Crowds at the Take Back the Night Rally at Loyola

Another work day, another morning ride to campus. And it’s the end of October, so of course I arrived three miles later in my tank top and light skirt, drenched in sweat. Fall in New Orleans… I taught a ridiculous number of classes today, so by the end of it all I was happily relieved and decided to work it out with a couple of laps around the park. The lake was positively alive with bird activity–this time, ducks. I think. Why are there all these teenage ducks in the park right now? Aren’t ducklings born in spring? R.? Do you know? I watched them snack and squawk for awhile and then headed to Loyola’s campus to meet up with folks gathered for this year’s Take Back the Night march and rally. Crowds of people were gathered on the lawn, listening to speakers from the top of stairs, waiting to walk. There were sororities all sitting together, families with kids, colleagues and students, and quite a few police officers. I found that a little bit confusing. I mean, the point of Take Back the Night is to raise awareness and support for sexual violence survivors, but the taking back the night happens when we walk at night, presuming our safety and right to do so. Put cops in the equation and you’ve either got a a night too dangerous to move through without police escort, or maybe the very presence of those cops makes the space unsafe–especially for those whose communities are faced with excessive surveillance. The speaker indicated that the cops were there as an interested party in the fight against sexual violence. And they certainly are. They certainly are. I could write more here about how the police could stop by stopping their own violence–sexual and not–against the communities they supposedly protect and serve, but I don’t feel like writing about that. I remember my first Take Back the Night and how important it was to me, how moving it was to see us all out there. It doesn’t feel like that for me anymore, but I’m glad the people there tonight get to be there, and I hope it was a good night for everyone. Me? I got back on my bike and headed home. I’ll leave this one for the students.

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