Celebrities, activists, and survivors demand apologies from schools for mishandling campus sexual assault
Los Angeles, CA, November 29, 2016 — Prominent survivor-activists Kamilah Willingham and Wagatwe Wanjuki have been demanding apologies from colleges and universities for failing to properly address campus sexual assault since August, when they launched their #JustSaySorry campaign. For several weeks, Wagatwe and Kamilah put their own alma maters (Tufts and Harvard, respectively) in the spotlight by calling for apologies in livestreamed videos of them burning items including school sweatshirts and sweatpants, an admission letter, and a student conduct code. Despite these repeated demands and international press coverage, not a single school has responded with an apology.
But they’re not giving up. Today, #JustSaySorry organizers Kamilah and Wagatwe reiterate their demands in a powerful short video — and they’ve got backup: academy-award nominated actress Abigail Breslin and celebrity singer and artivist Maya Jupiter join Kamilah, Wagatwe, and a group of inspiring activists and survivors in making a simple yet powerful statement:
In the wake of the “red zone” on college campuses (the time from the beginning of the academic year until about Thanksgiving break when a disproportionate number of campus sexual assaults take place) and with a president-elect whose looming administration poses a threat to the already-bleak enforcement of students’ Title IX civil rights, it is now more important than ever to hold individual institutions accountable and to restore trust within campus communities. The problems that divide college campuses cannot be solved overnight, but an apology from school presidents for the roles their institutions have played in contributing to the trauma of many sexual assault survivors is long overdue and would be a compelling place to start.
The campaign’s latest video, produced with a grant from the Awesome Foundation and directed by Elisabeth Aultman, producer of the F*CK YES consent education web series, will be accompanied by several longer videos of the featured survivors and activists talking about why they think schools should #JustSaySorry> Those videos will be posted on the campaign’s website and Facebook page over the next couple weeks.
Asking supporters and allies to share the video with their social networks and with their schools via email and social media, the organizers intend to force college and university administrators to sit with these demands for institutional accountability over the winter holidays and think about how they can do better by survivors in their campus communities — and to start drafting their open apologies to every student and survivor who’s been let down by their school’s response to campus gender-based violence.
Visit Get Involved: Take Action Now for more ways to support the #JustSaySorry campaign and help spread the message.
Contact Kamilah Willingham at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or for more information.
VIDEO CREDITS: Directed by Elisabeth Aultman / Videography by Ed Alva / Edited by Austin Anderson
Featuring: Abigail Breslin / anonymous campus survivor / Alexa Schwartz / Chrysanthe Oltmann / Elisabeth Aultman / Genevieve Berrick / Kamilah Willingham / Maya Jupiter / Normandie Wilson / Rhiannon McGavin / Sari Rachel Forshner / Wagatwe Wanjuki