GOAL IN SIGHT: Campaign to fund rape kit tests hopes to wrap up this month

AA490 Challenge to host Jeans for Justice, other events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

DETROIT - An ambitious fundraising campaign that brought together tens of thousands of women in metro Detroit to fund rape investigations is near a successful conclusion.

Organizers of the African American 490 Challenge of Enough SAID, a campaign to raise $657,090 for rape kit processing, say they hope a Jeans for Justice show April 26 will be its final event. The group has raised $450,000 so far in support of efforts started by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, the Detroit Crime Commission and the Michigan Women’s Foundation to address a backlog of 11,341 untested rape evidence kits discovered in 2009.

“This has truly been a grassroots effort that’s brought together organizations and individuals from all walks of life, from sororities to businesses to churches to teens,” said Kim Trent, president of the AA490 challenge, whose name indicates the cost -- $490 -- of testing one rape kit. “We hope we can meet our goal by building on our success during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”

The first event takes place tonight at 8 p.m., when Trent honors late great music legend Prince with a Purple Karaoke for the Kits at The Loft, 1420 Washington Boulevard.

Then, for Denim Day on April 26, companies and organizations will allow employees to pay a nominal fee in order to wear jeans to work, with the fees going to the fund-raising campaign. The City of Detroit, UAW Solidarity House and Fifth Third Bank are among those taking part in Denim Day.

Also on April 26 is Jeans for Justice, a fashion show featuring denim attire that starts at 7 p.m. at the Motor City Casino. www.eventbrite.com/e/denim-day-detroit-jeans-and-justice-fashion-show-tickets-33242490183. The casino, AARP and the Wellness Plan are co-sponsors.

Denim Day is a global movement to end victim-blaming and misconceptions about sexual assault. It takes place the last Wednesday in April, sparked by an Italian Supreme Court ruling that overturned a rape conviction because they felt a teenage victim must have helped her rapist remove her tight jeans, thereby implying consent. For more information or to donate, go to www.aa490challenge.org.











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