21st of February represented a powerful day. Women, men, families, friends and communities gathered and marched for their own safety and for safer streets. Reclaim the Night is a march that is fighting against sexual and verbal harassment on streets, most often women being the ones targeted by this behaviour. By marching and reclaiming our streets, the marchers demonstrated that when people come together, there is no room for crime. When we are together, we are stronger and they are weaker. The echo of the chants were so impactful that pedestrians and other citizens joined our efforts and contributed to calls for a better common space for all.
“Who’s streets? Our streets!” and “Women unite! Reclaim the night!” are among the chants that echoed the streets and gave the people in the march a sense of belonging, safety and power.
This is what we, as Diversity and Inclusion Ambassadors, are trying to do. Our main scope is to remind students, and the general public, that the power is within ourselves, we just need to find it. We are trying to offer safe spaces, to empower students to speak up and stand up to harassment and aggressions, however small they may be, as well as contribute to the building of a sense of belonging in our community. Our participation to the Reclaim the Night march has empowered us as well as reminding us about the important cause that we are trying to work for. We have tried to empower the students, and the students have empowered us. This directly demonstrates how much power we can have when we gather for a common cause as well as how much we can accomplish.
Prior to the march, on February 13th, we organised a banner making session, open to the public. We were delighted and amazed by the amount of passion and dedication that was put into these banners. They have certainly represented our thoughts and successfully portrayed the message we were trying to convey. We would like to thank everyone that came to the session, we had lots of fun creating the banners!
The Coordinators, Lead Ambassadors and the Volunteers within the Diversity and Inclusion Team would like to thank the Students’ Union for organising this powerful event, and to all people that have participated in the march. This night has truly had a very significant impact to us all, and we hope that each year this will have a greater influence towards the public feeling safer on the streets of our amazing city, Manchester.