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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Taking Back the Night

We shielded our candles from the wind as we walked, protecting our shining beacons, our
symbols of solidarity, that guided us through the streets of downtown Chico. When they cat-called, we
carried on, refusing to yield. When they questioned, we wordlessly replied with a plea to respect our cause, reaching out with a solemn glance to hand them a small flier. This was the culmination of the evening. It was the moment the name became real. Some of us carried our own pain. It tightened our throats and clung to us with an unrelenting grip, but we would not allow it to blind us. Not on this night. Some of us carried the pain of others. As we marched on, we held their hands, or we grasped the cold air as if they were near. We were driven on by the stories we heard in the dimly lit rooms of the BMU earlier that evening, stories from our own peers that tore at our hearts and pulled salty tears from our eyes until we wished we could stretch our arms around every single person and hold them tight. We were driven by the stories that we had known for what seemed like forever, those passed down to us with a cry or a warning or whispered to us in a vulnerable moment, those that made us look to the sky and with a hot-burning anger demand to know, “Why would they do this to her?” Finally, we were driven by the stories we knew would never be told. Yes, we were reclaiming a right we had never had and a space we had never been allowed. But we didn't want it just for tonight. We wanted it tonight and every night. We wanted to clear away that invisible fog, that intangible something in our world that sheltered our attackers and left us fending off blame. Even tonight it surrounded us, hissing “your fault, your fault, your fault.” But as we returned to the concrete expanse of the plaza, feeling an odd emotion we couldn't describe, we watched the bobbing lights roll in. 20 people, 30 more, 15 there, and another 10. Are we all really here for the same reason? They began to form a circle so large it seemed unbreakable. Yes, it must be true. Over 300 people are fed up. Over 300 people want this to end. Over 300 people understand what this night means. It was just then, as we met the eyes of each link in this giant chain of human beings, we realized we have never been alone in this. Tonight we took a piece of a star and held it in our pocket, feeling its warmth on our hands. Maybe, we think, one day we will take that whole blanket of night sky and wrap it around ourselves, knowing we are safe, we are safe, we are safe. For this, we speak out. For this, we listen. For this, we educate. For this, we fight. And for this... we march.

--Brooke Silveria

Friday, December 6, 2013


717 people. 717 people with families. 717 people with dreams and hopes.
717 people with good days, bad days, days of utter confidence and bliss. According
to since 1970, 717 transgender people have been murdered
out of hate and in the last 12 months alone, 73 murders have occurred in the
transgendered community. In 1998 a woman named Rita Hester was murdered
following her “Remembering Our Dead” event. Because of this, Gwendolyn Ann
Smith created the Transgender Day of Remembrance for November 20th
of every year.
Organizations such as The Trevor Project and Glaad and more than 200
hundred locations hosted Transgender Day of Remembrance events from vigils to
marches, to discussions. Chico hosted a screening on campus of the film Two Spirit
following the brutal murder of a young adult who had received acceptance from
those around him. There was also a very moving memorial in the commons of a
group of flags representing a portion of those who passed due to hate crimes. It was
incredibly powerful, despite being such a simple portrayal.
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need to have a day to remember such terrible
events instead we could celebrate the people who were comfortable in their own
skin and were beginning to find or had found themselves.

-Whitney Urmann