Building a community of support is imperative to creating a safe environment for survivors of domestic violence—and New Paltz certainly leads the way to safer spaces across campus.
Various SUNY New Paltz clubs, organizations and students gathered to stand in solidarity with survivors of domestic violence (DV) on Thursday, Oct. 10.
“By honoring four victims of domestic violence, and discussing the contexts that make domestic violence so prevalent in certain communities, the New Paltz community can continue to fight for justice,” said Take Back the Night President Tara Manning.
This annual event was organized by the Radiant Sisters of Omega Phi Beta sorority, in collaboration with the Black Student Union, the Latin American Student Union and Take Back the Night.
The goal of the event was to shed light on marginalized groups who experience this violence, say the names of the victims aloud and hear their stories.
The event was split into two parts: part one took place in SUB 100N, where students received a name of a domestic violence victim on a nametag. Each organization picked a different person to honor. The names chosen were Tracy Williams, Bianca Devins, Emely Peguero and Delashon Jefferson.
Part two of the event took place in SUB 62/63 at 9 p.m., and revolved around presentations and discussions. During this portion, each club or organization showcased a PowerPoint to highlight those facing this epidemic through a closer, more exact lens. Then the story of each victim was told.
Each organization looked at the effects domestic violence has on different groups facing the epidemic. Take Back the Night explored its effects on LGBTQ+ people. The Black Student Union focused on police violence. The Latin American Student Union shed light on the Latinx population’s struggles with DV. Lastly, the Omega Phi Beta Sorority centered their presentation around the elderly and children. The event also acted as a vigil in remembrance of all those who face domestic violence.
Black Student Union also discussed how police officers respond to calls for domestic violence and how that impacts survivors of color.
“It went really well,” said Kaitlyn Gonzalez, a member of Take Back the Night. “It was honestly a beautiful event that was very well handled and run. The event opened up a really nice conversation between the people there.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which began in 1981, thanks to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intention behind the month is to connect battered women’s advocates and to increase awareness of DV affecting millions of people regardless of race, culture, age, sexuality, gender or status.
The event was open to all. More events like this will be held on campus to support survivors. Take Back the Night is holding “Take a Shirt and Take Back the Night” on Thursday, Oct. 17 from 1-5 p.m. in the Sojourner Truth Library lobby.