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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ingrid Rivera Comes to UMB

On Wednesday, Ingrid Rivera took the stage as a mother, a lesbian, a minority and as a woman. In an event sponsored by the Queer Student Union in conjunction with the Black Student Center and Casa Latina to raise awareness of the status of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered minorities within the community, Ingrid Rivera seemed to be the perfect emblem of a disconnected and often misrepresented group of people.

Speaking in front of approximately sixty students at the Wheatley student lounge, Rivera delivered a sermon recanting her life in Brooklyn, NY, right down to her eventual transition into the world of activism, feminism, and parenthood. “We as a marginalized, oppressed sexual minority must stand up and be recognized,” she concluded her first speech, followed by applause and recognition from the audience, many of whom were ethnic and sexual minorities.

“I don’t see color, I am color blind,” Riviera said to an attentive audience. “Racism is not the seeing of race, but the complete blindness of a person to the issue of race itself.”

This might be the biggest event yet for the Queer Student Union, which had faded from the radar over the past year or so. The arrival of Ingrid Rivera might yet inject some life into the organization, which stands to represent the GLBT campus community at UMB.

Following the end of Rivera’s speech was a short break in which questions were asked. Some of the questions and comments confronted Rivera’s seemingly pristine view of racial and ethnic unity. Others applauded her bid for communalism along those barriers of race and sexual orientation. A few white gays and lesbians felt intimidated by Rivera’s remarks that white people in general “lack community” and therefore find it harder to relate to Afro-Americans, “who are all about community.”

On the whole, her sentiments were largely shared by many of those who were present, irrespective of their color and sexual orientation. From white men to black lesbians, many hung on to her every last word.

Rivera ended her lecture with a poetry reading. From the fiery cry of heartbreak in “She Fucked Me,” right down to her sultry coalescence of passion and maternity in “Her Hands,” Rivera’s lyrical rants and rolls kept the audience on edge as her meter altered with the mood. Aside from the way Rivera presented her poems was the actual message she was attempting to convey. The issues of discrimination, racism, sexual abuse and homophobia were all addressed, along with a perceivable desire to be heard.