I can’t really explain the experience in such a short post, but I’m going to try. Last weekend I went to Harvard University. No, I’m not going to transfer, in fact I’ve realized I actually like where I am even more after this day. I was invited by the V-Day Organization, along with Alia Roth ‘14 and other members who worked on the V-Day: 100 Men Rising project, to the “Speak Up and Take Rape Culture Down” conference.
To openly speak about difficult issues in a room full of people that actually, professionally understand the topic was a very different experience from what I normally encounter.
Often, the point of the conversation is to carefully and calmly educate and inform on a surface level. At this conference, we moved past the basics, diving into more complicated models, examples and stories.
After listening to speakers like Jaclyn Friedman (who has an amazing story of her own,) we had lunch and prepared ourselves for the upcoming workshops. Our whole team was to attend the V-Day session which would feature the the Connecticut College contingent as presenters! Afterward, we would break up and attend different workshops.
In the V-Day session, Alia and others spoke about the 100-men rising video project and the “1 Billion Rising for Justice” campaign in which countries around the world will make video submissions on their promise that 1 billion will rise to end violence against women.
After all our workshops, we all came together and a microphone was passed around to share reflections on the day. As nervous as I was, I spoke. I spoke about the day, my experiences, my hopes, what I felt, how I wanted things to change, what made me happy and what I’d learned that I would bring back to Conn. My heart almost jumped out of my chest by the time I was done and I felt like I had just run a marathon.
The day was spectacular. It brought things into perspective for me and reminded me that, yes, there is a long way to go in the world, but that we as a college are really very far ahead when it comes to activism. We often forget that. I’m glad I have the peers that I do... they bring about amazing opportunities for all of us, and this year on February 14th, 1 billion will rise for justice.