The Title IX Office’s Last to Say event honored the victims and survivors of domestic violence with dancing, poetry, art and a pasta buffet in an attempt to bring hope, connection and solidarity to such a prevalent issue in our world today.
Title IX and RADIUS sponsored the night of performances and food on Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. in Plattsburgh State’s Warren Ballrooms in the Angell College Center.
This event followed a candle-lit vigil in honor of domestic violence victims held by the sisters of Omega Phi Beta. These events signified the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness month, which takes place every October.
Genie Denton is a community educator through Stop Domestic Violence, a free 24-hour resource center for those struggling with domestic violence.
“Domestic violence awareness is all about remembering the names of victims that are alive, those that didn’t survive and the survivors that are paving the way for a better tomorrow,” Denton said.
The organization has a location on PSUC’s campus in Beaumont Hall in room 302A.
“There are a lot of things that we can do to help you,” Denton said. “I will give you a ride to our office. I will give you a ride to the police station, so you don’t have to go alone. I can help you obtain an order of protection without involving the police.”
Denton read a poem at the event titled “Remember My Name” which is written from the perspective of someone who perished from the dangers of domestic violence but happy they could be the example or provide enough awareness to save another victim’s life.
Vice President of Student Affairs, Bryan Hartman, was also in attendance and addressed the crowd.
“These events are important to raise awareness for the victims and survivors,” Hartman said. “We have them amongst our community. Unfortunately, I get to see a lot of that dark side of college life, because these matters happen. We need to come together as a community to prevent these issues and support those that are wrestling with them.”
The night of human connection through art and music continued with a step dance routine performed by PSUC step team Steps For Excellence.
Denton also presented a video of twins reciting a slam poem, which they have also performed for the United Nations, that questions societal gender roles and how they can contribute to rape culture.
The piece called on men to reflect upon their masculinity, take responsibility and not let it become something dangerous.
“In recent years, we identified that we couldn’t find a solution [to domestic violence] unless we included men in the conversation,” Denton said.
The free dinner served at Last to Say was a pasta and salad buffet, catered by Chartwells, with chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
PSUC alumna Zyaijah Nadler is now the Violence Prevention Education and Outreach Coordinator with Title IX.
She and the Title IX interns worked to make this night of solidarity a reality. While those in attendance were eating, Nadler encouraged them to really think about the food, how easily it came to them and how hard it is for people struggling in this world to find a meal.
Nadler and Title IX wanted to create an event that did more than just focus on the gloomy reality of domestic violence and its consequences.
“At the end of the night you see that it’s not just us at an individual level that is impacted but the people around us,” Nadler said.
Last to Say ended with the recital of a personal poem from Alexis Valentin’s perspective and experience with domestic violence through the eyes of her little brother, and a performance by Anna Skolnick of Demi Lovato’s song “Warrior”.
Title IX will continue to put on events through October that pay respects to domestic violence survivors as well as spread love through culture and poetry, including their Halloween night talent show.
The office also encourages students and community members to attend the Oct. 11 Coming Out Ceremony sponsored by RADIUS.
“The main thing is to get the community involved with the conversation,” Nadler said. “We need to meet them where they’re at.”
Email Sage Lewandowski at firstname.lastname@example.org