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Take Back The Night march is cancelled

Hamilton’s Take Back The Night march has been cancelled. The march takes place annually for survivors of sexual violence.  It has been running in Hamilton for 38 years.

Since 1981, Take Back The Night has been organized by the Sexual Assault Centre Hamilton Area (SACHA) and marches through the streets of downtown Hamilton.

The organizers outlined reasons for deciding not to host the march in a blog post last Thursday. Reasons included logistics related to the route, a lack of funding, and community members expressing concerns regarding safety in the presence of police.

Event coordinator Danielle Boissoneau said that it was one of the most difficult decisions ever made by committee. 

During a meeting in August with city staff and police, Boissoneau said they were informed that they would not be able to march in all four lanes of the route along Main Street. Instead, they would be required to march in a single lane, on the sidewalk, or a different route altogether.

Multiple lanes would be required to accommodate the number of people participating in the March. The new plans would have people departing from the back of city hall and would require an additional two paid police officers. 

Boissoneau said that marching in a single lane wouldn’t be an option because of feedback from some of last year’s participants saying they felt pushback from the police officers involved.

An alternate route that saw the march take place along a series of smaller streets wasn’t an option for organizers either. 

The changes to the route would have made the march more invisible than previous years, said Boissoneau, where it started along Main Street and moved down John, King, and Hess streets.

However, as of right now, the march is the only part of the event that is cancelled. The event will still take place on September 19 with featured musical and spoken word performances, screen printing, film screening, and other community events.

Lead photo courtesy of @wheresmonti.

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