Academy of the Canyons students lead on addressing sexual assaultSebastian Cazares April 29, 2019 0 COMMENTS
The second annual “Wake Up, Stand Up” event was held on Saturday, April 20 at the College of the Canyons Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, with over double the number of community members from 2018 attending the student-led sexual assault and harassment seminar.
Founded and organized by Academy of the Canyons Middle College High School students, Wake Up Stand Up featured panels, booths, workshops and resources to help attendees discuss and address the issues of sexual assault and harassment. The panels featured College of the Canyons professors from the psychology, sociology and communications departments, as well as professionals from local nonprofit organizations that work with survivors of sexual assault, including Child & Family Center and StrengthUnited.
“After the 45th presidential election, I was thrown in the thrashing sea of political polarity,” Joelle Min, a junior at the middle college high school and founder of the seminar said. “Wake Up, Stand Up allowed me to do something more than a retweet. It’s allowed me to take that kind of mindset into actual action.”
Wale Up, Stand Up also featured an art show curated by Academy of the Canyons student Tiana Perez. The “Speak Up”, which “promotes the voices of survivors and allies that support them through different forms of art.”
According to the students that organized the event, they put together the seminar to centralize education and awareness for students on sexual harassment, workshops and panels covered a variety of issues, such as stories from survivors, victim blaming, consent education, healthy relationship building, student resources, supporting survivors, sexism in the media and men being impacted by assault.
“Before AOC and Wake Up, Stand Up, I had no idea how big of a deal the issue of sexual harassment was,” Academy of the Canyons student and event organizer Carmelle Forbes said. “This event is engaging young minds into what the problem of sexual harassment is.”
Wake Up, Stand Up concluded with a speech and a question-and-answer segment from Assemblywoman Christy Smith. She discussed her recently introduced legislation, Assembly Bill 543, which increases student accessibility to sexual harassment policies in educational institutions.
A student attending the event asked Smith why legislation tackling sexual harassment has been ignored for so many years and now is only recently gaining traction.
“Honest answer?” Smith said. “Your generation.”
Sebastian Cazares is a lifelong Santa Clarita resident and student at College of the Canyons. He was heavily involved in Speech, Model UN, Rotary Club and journalism during his high school years. Sebastian is deeply interested in local politics and excited to report on the issues that impact his community.