Take Back the Night revamped for 2019

Sydney Mohr, Features Editor

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On Tuesday, April 9, Winona State University’s women, gender and sexuality studies (WGSS) senior seminar class is taking to the streets and inviting community members and students alike to join their two-hour event, Take Back the Night.

Take Back the Night will be from 5:30 – 7 p.m. in Central Park, located off Main and Broadway streets.

WGSS senior seminar class has also paired up with the Women’s Resource Center of Winona and the Winona State RE Initiative to help put together this event and educate the public.

Sydney Radler, a senior social work major and student in the WGSS senior seminar class talked about Take Back the Night.

“Take Back the Night is a night that is meant to be a place of healing,” Radler said. “We are changing it from what it has been in the past, and we are completely revamping it.”

In the past, there have been hours of survivors sharing stories to the audience, but students and community members have found this quite emotionally draining, so this year WGSS is changing how the event is being lined up, focusing more on the healing aspect.

“We’ll be having students or community members share, but we will also be having performances and live music to make the event feel safe and comfortable,” Radler said.

The night is created for sexual assault survivors to reclaim spaces that have historically been seen as unsafe for survivors, such as the streets after dark.

“At the event, we try and also address and acknowledge other groups’ experiences and difficult statistics that go along with them, such as the LGBTQ community, indigenous people and people of color,” Radler said. “We want everyone to feel safe and welcome, but also to see how many people this affects.”

This event is set to help people speak out, to share and connect, and to educate the community about sexual assault and domestic violence. The event is based on victim and survivor centered healing versus the trauma they faced and started with the #MeToo movement. The senior seminar class is split and students get to pick how they want to help out at the event.

Kristen Henry, a student in the senior seminar, talked about how everyone plays a role in Take Back the Night.

“Everyone in the class has a part to play. We collectively generate ideas to make the night accessible to everyone in the community,” Henry said.

Students were able to choose from things such as organizing events for the night, making posters or contacting news outlets to help spread the word about the event.

“We want everyone involved. Community members, students, everyone,” Henry said. “We’re hoping we may even get city council member to speak at the event.”

Besides Take Back the Night, WGSS senior seminar has other events lined up to keep to help survivors with their healing. On Wednesday, April 10, there will be a slam poetry night for people to come and share their work and a yoga night at the trauma center is in the work as well.

“We just want everyone to be involved. We want to show that it’s okay to move on and to heal, and that things will be okay,” Henry said. “We’re excited about the direction we are taking this year with Take Back the Night, and we hope that it’ll be a big success.”