” referencing their mutual biracial friend China.

“I couldn’t understand what her being black had to do with us playing princesses,” Mejia said.

Madison then looked at Mejia and said, “Because you’re brown, and you play with her, I can’t play with you either,” Mejia said.

“Once she said that, it hit me hard, really hard, because this girl and her mother judged and assumed, me and China, based off of our physical appearances and not our actual character,” Mejia said.

The audience snapped their fingers in approval.

Mejia concluded her story with the realization that racism would affect the rest of her life.

“Before we could develop our identities as young girls, our identity was slapped on us like a package sticker. It was then I realized that life was never going to be the same and that sticker was never coming off.”

After the winners were announced, Mejia said, “It was nice to be able to finally share that, because I actually haven’t told a lot of people.”

Mejia has been trying to participate in activities that force her to overcome her shyness. “Why not?” she said. “It’s the first time that they’re doing this, why not show support and use this platform to get out of my comfort zone?”

The next story slam is not yet scheduled. Having the courage to share her story is an experience Mejia said she won’t regret. “Being able to have the space created to where I’d feel open enough to tell it, it’s really nice. I’m happy,” Mejia said.