FMLAs Across the Country Organize to End Sexual Assault and Violence Against Women

Last April, Leadership Alliances and activists across the nation commemorated Sexual Assault Awareness Month with major events, rallies,and marches. The BROWN UNIVERSITY Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance in Rhode Island organized a Take Back the Night March to rally support for women’s safety on campus. The BOSTON UNIVERSITY Leadership Alliance affiliate hosted a “Clothesline Project” display to raise awareness about the prevalence of violence against women. The UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS participated in their annual Take Back the Night, marching and chanting through the streets of Denton, Texas. The CONNECTICUT COLLEGE Leadership Alliance hosted a Take Back the Night rally, a candlelight vigil, a “Clothesline Project” display, and a self-defense workshop to empower students on campus.

In spite of heavy rain and unpleasant weather, the TEXAS TECH Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance organized their 2nd Annual Take Back the Night March, featuring speakers from the Lubbock Rape Crisis Center, personal testimony from a rape survivor, and a candle light vigil. The group sold t-shirts to benefit their local rape crisis center. The UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO Leadership Alliance has been involved in raising awareness about the nearly 270 women brutally murdered in their neighboring border city of Juarez, Mexico. Earlier this month, the group hosted a film screening of “Senorita Extraviada,” a documentary that won a Special Jury Prize at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival for its in-depth depiction of the violence against women in Juarez.

In addition, the group hosted a silent auction to raise funds for Casa Amiga, a sexual assault and domestic violence center in Juarez, and brought to campus Colectiva Antigon, an organization of students, artists, and activists that raise awareness through poetry and performance. **AUBURN UNIVERSITY AT MONTGOMERY HOSTS FORUM ON TOLERANCE** The AUBURN UNIVERSITY AT MONTGOMERY (AUM) Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance brought over 170 students together for their Tolerance Forum to discuss issues including violence against women, sexual orientation, hate crimes, and religious and cultural diversity. Co-sponsored by the AUM Leadership Alliance, the College Democrats, and the Campus Paper, the panel featured members of the FMLA, Montgomery Gay and Lesbian Alliance, and the Campus Police. The Montgomery County Chief of Police and a speaker from the Southern Poverty Law Center also spoke during the event on current legislation and local incidents of discrimination and hate crimes.

Members of the nearby AUBURN UNIVERSITY AT HUNTINGDON Leadership Alliance attended the event in show of support. AUM Leadership Alliance leader Melissa Jones notes the need for discussion on issues of tolerance and discrimination, “there’s been a lot of racial tension, and the gay and lesbian group was having a hard time starting up. It was good to have people to talk about it in a forum that was comfortableÉ and [with panelists] that were educated in those areas. It really turned out well and [the group is] really excited.” The event proved a successful forum for discussion, received campus press, and generated dozens of sign-ups for the group.

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