broken walls and narratives

A not so revolutionary blog about feminism, socialism, activism, travel, nature, life, etc.

Radical Cheerleading Chronicles: Take Back the Night

Radical Cheerleading Chronicles: Take Back the Night



This fall was the re-launch of the Rah Rah Revolutionaries, a radical cheerleading group that I started in 2010.  To be sure, it has been a very modest beginning.  However, I am happy that a few people are interested.  Really, it is remarkable that I can find any other human being in the world who wants to dress up like a cheerleader and protest things with me.  This is a brief chronicle of what we have been up to.

Our very first event was Take back the Night, which was held in early October at UM-Duluth.  Take back the Night is an international event against sexual violence/violence, which began in the 1970s with protests against pornography and violence against women.  While I don’t have an official count of how many people attended last year, it seems that there were four times the people who attended this year.  The march went on for many blocks and included a large number of students from CSS.  It was the largest march that I have attended in Duluth for many years.  I can not be certain why there was such an increase of CSS students, but perhaps the high profile rape that occurred to a CSS student who was studying abroad in Ireland was a catalyst for the college to become involved.  Since I was not an organizer of the event, I can only speculate.


I did not have much vision of what our participation in Take Back the Night would actually entail.  I figured I would bring my collection of pompoms, some signs, make up some chants, and some extra costumes.  With a garbage bag full of gear, I met up with Alexa and Lucas, the only two members of our group to show up.  Well, there was three of us.  That was a start.  Since we didn’t have a table,  I suggested that we could go out into the hallway and welcome people with some cheers.  I asked the volunteers at the registration table if they minded if we cheered across from them.  They seemed enthusiastic about our impromptu welcoming committee.  So, we stood there….together…holding signs and doing the cheers I had prepared.  Some of the cheers were found online.  Others I made myself.  I will post them so that other cheerleader groups may use them in the future.


We generally had a good response to the cheers.  People seemed curious about what we were doing.  A news station wanted to interview us.  We even had a few people join us.  In all, three additional people joined us for some pre-march chanting.  Since it was in the hallway, it wasn’t particularly disruptive to the Take back the Night resource fair with was happening nearby.  Once the speakers began, we stopped the cheers and joined the event.  This was followed by a march.  We did not use any of our own cheers during the march, as the organizers had their own chant.  However, we did walk together and tried to add some energy to the front of the march by shaking our pompoms and shouting the chants.  The march was pretty amazing since it included hundreds of people.  There were community members as well as a large contingent of male athletes.


Although it was a modest beginning for our radical cheerleader group, I am proud of our work.  I think we added a little color and energy to the event.  Take back the Night is a serious event.  There is a lot of painful testimonies and raw poetry.  At the same time, there is an atmosphere of power and celebration.  It is an event where those painful experiences are turned into unity and determination for social change.  I think that the cheerleaders added to the celebratory aspects of trying to overcome sexual/intimate violence in society.  As a whole, I draw a positive balance sheet.  I think that next year I would like to see more cheerleaders there.  I would also like to perhaps work with the organizers so that they can direct us to what kind of role they would like us to have (as I would not want to step on anyone’s toes by accident).  Finally, it would be useful to have our own table at the resource fair (though this would take away from our ability to stand outside the hall and cheer).   With that said, it is a start.  Every start is a little rough, but I am very thankful to the small core of cheerleaders who have helped make this project a reality.

Take back the Night Cheers:


Give me an N: N!

Give me an O: O!

When I say no

You’ve got to go!

Nei, Nein, Nyet, Tidak

When I say no

You step back

Ei, Nee, An-iyo,

When I say no

It’s time to go!

Feminists Unite

Take back the night!


Stop violence, stop rape


If there’s no consent, it’s a crime!

Say it once,

Say it again,

Stop violent women and men.

Consent, consent, you gotta have consent

If she’s been drinking

Don’t be thinking

You’ve got consent

Consent, you gotta have consent!

If she says no,

You gotta go,

Consent, consent, you gotta have consent!

If she says nothing,

Don’t try something!

Consent, consent, you gotta have consent!

We have the right

To go out at night!

That’s we are here,

We won’t live in fear!

We won’t stand silence

When there is violence

We won’t stand still

When some will kill

We won’t look away

Until abusers pay!

Hey, hey you

If she says rape

It must be true

Hey, hey you

If he says rape

Believe him too!

Whatever we wear

Wherever we go

Yes means yes

And No means No!

No means no,

It doesn’t mean maybe

Do not touch me

I’m not your baby

The night is for the moon and stars

Not tears, bruises, and unseen scars

The night is for women and girls

To stand together and change our world

Bases, home, campus, dorm,

Everywhere assault is the norm

Pastor, spouse, coach, dad

It makes me angry

It makes me mad

Protests, classes, shelters, strikes

That is how we’ll win this fight.

We’re going to fight

For our right

To walk the streets

And Take Back the Night!

Rise up!

Rise up!

Rise up, up, up, up

Tell me why,

In this day and age,

Are women raped and underpaid

For all the women, who live in fear

We come together,

It’s why we’re here.

For all the women, who live in shame,

We fight for you,

We’re all the same!

We’re the feminists,

And we couldn’t be prouder

If you can’t hear us,

We’ll shout a little louder!

Hey hey, ho ho,

Patriarchy has got to go!


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