Opal Tometi, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement and executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, is the keynote speaker for Franklin & Marshall College's "Take Back the Night" event March 24.
At this year’s event, campus organizers look to shed new light and open new dialogues about institutional violence. The event's organizing committee is comprised by a wide variety of campus activist groups, including the Alice Drum Women’s Center, IMPACT, S.I.S.T.E.R.S, the Black Student Union, LGBTA, Philadelphia Alumni Writer’s House and the local Lancaster chapter of Black Lives Matter.
"She embodies what we stand for," said junior Nadia Johnson, president of S.I.S.T.E.R.S, a diverse campus organization of 140 student members. "She is a mirror image of what kind of women leave F&M, after being in SISTERS, because of her diversity, strength and knowledge."
To be held in Mayser Gym, "Take Back the Night" is an annual campuswide effort to end gendered, racial and sexual violence.
A dedicated activist working at the intersection of racial justice and immigrant rights for more than a decade, Tometi was named a “New Civil Rights Leader” by the Los Angeles Times for her work building movements that bridge immigrant and human-rights initiatives to the ever-growing black liberation movement.
“Opal Tometi’s story serves to teach our campus how to take painful experiences of sexualized, radicalized violence and use them as a foundation for empowering ourselves to enact change” said senior Mikayla Bean, a member of the Women’s Center executive board. “What can we all do as individuals, as a community, to 'Take Back the Night' from all forms of violence to create a campus in which every individual feels safe in their own body?”
"Take Back the Night" is 7 p.m., Thursday, March 24, in Mayser Center. The event is open to the public.
Sponsors: Alice Drum Women's Center, S.I.S.T.E.R.S., Black Student Union, IMPACT, Philadelphia Alumni Writers House, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, Office of the Dean of the College, Title IX Coordinator, Office of Multicultural Affairs, LGBTA and Black Lives Matter 717.
Senior Cadence Pentheny contributed to this report.