You may have heard of Emma Sulkowicz who has been carrying her dorm mattress everywhere she goes to protest Columbia University’s decision to allow her rapist to continue attending Columbia. While there are always critics and haters who convince themselves she is only doing this for attention, many more support her decision. On October 29th students at 100 colleges will join Emma in a National Carry That Weight Day by carrying their own mattress or pillow everywhere they go.
“Through this powerful demonstration of solidarity, these participants will tangibly express their commitment to lift the burden of sexual violence from the shoulders of survivors—to carry the weight together.” Find a map of the events at carryingtheweighttogether.com. You can also look for events with the hashtag #carrythatweight.
This protest is more about supporting one woman’s brave stand, it also is a chance to empower students who are working to improve their schools policies on sexual and domestic violence response. “We must work together to support survivors in our communities and hold our institutions accountable to do the same. The Day of Action is a call to students nationwide to stand in solidarity with survivors and work toward safer, healthier communities in which survivors find compassion and support and are not silenced or stigmatized,” said Allie Rickard, founder of Carrying the Weight Together and a lead student organizer at Columbia University.
Having a national day of rape awareness gives us strength to confront and dismantle rape culture. “Want to support survivors? Believe them, listen to them. Want to end campus sexual assault altogether? Believe student leadership — and don’t stop following their lead. All of us having a role in carrying the weight,” said Emily May, co-founder and Executive Director of Hollaback! and one of the lead organizers for the event.
On October 29th, the student demonstration at Columbia will begin at 3:30 p.m consisting of a march of 28 mattresses representing the 28 students who have filed a Title IX complaint against Columbia and a rally on Low Steps. Emma Sulkowicz and fellow students will be joined by legislators and public figures, including New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, and will speak on the topic of sexual and domestic violence.
The #carrythatweight National Day of Action is organized by No Red Tape and Carrying the Weight Together at Columbia University, with support from nonprofits Hollaback!, and Rhize. In addition, the following organizations have signed up as partners: PAVE, SurvJustice, Know Your IX, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, YTH, The UnSlut Project, Fem2pt0, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, Price of Silence, Feminist Apparel, YWCA of Brooklyn, National Organization for Women Virtual Chapter for Young Feminists and Allies, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, Violence Intervention Program, Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, and Surviving in Numbers.
Interview with Emily May of Hollaback. Changeisup2u.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/emily-may-hollaback/
Learn Physical Self Defense and Take Control. Impoweryou.org/selfdefense/
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