Groups help ‘take back night’

Jessica Smith

An array of talent and artistic expression brought a crowd of more than 100 to its feet to celebrate the lives of sexual assault survivors Friday night.

Western students and Bowling Green residents filled the Capitol Arts Center downtown in honor of Kentucky’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Hope Harbor, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of sex crimes, held the event called ‘Take Back the Night: A Celebration’ to give strength and offer encouragement to sexual assault victims.

Misty Johnson, a member of the Hope Harbor planning committee, hosted the event.

“‘Take Back the Night’ is about gaining the courage to overcome the event and to remember that joy is still very possible in one’s life,” Johnson told the crowd.

Dressed in matching pink shirts, blue jeans and black shoes, members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority captivated the crowd with “Our Journey Begins,” an a cappella song arrangement accompanied with dancing, stomping and clapping.

Members of Western’s Latin American Student Association performed a salsa-style dance to the song “La Quiero a Morir” that brought cheering and whistling out of the crowd.

With a bright smile and her head held high, Bowling Green resident Leah Maddox offered an artistic approach by reading the poems “Phenomenal Woman” and “Still I Rise” with a proud attitude.

The crowd roared with whistles and screams as she recited the poems.

“The fellows stand or fall down on their knees,” Maddox read. “Then they swarm around me, a hive of honey bees … I say, it’s the fire in my eyes, and the flash of my teeth, the swing in my waist, and the joy in my feet.”

Bowling Green resident Lindsey Lea put a country twist in the show by singing “Something Worth Leaving Behind” and “This One’s for the Girls.”

“I enjoy it because I’m offering encouragement to others and it’s a lot of fun,” Lea said.

Other performers included the Warren East High School Raiderettes, Project S.T.E.P.P.A.Z., Lost River and The Gospel of Peace.

Reach Jessica Smith at [email protected]