The Mercyhurst North East community is gathering for the second year to raise awareness about sexual assault in the Teal Tuesday/Take Back the Night observance this April. The festivities culminate with an evening march from campus to downtown North East on Tuesday, April 29.
Take Back the Night, started in 2013 by MNE student Darcie Kuchcinski and English instructor Diane Onorato, will raise money for the Crime Victim Center of Erie County. Students, faculty and staff can participate in T-shirt and candy bar sales, a basket auction, and a cupcake sale with treats donated by the Hospitality Management – Culinary Arts Department.
On Tuesday, April 29, members of the Mercyhurst North East community will gather at 6:30 p.m. in the Ridge Library to prepare for the march and sign a “no sexual violence” pledge card. They will commence the walk, carrying signs and balloons, to Gibson Park in downtown North East at 7 p.m. Once at Gibson Park, the group will participate in a commemorative penny toss into the fountain with a wish, hope or prayer for victims and survivors of sexual assault. The walkers will make their way back to campus, gathering outside St. Mary’s Chapel for a balloon release to symbolize freedom and courage.
Teal Tuesday will conclude with a 7:30 p.m. candlelight vigil in the chapel, followed by an ice cream social in the student union.
Kuchcinski said she was moved to start the event upon hearing a striking statistic that one in three women, regardless of age, will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. “My goal is to raise awareness and educate the public of this evil crime,” she said, “and change that statistic from 1 in 3 women to no women being sexually assaulted.”
Teal Tuesday is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Rachel Pacholke, assistant student life director, at 814-725-7061.
Photo: Paula Harrison and Amy Correa participate in the inaugural "Take Back the Night" march at Mercyhurst North East in 2013.