ECC to host 'The Long Red Line' event, art exhibit Feb. 14
On Thursday, Feb. 14, Elgin Community College will host "The Long Red Line," a community effort to support One Billion Rising, a global movement to end rape, violence and oppression against women.
The annual event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the Building B Jobe Lounge, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin. Admission is free and open to the public.
Now in its seventh year, "The Long Red Line" is a visual demonstration of solidarity where community members are invited to bring a red scarf or piece of fabric that will be held together by participants -- forming one long red line.
People have been bringing scarlet scarves to "The Long Red Line" demonstration since fall 2013.
Vicki Rae Harder-Thorne, "The Long Red Line" committee chair, event speaker and survivor, brought the idea to the Elgin committee with the notion that scarves tend to represent self-restriction and silence but when held together can symbolize freedom and community members' connection to one another.
The color red was chosen because of its association with blood, vitality, passion, courage, sexuality and aggression.
"I've personally found that publicly sharing my story of survival has been powerful in breaking the chain of shame and guilt; helping recover dignity, courage and value as a human being, and giving hope to others who may still suffer in silence," Harder-Thorne said.
More than 100 people attended last year's event.
In addition to the forming of the long red line, this year's event will feature guest speakers: Elgin Police Chief Ana Lalley; state Rep. Anna Moeller; Rosamaria Martinez, Elgin council member; Traci O'Neal Ellis, executive director of human resources at the Illinois Math and Science Academy and activist; Deanna Hynes, sexual assault prevention educator at the Community Crisis Center in Elgin; and more.
"The annual Long Red Line event is a day of action and commitment to stop violence against women and girls -- the opportunity to turn pain into power. It is our (the community's) responsibility and honor to unite in advocacy, prevention and justice, and to empower survivors through a supportive culture of care and healing," said Megan Highland, ECC Student Life coordinator and Long Red Line committee member.
To further raise awareness of the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault, a juried art exhibit was curated this year with the current theme: "Rise. Empower. Unite."
The Long Red Line committee envisioned the art exhibit as an opportunity to give a voice to survivors who may struggle to speak of their truth using words.
Twenty-four pieces of chosen artwork will be displayed through Feb. 28 in the Renner Library Hallway Gallery in Building C. It can be viewed during regular campus hours.
Individuals who attend the Feb. 14 Long Red Line event are encouraged to wear a red scarf to participate in the demonstration or red clothing in solidarity.
Donations of red scarves or other similar pieces of fabric are being sought for this year's event.
Scarves can be dropped off or mailed to ECC's Student Life Office, Building B, Room B173, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin.
Monetary donations are appreciated and organization sponsorships are available.
The Long Red Line is sponsored by the ECC Student Life Office, the Community Crisis Center, Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice, Coalition of Elgin Religious Leaders, Elgin YWCA, American Association of University Women, Open Door Health Center of Illinois, Art4Change, Women on the Brink, Elgin Area League of Women Voters, and Kane County National Organization for Women.
For more information about the event, contact Megan Highland, ECC Student Life Coordinator, at (847) 214-7659 or firstname.lastname@example.org.