By Quedus Babalola
On Thursday night, March 29, LIU Promise and the Take Back the Night committee hosted their third annual Take Back the Night (TBTN). The mission of this event is to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence. The event was sponsored by several clubs and organizations including the Student Government Association, The Runway, the Black Student Union, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Alpha Xi Delta, BASIC, Be The Change, Delta Zeta, Phi Sigma Kappa, Sigma Delta Tau, Theta Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and NYIT, whose students showed up in huge numbers and purchased TBTN t-shirts. The event was held in the Hillwood Commons lecture hall with over 50 students in attendance. This year’s guest speaker was Staceyann Chin, a poet, performing artist and LGBT rights activist. Chin made it clear from the moment that she stepped on the stage that she wasn’t going to just give a speech and send the audience on their way. Chin was born in Jamaica, but now resides in New York. She read multiple poems that she wrote to the audience. The poems discussed her own experience with sexual assault and how she has been able to live life after being assaulted. The students in the audience listened to each word that came out of Chin’s mouth; at one point she even thanked the audience for being so attentive. Chin was able to empower everyone in the room with her reading. She ended with a poem that reminded those who were assaulted that it wasn’t their fault and that they are beautiful.
“I didn’t think I was even going to come to this event earlier, but I’m glad I did or I would’ve been really upset that I missed Staceyann Chin,” Samantha Jones, a senior criminal justice major, said. “She is so empowering and had me feeling like I could one day conquer the world if I had half of her strength.”
Chin told a story about a day when she was proud to be a mother. Chin and her daughter were sharing an elevator with a man and her daughter looked at the man and said “No one is allowed to touch my vagina.” Both Chin and the man were surprised but Chin agreed with her daughter and said “That’s right.” She wants her daughter to know from a very young age that she owns her body, a message she also got across to the audience at Take Back the Night.
“My mom used to tell me every morning before school, that I’m beautiful and shouldn’t let anyone tell me different. I feel like it’s very important to teach your children at a very young age about self-love and the power you have over your own being,” Elizabeth Dunkin, a sophomore English major who attended the event, said.
In addition to Chin, two performers sang on stage about their experiences as victims of assault. The stage was opened for 45 minutes for those who wanted to share their stories; seven students spoke of their battles. After each person spoke, a march to “take back the night” began at Hillwood Commons and went all the way around campus.
“This is my first time at an event like this. I would like to say a huge thank you to those who put this event together, I was able to gain information to not only help myself but also my friends and family members who may end up needing assistance in a situation like this,” Julia Torrez, a a freshman accounting major, said.