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2022 Year in Review
TMS's Best Meetup Moments

Welcome to our 2022 overview of the best moments from The Mixed Space’s monthly meetups! Over the past year, we’ve realized that all our identities make up 100% of who we are, and mixed people are genuinely visionaries. Through our meetups, we’ve heard from diverse voices who have taught us so much about mixed experiences. From young educators to leaders in disability justice, community voices discussing the weight of capitalism to the complexities of online dating, and even delving into the concept of #nonouns, we’ve learned that being mixed is more than enough. Our shared experiences will shape a brighter future for all of us. Join us as we reflect on these powerful moments and their impact on our community.

The year began with our Multidimensional Healing meetup in January, where speaker Owl Rare, a multidimensional creative artist and health/mindfulness coach, discussed the importance of yoga in daily practice. The virtual body and soul workshop also delved into the importance of letting go of what no longer serves us and how peaceful forms of activism can decolonize one’s healing.

February’s meetup centered around the theme of mixed identity and the personal journeys of community members. TMS founders Lili Stiefel and Ariel Bastida shared their growth with the company. They opened the floor to community members to share their own experiences and define key vocabulary words, such as “mixed,” “intersectionality,” and “code-switching.” The meetup also included breakout room sessions where members could discuss their mixed identities more openly.

In March, TMS held a meetup dedicated to National Disabilities Awareness Month and International Women’s Month. Dr. Donna Walton, the founder of Divas with Disabilities (DWD), spoke about her organization and her lived experience as a Black woman, actress, and writer with a disability. Dr. Walton emphasized the importance of speaking up and challenging societal perceptions of people with disabilities, and several members of DWD shared their personal experiences and projects. 

April’s meetup was about the impact of mixed identities on dating, relationships, and love. Lili and Ariel led an open discussion on the three significant components of romance: courtship, partnership, and settling down/moving on. Topics of the night included dating apps (pre and post-pandemic), dating expectations, feeling seen by your partner, gender norms, and the concept of “the one.”

May’s meetup centered around the topic of mental health alongside the onboarding of Mike Avila as our new Meetup Coordinator. The TMS team began the meetup with a video by clinical psychologist Dr. Jenn Noble, who discussed the false beliefs projected onto mixed-race individuals that cause deep insecurity and anxiety. Community members shared stories of discrimination and erasure of their other cultures, as well as the lengths they have gone to assimilate into American culture.

In June, the community celebrated parades as a theme, with members gathering in their most celebrated garb and bringing items that made them proud. The meetup was held during Pride Month and Juneteenth and served as a reminder of the history of oppression that the collective diasporas have experienced.

July focused on the education system, with community members sharing their school experiences. The group discussed the importance of fostering creativity, the individual’s say in their education, and the integration of Critical Race Theory into school systems. They agreed that the purpose of education should focus on finding strengths, passions, and overall purpose to make the world a better place.

August’s meetup discussed the politicization and societal expectations’ influence on our relationship with our hair. Community members shared stories and showed pride in their natural hair. They discussed what they wished other people knew about hair identity and culture and shared stories about moments that felt special to them and their identity with hair.

In September, the community discussed how capitalism shapes class, generational wealth and family dynamics. The community shared stories of balancing their definition of success with their sense of identity, whether through a traditional career path or pursuing their passions. Attendees also discussed the dilemma of telling your parents you aren’t aligned with the career path they planned for you.

Ancestors were honored in October as the community discussed how connecting with them can ground individuals in their identities and guide them on their journeys. Members shared tearful memories of their ancestors and how they continue to honor them today. We also emphasized the importance of cultural perseverance and the benefits of getting in touch with ancestral wisdom.

November was a space for sharing experiences and gathering tools to support people in navigating tough conversations, often political discourse, with relatives at the dinner table. The meetup was bittersweet as Ariel announced her departure from The Mixed Space. Mike and Ariel then discussed the importance of empathy, asking questions, and rephrasing. Community members opened up about methods and tools used to approach difficult conversations with family members.

Lastly, to end the year in December, Lili announced pausing monthly meetups starting January 2023. The meetup then began with a writing exercise to invigorate our senses. Mike asked the group to write a sensory description of a home they’ve lived in, currently or in the past. The community discussion opened with the question: how have you modified your definition of home throughout your life? Community member Heather shared that she has lived in five cities in twenty years. She expressed that no matter where she resides, home isn’t as much about getting to know the houses she’s lived in but, more importantly, the roots of the plants surrounding her.

Throughout the year, TMS has provided a brave space for individuals to share experiences and learn from one another. Each meetup reminds us of the importance of understanding and accepting diverse perspectives and identities. TMS loves how its community has grown and evolved. Our conversations and connections will continue to shape and strengthen our paths.

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