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Hundreds to gather for local protest against sexual assault

October 15, 2014

As President Obama launched the nationwide "It's On Us" campaign this fall to raise awareness about sexual assault on college campuses, Loyola University New Orleans is taking a stand against rape and other forms of sexual violence by hosting its annual candlelight vigil Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. The ceremony will start on the Marquette lawn on Loyola's campus, and more than 600 participants are expected to march down St. Charles Avenue to Tulane's campus where survivors will share their stories.

Loyola is partnering with Dillard and Tulane Universities along with two newcomers, Xavier University and University of New Orleans, for the Crescent City's Take Back the Night.

New this year to the event, UNO is hosting a Take Back the Night concert at the UNO outdoor amphitheater Monday, Oct. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. The concert will feature the UNO Jazz All-Stars, an ensemble of current students who have played local venues such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

There will also be a spoken word/poetry slam on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at Dillard University from 6 to 9 p.m. in the university library. The spoken word performance will feature students from each of the participating universities sharing personal pieces written to raise awareness about sexual assault as well as urge consent and respect in intimate relationships. The performance is free and open to the public.

"I am really touched by the amount of support coming from people for Take Back the Night. You can tell it’s something that people really care about and it’s really great for survivors because they get to see that they are not alone," said Loyola’s Alison Cofrancesco, the Take Back the Night coordinator and university staff counselor. "It’s an empowering feeling. It feels good to just get people together for this cause and to know that we are working towards something."

Loyola’s faculty and staff are also joining in on the Take Back the Night effort by donating $5 to wear denim and teal—the color of sexual violence awareness. Raffle tickets will be sold in Loyola’s Danna Student Center for a drawing held Thursday, Oct. 30. Prizes include donations from companies such as New Orleans Ballet Association, Gray Line Tours, Shine Day Spa, New Orleans School of Cooking, House of Blues, Zephyrs, French Market, Nola Flora and Audubon Nature Institute.

All money raised through both fundraisers will go to three local charities, including Metropolitan Center for Women, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and the Family Justice Center.

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