Students come and go from the Dianne G. Van Hook University Center at College of the Canyons. Cory Rubin/ The Signal

AOC students organize 2nd seminar on sexual assault, harassment

For the second year in a row, Joelle Min and a handful of her Academy of the Canyons classmates are working alongside College of the Canyons in order to host “Wake Up, Stand Up,” an annual sexual harassment and assault prevention seminar geared toward students.

“It’s an important topic that I feel doesn’t really get talked about in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Min, an AOC 11th grader and lead organizer of the April 20 event. “It feels like there’s always been white picket fences around what’s talked about in Santa Clarita.”

Min said while she and her fellow classmates are young, they believe it’s important to hold the event once again because of the conversation it spurred last year not only about sexual violence on college campuses, but also how sexual harassment can be demonstrated in the workplace.

“There’s no centralized education system about this topic in Santa Clarita,” said Min. “And this helps spread awareness — especially after the #MeToo movement — about the influx of sexual violence in our country and world.”

This year’s event is scheduled to feature a panel of professionals answering questions, a choice of workshops and informational booths to visit, and a community art gallery showcasing work done by students, according to event organizers.

Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, is also scheduled to attend as a special guest and will speak to those in attendance about her upcoming legislation regarding sexual harassment and assault prevention.

“Both men and women are invited and there’s going to be a workshop addressing (this issue) from the male perspective,” said Min. “With the free workshops, free parking and free bunch, the seminar will have the most universal representation that we can find.”

The event is open to the public and set to be held 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. April 20 at the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center on the Valencia campus. All ages are welcome, but according to Min, the event is geared toward junior high and high schoolers.

“Last year was a small event, but extremely impactful, and everyone left with something new that they had learned,” said Min. “Students should be learning about sexual harassment and assault permission before they continue on in their education or into different career pathways.”

To RSVP or learn more about the event, visit the official “Wake Up, Stand Up” page at www.wakeupstandup.site.

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