e-Newsletter of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary | April 5, 2012 Twitter Facebook

Students unite and march for peace

More than 150 students, faculty, staff and community members demonstrated their dedication to eradicating violence on campus and in the greater community by taking part in the Take Back the Night campaign on April 3. Sponsored by Moravian’s AAUW student affiliate group and co-sponsored by more than a dozen clubs, the hundreds of activists marched from Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus to Main Street Campus, committed to a safer community for all.

Carrying handmade posters and wearing Take Back the Night T-shirts, the marchers traveled the Moravian Mile starting at 6:30 p.m., chanting messages of peace and non-violence and inspiring pedestrians to join the cause. The participants marched to Johnston Hall for a rally where a group of student dancers performed after students read their own poetry, depicting the realities of abusive relationships and other forms of violence. Participants led chants, and a few even found the courage to tell stories of their past or sing songs they felt tied to the overall message—violence in our communities must come to an end.

“We have all been a part tonight of something much greater than any one of us,” said Katelyn Cohen ’14, president of AAUW, after a number of powerful open mic performances. “We have made a difference, and I am proud to call this college my community.”

AAUW faculty advisor and psychology professor, Stacey Zaremba, called the turnout phenomenal and the event timely, in light of the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida last month.

“It’s so important to raise these issues—discrimination, violence, hate crimes—on campus. Don’t just raise your consciousness. Get involved and do something about it.” She suggests those interested in taking action sign petitions, volunteer with local agencies, and go online to see what one can do as an activist for a particular cause. “See what others have done, and then figure out a plan that suits your sensibilities, values and passions.”

Casey Hilferty ’14, AAUW member, also expressed her excitement for Moravian’s commitment to a world with less violence. “It creates a feeling of community,” said Hilferty of the night’s events. “We look out for each other no matter our race, gender or sexual orientation.”

Katelyn Cohen ’14 and Casey Hilferty ’14 stand with one of the Silent Witness figures on loan from The Beginning Over Foundation. Each figure represents someone who was murdered in Pennsylvania as a result of domestic violence. The gold chest shield tells the story of their death.

Photos by Michael Clark '12

The co-sponsors, IDEA, office of student affairs, COSAA, pan-hellenic council, IMPACT, art department, office of institutional diversity, history club, AAUW student affiliate group, Amnesty International, the women's basketball team, the women's studies advisory council, Harmony Press, Inc., Physical Graffiti-Tees, and the psychology club banded together, intensifying the unity of the night’s energy.

Following the march and rally, participants met around the Peace Pole, a symbol of world peace that was erected in 2000, for a ceremony to remember the victims of violence.

Since 2006, Moravian has been taking a stand against violence with this international effort that finds its roots in the 1970s. Women around the world began marches with names like Take Back the Night and Reclaim the Night.

Originally established by women around the world protesting protest excessive violence against women on public streets after dark, Take Back the Night marches have intensified efforts to denounce violence against all people—men, women and children.