Fashion show raises awareness of domestic violence

Zaiya Dillon wore purple -- the color of domestic violence awareness -- to close out the Cardinal Catwalk fashion show. (Photo by Giuliana Calascibetta)

By Giuliana Calascibetta staff writer

Cleary Auditorium was painted purple on Oct. 22 when Zaiya Dillon put on a creative way to spread domestic violence awareness by holding a fashion show.

Dillon, a student at St. John Fisher College, started a new campus organization called Cardinal Catwalk to stage a fashion show that spreads awareness about domestic violence and abuse. Dillon had help from a program called Restore, an organization in the Rochester area that helps with the response to domestic and sexual assault.

Micah Jones walks through Cleary Aud with a message about domestic abuse. (Photo by Giuliana Calascibetta.)

The show consisted of  two male and three female models who walked the runway created in Cleary Auditorium. The runway was decorated with a purple and white balloon arch. Purple is the official color of domestic violence, and Dillon walked the runway in a fabulous purple dress to enforce this message at the very end of the show.  

Models walked down the runway in fall attire and full-on denim. Almost every audience member had their cell phones out to take pictures of the models and cheered for them as they walked. The models all strutted down the runway with confidence and never took their eyes off the camera.

During their last couple of walks down the runway, models also held up purple signs that had statements about the impacts of domestic violence.  Micah Jones, for instance, had a sign that read “What will people think when they knew I let a woman beat on me?” These statements made audience members quiet and caught their attention more than the actual clothes the models were wearing did.

Following the fashion show, Jones had nothing but kind words to say about Dillon and what she had communicated with the audience. “This fashion show promotes self worth and self love. Domestic violence has no race, no ethnicity, and no gender. It happens to everybody, and that’s why I got involved,” said Jones.

The end of the fashion show resulted in the models taking their final walk and bowing for the audience. Dillon was sure to thank everyone involved with the show by giving them purple gift bags as a token of her appreciation.

Dillon made it known to the audience that she had been working hard to ensure the Cardinal Catwalk will be an annual event on the St. John Fisher campus. The attempt to raise domestic violence awareness was a success.

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