Take Back the Night unites silenced voices

Jasmine Davis, senior in sociology, speaks with the crowd before the Take Back the Night March in Triangle Park on April 16, 2015. (Vail Moshiri | The Collegian)

Students and Manhattan residents united to share stories, march the streets and campus and hold a vigil in honor of those who have survived violent situations and those who have been lost.

More than 50 people turned out for the annual Take Back the Night rally Thursday night. The voices echoed in the streets of Aggieville and across campus as the group marched through Manhattan chanting and spreading awareness about violence against all people.

The event is part of a larger scale event all around the nation that started decades ago, after a female student, who was walking alone, was stabbed by a stranger a block from her home.

“(It) started back in the 70s,” Natasha Bailey, senior in family studies and human services and women’s studies, said. “It was considered her fault. She shouldn’t have been alone outside at night, or she shouldn’t have been wearing that. And that is not okay.”

Although the original event started as a movement to bring light to violence on women, it has expanded to incorporate marginalized voices such as members of the LGBT community, people with disabilities and minority races.

“This year we are including other marginalized stories,” Bailey said. “In the past, it was just women marching and men weren’t allowed to, but now we’re including that.”

K-state student group, Feminists Igniting Resistance and Empowerment, or FIRE, banned together with different organizations on campus including American Ethnic studies and women’s studies to put on a bigger event than in the past.

The event started at Triangle Park, where students and community members shared personal stories and offered support.

“It was touching to hear these stories,” Jackie Huynh, sophomore in hospitality management, said. “It was amazing that they had the courage to come up and speak to the community that supports them.”

As the crowd moved on to the march, the atmosphere was not one of sadness or despair, but rather energy and pride. People poked their heads out of Aggieville bars and stopped marchers to ask about the cause as the group shouted and chanted resistance to violence.

“Yes means yes! No means no!” the group chanted. “Whatever we wear, wherever we go!”

While some chants were serious and some funny, the night reflected the passion in people to stand up to injustice.

“Oppression is not a competition,” Danh Luu, freshman in chemistry, said. “Your problems, no matter how small, are still problems. They heal with time, but they will leave scars. You’ll always have those memories, but you will also have the people around you to remember to be you and be happy.”

My name is Jamie Teixeira and I am a senior English and journalism with a minor in Leadership. I am the president of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, a tutor at the K-State Writing Center,and a member of the K-State Tap Dance Ensemble. My future plans are to become an editor or publisher of children's literature. Outside of school I love to read and cuddle with my kitten, Bert.