Community members, UMD students, and CSS students came together on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2016 at UMD for "Take Back the Night" to march and rally against sexual violence. (Cable Photo/Josie Steller)

Strong CSS Showing at March Against Gender-Based Violence

DyAnna Grondahl

It is easy to identify as an activist, but it is more challenging and even more powerful to actually step in and take action, which is what many St. Scholastica students did at Take Back the Night. In the evening on Community Day, many saints continued their theme alongside other members of the Duluth Community, including a large showing of University of Minnesota-Duluth students.

Take Back the Night is a three-part event that includes a rally, a march, and a speak-out session. The rally is a way to inform attendees on relevant causes and issues. It presents speakers who address difficult topics such as domestic violence and sexual assault. There was an information fair that hosted many activist groups and programs from the Duluth community including the Violence Intervention and Prevention program from CSS. The rally serves to get people fired up about the march and find their passion for the cause. The march takes place en route around the UMD campus.

St. Scholastica Sophomore Hannah Mayne attended the event and said she had a heart-warming experience.

“I was really impressed by all the resources they had there,” she said.

The marchers chanted, shouted and actively took back the night by raising awareness of sexual and domestic violence, issues that are very relevant and to which many people are connected in one way or another.

“Take Back the Night was a good educational experience,” said Matt Rider, a junior at CSS. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to take part in the march and get to hear the experiences from the people who spoke. It was nice to see so many people from St. Scholastica attending and I was impressed by the student turnout.”

After the march, things wound down during a speak-out session where victims and non-victims alike spoke their piece, whether they were telling the attendees about their experiences with sexual, domestic, or gender-based violence or offering support in those who have experiences with said traumas. The event was eye-opening and challenging for many people. Students from CSS and UMD both represented their campuses during the speak out session.

Maria Ropers, a senior from CSS, has attended TBTN before, and was pleased to see such a great turnout from the Scholastica Community. She mentioned that she thinks UMD has to do more recruiting because, while the event was held on UMD soil, much of the space was taken up by Scholasticans. She then commended Lexie Generous, the director of the CSS V.I.P. Program, and the GEVAs for their tremendous recruitment efforts for the event.

Ropers felt the rally speakers were particularly moving.

“I was really disappointed and caught about the talks beforehand they were quite catching and interesting, but really hard to take, especially the native woman who was talking about abuse for native women,” Ropers said.

Generous said that this is just one event for students interested in activism to be active in.

“We have other events and programs here at CSS’s campus for folks to get involved as we all have a role to play in preventing and responding to power-based violence,” she said.