Photo and Story by Sydney Cohn
“Real strong women” is a mantra that inspires philanthropy projects within the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, and on Oct. 9th, the MTSU chapter exhibited exactly that by holding the “Light the Night” event, a vigil for victims of domestic violence.
Justice Ross, the vice president of philanthropy, explained, “Last year, the former VP and I sat down and decided that we wanted to do something different. Since then, we have been educating the public about domestic violence because many do not know what it entails. We also wanted people to understand how many lives are affected by it.”
At 7:15 p.m., many members of Alpha Chi Omega gathered in the grassy field in front of the Student Union. As individuals gathered in a circle, Ross and others handed out candles. As one candle was lit, another followed until a glowing ring of peace emerged. Ross began the ceremony by informing others that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A young woman then stood in the middle of the circle and shared her experiences.
Ross confessed, “I have a personal connection to domestic violence, and I wanted to participate in something that I am passionate about.”
As stories drew to a close, two young women bravely sang “Let It Be” by the Beatles for all to hear. The beautiful a capella tone sang, “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” Those famous words, accompanied by glowing candles, created an angelic environment. Ross then directed everyone in a one minute moment of silence to honor those who have lost their lives.
Candles began to flicker out, and the circle dispersed. As individuals walked away, they took with them a newfound perception. The circle of light reminds the community that there is support in the loneliest of struggles.
Domestic violence, including dating violence, has always had a foothold on MTSU’s campus. Recent data shows, however, that Domestic violence has gone down 68 percent on MTSU’s campus since the 2016-2017 school year, from 19 reported cases to only six in 2017-2018.
Maybe events like these are making an impact on MTSU’s community.
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