Sexual abuse survivors and their supporters are hoping a new tree planted on the Michigan State University campus will signal that a new era is taking root.
At midday on Tuesday, the carillon bells of the historic Beaumont Tower rang out to honor the survivors.
Later, a cadre of survivors, MSU faculty members and others who came to denounce sexual violence took turns speaking. Some shared deeply personal poems reflecting their own experience.
Others like MSU trustee Brian Mosallam praised the survivors and urged them to continue their cause.
“I ask that all of the courageous survivors continue to hold MSU accountable, to continue to push for all that is right, and to understand this: that you do have trustees that will partner with you, alongside of you,” Mosallam said.
Then, an American Beech tree was planted near the MSU Museum as a living monument to the survivors.
The event coincided with the opening of a year-long exhibit at the museum, which features a collection of teal ribbons that once adorned dozens of trees on campus.