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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

1 comment:

  1. You really captured the moment! Take Back the Night was such an inspirational and motivational experience, I can't wait for next semester's event!