Take Back the Night Celebrates 30th Anniversary

The Fahari Libertad displays their support for Take Back the Night on Parker Quad.
The Fahari Libertad displays their support for Take Back the Night on Parker Quad.

On April 28, SUNY New Paltz’s chapter of Take Back the Night celebrated their 30th anniversary on Parker Quad. 

Take Back the Night is an international movement and non-profit that began in the 1970s to protest against sexual violence. Since its founding, the movement’s goal has been to foster safe spaces through its events by starting conversations and spreading awareness surrounding sexual assault. According to its mission statement, Take Back the Night “[unites] people from every background, belief and culture around the world to take a visible and vocal stand.” 

The event, which featured six tables from different organizations and an open mic, was not the main focus of the Take Back the Night movement, according to New Paltz’s chapter president and treasurer Omar Alawadhi. By holding more than 10 events in almost every residence hall this past semester, the initiative hopes to break the stigma around survivorship. “My hope is that our events push SUNY New Paltz students to be more proactive and not let any form of sexual harassment or violence pass by without holding the appropriate people responsible. We’re trying to get our community to have a ‘see something, say something’ attitude,” said Alawadhi. 

“We plan on fostering a productive and meaningful conversation by encouraging and welcoming a diverse group of people from all walks of life. I believe that is how we can foster the most informative, welcoming and productive conversation possible,” he said.

The organizations who tabled at this event were New Paltz Music Collective, OASIS, Ulster County Crime Victims Assistance Program (CVAP), the Fahari Libertad, Future Teachers of Color and Qomunidad. 

CVAP, a program that assists residents of Ulster County who have been victims of crime, had rocks and paint markers on their table, telling guests to write motivational sayings on the rocks with the intention of putting them around the town of New Paltz. “To bring everybody in the narrative together, we’re going to be painting the rocks with expressions of inspiration, safety, support and to keep each other up,” said Stephanie Kelly, a member of CVAP. 

The 129-B law, also known as “Enough is Enough,” in New York State, implemented zero tolerance against sexual assault, domestic violence and any type of harrassment at SUNY schools. In response to this legislation, CVAP provides direct services and prevention education at SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Ulster. 

OASIS, a trained student-staffed crisis support service, offers confidential crisis intervention for students, ranging from depression to roommate hassles. Their table, run by masters program students Seth Davis and Omar Graves, offered cup covers and personal safety alarms to guests. 

President and senior music manager of the Fahari Libertad Jennifer Poroye said, “The stories and the narratives of survivors are so important and they are very much intersectional with Black and brown folks.” 

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