CLARION, Pa.- Though widely recognized as the month in which Halloween is celebrated, President of Women United Tyshonia Yellock acknowledges October also as breast cancer and domestic violence awareness month.
The week of Oct. 10 to 15 is Pink and Purple week sponsored by Clarion University’s Women United (WU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). These organizations hosted a variety of events on campus to promote awareness through fun activities. Pink is the representative color of breast cancer, and purple for domestic violence.
WU hopes to build up and strengthen women by specifically targeting issues that affect this gender most directly. NAACP targets issues affecting African Americans and other racial minorities. Two of these issues are criminal justice and health, both are emphasized throughout Pink and Purple week. By promoting awareness in these issues, NAACP seeks equitable treatment of minorities receiving cancer treatments and justice for those who are victims of domestic violence.
Pink and Purple week kicked off with a bake sale on the upper level of the Gemmell Student complex. Cupcakes, fried Oreos, chocolate covered pretzels and other pink-iced sweets were sold to raise money for domestic violence awareness and breast cancer research. There was a sign-up sheet where students could choose a team (pink or purple) to join for Flag Football Tournament on Friday, Oct. 14 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
The week’s second event was “Bras 4 a Cause” in Gemmell 162 at 8 p.m. Oct. 12. At this event, participants decorated bras and T-shirts. Breast cancer survivors were invited to share their stories. Open communication within the safe environment of WU’s programming is a large part of the organization’s work.
Kayla Staine, Public Relations chair of the club, believes strongly in facilitating communication between lay people and survivors of domestic violence and breast cancer.
“Not everyone has a voice; discussion brings about change,” she said. “Awareness brings change. If we don’t talk about it, it just falls by the wayside. If we want anything from our organization, it’s to bring about change through healthy discussion.”
Today, Oct. 13, will see a male versus female dodgeball tournament at 6 p.m. in the Recreation Center. After dodgeball, there will be a celebratory balloon release at the campus apple. Yellock hopes that beyond all the lightheartedness of these events, participants will grow in awareness of the issues being highlighted.
She said, “People might come just to have fun, but the reason behind everything, I think, is important.”
Other clubs on campus are also committed to making sure October is known as breast cancer awareness month. Zeta Tau Alpha is promoting “breast Cancer education and awareness” through their “Big Man on Campus” competition in Hart Chapel at 6 p.m. Oct. 15. Reading for the Cure’s reading and raffle will benefit Susan G. Komen Foundation cancer research.
Often celebrated for the fun associated with the celebration of Halloween, WU and NAACP do not want Clarion University to forget for what else October is dedicated. Breast cancer and domestic violence are not to be celebrated, but WU, NAACP and other organizations hope to promote awareness that can lead to the celebration that comes out of recovery.