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Civil Rights Activist DeRay Mckesson to Speak at Take Back the Night Event May 29

May 23, 2018 

SAN LUIS OBISPO — DeRay Mckesson, a civil rights activist focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice, will be the keynote speaker at Cal Poly’s annual Take Back the Night event at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, in the University Union Plaza.

Take Back the Night is an international event with the mission of ending sexual violence. Cal Poly’s event, organized by the university’s Safer office, will focus on the intersections of race and gender-based violence. It will consist of speakers, an open microphone, march on campus, a campus and community programs resource fair, and a candlelight vigil.

“The time is now to intentionally unite on the topics of ending racism and sexism and all forms of violence that affect our marginalized communities, said Christina Kaviani, director of Safer.

Additional speakers at the event will include San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon and representatives from the Women’s March and from the office of state Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning.

“Over the past month, the students, staff and faculty at Cal Poly have been engaging in important conversations about equity,” said Steve Ross, coordinator of Cal Poly’s Black Academic Excellence Center. “Take Back the Night is another opportunity to continue engaging, and DeRay will help in thinking about which questions we should keep asking.” 

The event is free and open to the public. 

About Safer

Safer is Cal Poly’s confidential advocacy, education and support resource for addressing sexual assault, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. The program is a resource for all students, faculty and staff, and aims to create an inclusive space for all that are affected by gender-based violence, regardless of race, color, religious or spiritual beliefs, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status or documentation status. For more information, visit

About DeRay Mckesson

As a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement and a co-founder of, DeRay Mckesson works to connect individuals and provides citizens and policymakers with common-sense policies to ensure equity. He is the host of the critically acclaimed Pod Save The People, a weekly podcast designed to create conversation about the most important issues of the week. Mckesson was named one of the World's Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine in 2015 and as one of the 30 Most Influential People on The Internet by Time Magazine in 2016.

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