York College kicks off month of sexual assault awareness

Lindsay Dowdy, left, is quickly hugged by her neighbor Emily Pupo, as prompted, during an interactive performance by all-female improv troupe, "No Artificial Sweeteners," during a Take Back the Night event held in Waldner Performing Arts Center at York College of Pennsylvania in Spring Garden Township, Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The event is one of many activities being held during York College's Week of Action, April 9-13, in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Dawn J. Sagert photo

York College students will be chalking the sidewalks of Beaver Street on Tuesday with shades of teal — the official color of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

It's just one event in a month of programming to celebrate the 18th anniversary of national month in April. Several of the programs are open to the public — including an interactive art project, victims' rights march, keynote speaker and community kickoff.

"It’s impossible to prevent an issue no one knows about, and it’s difficult to make people aware of a problem without providing a solution," according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center website.

To remove barriers to developing campaigns and resources, SAAM coordinates a national campaign to allow state coalitions, college campuses or other community organizations to share information.

More:Regardless of DeVos' plan, York College won't budge on sexual assault policies

April events: This month, the college will participate in several public events to promote sexual assault awareness.

The first will be UNITY, an interactive public art project which focuses on unity rather than differences,at 11 a.m. Monday, April 1, on the campus.

Now in 48 states and 32 countries, the project, which was created just three years ago, its website states, has become a global movement.

Participants are able to see what they have in common with others by tying yarn to posts that reflect their identities — with statements such as "I'm a parent;" "I speak English as a second language;" "I identify as LGBTQ" — and seeing how that yarn intertwines.

It was created in response to the divisiveness and negative rhetoric in American politics, the release states, and is returning from last year's sexual assault awareness week.

More:York College plans 'Week of Action' for sexual assault awareness

Another campus tradition, "Take Back the Night," will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Wolf Gymnasium in the Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center.

Students and community members will hear from Kristen Houser, chief public affairs officer for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, as well as a performance from the college's a capella group Eharmonix and a glowstick vigil to honor those who have experienced sexual violence, the release states.

An official community kickoff of the month's events will be held at 5 p.m Friday, April 5, at Marketview Arts, 37 W. Philadelphia St. It is hosted by the college, several local advocacy organizations and the York County District Attorney's Office.

The 33rd annual Crime Victims’ Rights March and Candlelight Vigil will take place in downtown York at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9.

Beginning at the Colonial Courthouse on the corner of West Market and Pershing streets, the march will then move along West Market Street to Trinity United Church of Christ, and it will include speakers, music and a survivor roll call and candle lighting.