A project and a podcast by Corina Meitz and Cosar Bianca

In the summer of 2021, we enrolled in a cultural studies class in the Karl Franzens University of Graz on anti-racism and intersectionality. This course inspired us to attempt to make tangible differences in the real world, instead of writing a paper that will in all probability never be published or circulated. Our goal was to touch people’s lives by raising awareness about the themes we were studying. 

Out of this desire, with a few classmates, we came up with the idea of developing a series of episodes for a podcast to amplify the voices of ethnic and social minorities. With the project Breaking Silence Graz, we wanted to include as many different voices as possible. It was also our wish to give the stage to people who speak of experiences that are seldom addressed. Further, the point of a podcast is to listen and try to understand people's experiences. We consider this an essential part of being an ally.

The contemporary focus of BLM on black lives is understandable and necessary. However, it seemed to us that other identities were overshadowed by the prominence of this label. The movement’s name often proved misleading since its mission is to address and rectify injustice towards all minorities, not only those related to black lives. Brown lives, for instance, have yet, unfortunately, not been discussed enough.

Intersectionality was a recurrent topic in our classes and seminars. We discussed quite a bit about its role in one's identity and its advantages and disadvantages. Intersectionality also indicates that identity is not necessarily found in one label alone or in their rejection. Beginning a discussion on intersectionality and the experiences of people who identify as brown during at least one episode meant giving a voice and trying to understand these aspects of brown lives. 

Discussing these issues with Susmita, the Editor-in-Chief of The Pine Cone Review, brought up the discussion about writing as a form of activism. As we discussed brown writers and their writing, we were shown a panoramic vision of a world which two white women like us could barely pre-conceive. 

During our recording session and the pre-interview coffee hangout with Susmita, she  stressed on the fact that literature is not only art for the sake of aesthetics, but that it is also a means to make one’s voice heard. 

It has been an enriching experience and truly humbling experience and its echoes and lessons still reverberate in our lives. 

You can listen to the podcasts in Spotify here or in YouTube here . 

CORINA MEITZ is an Austrian student of English and American Studies at the Karl Franzens University of Graz. Her love for the English language was and continues to be heavily influenced by stories told in films and books. She believes that our world is made up of stories and loves listening to them

COSAR BIANCA is a Romanian studying American Studies in Austria. Her passion for trans- and intercultural communication lead her to opportunities such as this project. She considers communication to be the main attribute of the human society that brings people closer.

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