Elgin's Long Red Line focuses on violence against women

 
 
Updated 1/7/2019 6:12 PM
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  • Participants hold up red scarves during The Long Red Line event last year at Elgin Community College supporting the One Billion Rising global movement aimed at raising awareness about and resistance to rape culture, sexual assault and harassment.

      Participants hold up red scarves during The Long Red Line event last year at Elgin Community College supporting the One Billion Rising global movement aimed at raising awareness about and resistance to rape culture, sexual assault and harassment. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer/2018

Elgin-area residents can join a national dialogue about violence against women during the city's annual The Long Red Line observance later this month and in February.

The event is in support of the One Billion Rising global movement of women and their allies to end rape, violence, interpersonal domination and oppression against women. This year's theme is "Rise. Empower. Unite."

Elgin's seventh The Long Red Line will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 14 at Elgin Community College, Building B Jobe Lounge, 1700 Spartan Drive.

A juried art exhibit featuring artwork by survivors of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence is part of the event. It will run from Jan. 14 through Feb. 28 in the Library Hallway Gallery of Building C at ECC. A grand opening reception will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 29 in the Spartan Auditorium, Building G.

Featured speakers at the reception are Sarah Lyons of UNITE HERE Local 1 and Roushaunda Williams, a leader in that union's "Hands Off Pants On" campaign and a hotel worker leader.

The union represents more than 15,000 hospitality workers -- mostly women, people of color, and immigrants -- in Chicago, the surrounding suburbs and Northwest Indiana. They work in hotels, Chicago's major airports, restaurants, school cafeterias, stadiums, convention centers, such as McCormick Place and Navy Pier, and casinos.

In 2016, the union launched the "Hands Off Pants On" campaign to fight sexual harassment in the hospitality industry, garnering international recognition. It led to the passing of a citywide ordinance to protect Chicago hotel workers from sexual harassment and assault in October 2017.

That ordinance went into effect last summer, equipping every Chicago hotel housekeeper with a panic button for protection.

"We are excited to feature these speakers who are helping to make better lives for women in Chicago. Their influence is spreading to other cities and other industries," said Mary Shesgreen, chairwoman of Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice and organizer of The Long Red Line. "We now see the #MeToo movement having an impact, not just for Hollywood stars and corporate leaders, but for women at every social and economic level."

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