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Campaign to Rally Emerson Against Violence

Emerson STANDS wrist bands. Emerson STANDS is an initiative sponsored by the Office of Violence Prevention and Response, which is launching the second Communities United Against Violence campaign this week. File photo/Dan O'Brien

The second annual Communities United Against Violence campaign is underway, with a lineup of events aimed at strengthening a safe, inclusive Emerson College.

The campaign is being led once again by the Office of Violence Prevention and Response (VPR), and coincides with national Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. This year’s schedule features a return of popular events like “Jeans for Justice” Friday and the Walk for Change, along with new activities, such as a zine workshop.

“It really is about people being engaged in their own communities and what they want their own communities to be like, and what they see is a good fit for their community,” said VPR Director Melanie Matson.

While VPR is tying the campaign together, many of the individual events originate with other organizations and departments on campus.

“We wanted to highlight individuals, departments, or student organizations who are taking on leadership roles and doing what they feel is important,” Matson said.

Matson said she’s been heartened by the number of partnerships VPR has been able to make around the campaign and campus inclusiveness and non-violence in general over the past year.

As of March 23, 16 people from the College had already signed up to do the Walk for Change, sponsored by the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and “we had just started getting the word out, so I think Emerson community members want to be involved,” Matson said.

“It’s really exciting this year to be looking back at last year and how far we’ve come, and how many bright spots there are,” she said.

Below are upcoming events. For more information, visit the Violence Prevention and Response website.

Emerson STANDS (Stick Together. Act Now. Do Something.) Ongoing – An active bystander strategy that equips potential bystanders with the knowledge, skills, and resources to safely and effectively intervene to prevent power-based interpersonal violence, including sexual assault and harassment, abusive relationships and bullyng, and stalking and threats. Visit the VPR website to participate.

Bright Lights Film Series: An Open Secret, Thursday, March 24, 7:00–10:00 pm – A documentary about five child actors whose lives were turned upside down by sexual abuse within the entertainment industry. It looks at the lives of these children who were betrayed and abandoned by a system that essentially funneled them toward people who commit sexual abuse, without any oversight or regard for their safety. The film also documents how some of the children have emerged stronger for their speaking out. Followed by a panel discussion with producer Matt Valentinas and BARCC. Additional Bright Lights screenings include: Carol, Tuesday, April 5; and The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Thursday, April 7. All films are screened in the Bright Family Screening Room at the Paramount Center. Contact for details.

Patricia Lockwood Reading and Q&A, Wednesday, March 30, 4:00­–6:00 pm – Lockwood has published two poetry collections and is notable for her series of Twitter “sexts” and the prose poem “Rape Joke,” probably one of the first (if not only) poems to go viral on Twitter. Called the poet laureate of Twitter, Lockwood’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker and the London Review of Books. In the Bright Family Screening Room. Sponsored by the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing. Contact

It Happened Here Screening and Discussion, Friday, April 1, 12:00–2:00 pm – Through the intimate portraits of five student survivors, It Happened Here exposes the alarming pervasiveness of sexual assault on college campuses, the institutional coverups and failure to protect students, and follows their fight for accountability and change on campus and in court. A discussion about how the Emerson community can play a role in strengthening a supportive, coordinated response will follow. In the Multipurpose Room in the Max Mutchnick Campus Center. Sponsored by VPR. Contact

Communities United Against Violence Zine Project, Wednesday, April 6, 7:00–9:00 pm – Get creative and design a zine about inclusive and violence-free communities and supporting people impacted by violence. All materials are provided; no experience is required. In Room 118 at the Max Mutchnick Campus Center. Sponsored by VPR. Contact

Jeans for Justice Rally, Friday, April 8, 12:00–1:00 pm – Wear jeans all day to visually unite against violence and support people impacted by violence. At 12:00 pm, gather in the Multipurpose Room at the Campus Center for a rally to show solidarity against violence. With speakers, performances, food, recognition, and more. Sponsored by VPR. Contact

Walk for Change, Sunday, April 10, 9:30 am–12:00 pm – Participate in the Walk for Change to benefit BARCC. Preregistration is required; register at the VPR website. Meet at Artesani Park, 1255 Soldiers Field Road, Brighton. Contact

Emerald Empowerment Week, April 11–15 – Sponsored by the sorority Kappa Gamma Chi, the annual week of events is held to promote awareness of domestic violence, partner abuse, and sexual assault. For information, visit the Kappa Gamma Chi Facebook page.

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