“Art is activism.” — Angie Thomas
Many years ago during my first Take Back the Night rally I was handed a balloon and a few colourful markers. It was the tiniest of art projects: To write a few words about why I was marching in the annual event organized by SACHA. I can’t remember exactly what I wrote, but it was something about wanting to feel safe — Safe enough to walk home alone from Augusta Street or James Street North. Safe enough to cut down alleys in daylight. Safe enough to not hold a key between my fingers or look behind me every ten steps when I walked through a park in my own neighbourhood.
Art, and the creation of art as a communal activity, is always an important element at Take Back the Night, “a powerful opportunity for survivors and their supporters to actively build connections, assertively reclaim our right to safety, and courageously stand up against violence.” It felt especially important this year after SACHA made the difficult decision to not include a march at this year’s event.
Take Back the Night centers the experiences of women and gender non-binary folks. This year’s theme was Joyful Revolution Always. Among this year’s artistic interventions was button making, screen printing (featuring this year’s Take Back the Night illustration created by Hana Shafi), colouring (It’s a family-friendly event!), spoken word, and hand-made signage.