Take a Stand event allows students to call out problematic topics

T-shirts labeled “I won’t stand for ____” lay out across a long table in the atrium of the Lincoln Park Student Center.

Students grab one to take to a circular table covered in markers to fill in the blank on the shirt. Mass incarceration, ableism, frat culture, human trafficking and sexual violence were some of the phrases written on the students’ shirts.

The Take a Stand event on April 5 in the DePaul student center drew in students, faculty and even Amazon Prime workers to call out problematic issues they will not stand for.

DePaul Activities Board partnered with Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment (PAVE) to host the event on Teal Tuesday, a day where people wear teal ribbons to show support towards sexual assault survivors.

Brianna Catalinotto, vice president of marketing for the DePaul Activities Board, said sexual assault and awareness month gave the organization an opportunity to allow students to make their voices heard in regards to sexual violence and other topics.

“Even though we all know [sexual assault] happens, I think doing an event where students can share their voice on opinions regarding sexual assault or just regarding anything to do with mass incarceration, like we’ve seen today, where they’re allowed to voice their opinions, is really important,” Catalinotto said.

Senior Tiara Brown wrote insensitivity on her shirt. Brown recently experienced the death of her aunt, who graduated from DePaul. She said following  her aunt’s death, many of the people she relied on turned away from her when she needed comfort and guidance the most.

“These are simple things you can do with one click,” Brown said. “It’s the thought that counts but when you don’t even put the thought into trying to support somebody or being sensitive to somebody’s situation, when people are that selfish, it kind of hurts. And it makes an already difficult time that much harder.”

Freshman Jacqueline Flood wrote sexual assault, human trafficking, violence, abuse and gaslighting on her shirt.

“I wrote words that are considered to be taboo,” Flood said. “I think they should be openly talked about and openly stated for what they are and spoken against.”

Catalinotto said the event, though it was not completely centered around sexual assault, had a lot of the topic incorporated in it through its partnership with PAVE.

“A lot of the elements here is regarding [sexual assault] because today is Teal Tuesday,” Catalinotto said. “But also having students share their voices in different ways allows them to really feel connected to the community at DePaul and realize that their voice can be heard.”

Flood said the event was a great opportunity for the DePaul community to come together and talk about topics that are problematic.

“I appreciate that it’s out in the open,” Flood said. “People are able to come [to the Student Center] and, whether it be anonymous or not, talk about these topics and be able to find solace in each other.”

Brown said having a community at DePaul is important, especially one that can talk about problematic issues.

“Right now, everybody’s going through something,” Brown said. “We’re already in this pandemic but you don’t know what people had to deal with through this pandemic that had nothing to do with Covid. It’s a lot of things that are going on and at this point I think people just need a way to talk about it.”

Aside from building community, Brown said the event was impactful because it made students ask themselves what they stand for and don’t stand for.

“When you’re going through this college experience you find that you end up changing,” Brown said. “You start seeing things a little bit differently, sometimes you see things for what they are and because you’re older you can make a decision on whether you want to stand for it or not. But the important thing is that you have to decide what you’re going to stand for or what you’re not going to stand for, because if you don’t stand for something you’re going to fall for everything.”