You’ve likely already heard about Emma Sulkowicz, the brave Columbia student who has committed to carrying her dorm mattress with her around campus for as long as her rapist continues to attend the school as a powerful piece of art and activism. You may also have read about students at Columbia coming together to help Sulkowicz carry her mattress throughout her day. “For the record, the best arrangement is four people carrying the mattress, because they each take a corner… Then it’s really light,” Sulkowicz told New York Magazine.
Today, you have an opportunity to be one of the people helping carry the weight, for Emma Sulkowicz and the thousands of other survivors of campus sexual assault by participating in the Carry That Weight National Day of Action.
Campuses across the country are hosting events to “tangibly express their commitment to lift the burden of sexual violence from the shoulders of survivors;” you can find an event local to you on the Carry That Weight website. Participants can carry mattresses or pillows to demonstrate solidarity with survivors.
Too often survivors of sexual and domestic violence struggle with feelings of isolation, invisibility, and stigmatization. By carrying a mattress or pillow around for a day, you will be showing visible support for survivors in your community and helping to challenge a culture that silences survivors and hides the issue of sexual and domestic violence. Ending sexual violence in college communities will take work on many fronts—survivor support, administrative and legislative progress, community and cultural change—and your involvement on the national day will help strengthen and continue these efforts.
If you can’t attend an event, you can still donate — funds are split between No Red Tape, Carrying The Weight Together, Hollaback, and Rhize — or look into volunteering. You can also follow coverage of the events nationwide and the public conversation surrounding the events with the Twitter hashtag #carrythatweight.