Emily Blue donates album sales to RACES

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Emily Blue donates album sales to RACES

Portrait of Emily Blue.

Portrait of Emily Blue.

Photo Courtesy of Kelsey Greene

Portrait of Emily Blue.

Photo Courtesy of Kelsey Greene

Photo Courtesy of Kelsey Greene

Portrait of Emily Blue.

By Jessica Bursztynsky, Staff Writer

Singer and songwriter Emily Blue is donating all of the sales from her first album to the Rape Advocacy and Crisis Education Center in Urbana and has currently raised about $3,000.

Blue, senior in LAS, released an album titled, “Another Angry Woman,” in Nov. 2016 and says the funds raised from that album will continue to go to the crisis center as long as the center is open.

“Having an environment of consent education is really important to me,” Blue said. “Also as a sexual assault survivor, naturally I want to contribute back to consent education because it’s preventative education; it’s so important, and not enough people are doing it.”

Twenty-three percent of female college students, almost one-fourth, are expected to experience sexual assault in their undergraduate career, according to the Association of American Universities.

“They (people) do know someone that’s affected by it, even if they’re not aware of that,” Blue said.

Jaya Kolisetty, associate director of RACES, said she first heard of Blue’s fundraising efforts through some of her volunteers who were friends with Blue.

RACES, having cut large amounts of their staff and services due to the Illinois budget crisis, is using Blue’s donations to keep the services they have intact.

“The money Emily raised and continues to donate to RACES help us maintain our current crisis services and work to restore other services that were lost as a result of the state budget impasse,” Kolisetty said.

The center is also planning on establishing a fund in Blue’s name to thank her for her advocacy work.

“We are interested in establishing something in her name that will serve as a resource to ensure that RACES’ services are sustainable as we rebuild,” Kolisetty said. “The details for that project are still being worked out. We are very grateful for everything Emily has done for us and for her continued advocacy for RACES and for survivors.”

Hoping to spread her message to a large audience, Blue says that students can combat sexual assault on college campuses in a few ways.

Blue recommends that students look into volunteering as a First Year Campus Acquaintance Rape Education facilitator and assist with workshops in consent education.

“They do really, really important work here at the University,” she said.

In addition to volunteering, Blue says people should name predatory behavior when they see it, instead of ignoring the comments.

“Just being there to support survivors is important,” Blue said. “If someone that you know has experienced sexual assault or abuse, just saying I believe you and listening to them instead of telling them what to do.”

Blue has worked to place positive social justice messages throughout her songs and said her first album was her most vulnerable piece of work.

“It’s kind of hard honestly for me to play my album live sometimes,” Blue said.

Blue has a new set of three songs coming out March 2 and is shifting the tone of her work to focus on more positive, pop elements.

“With this new music that I’m doing, I wanted it to be fun and light-hearted and almost kind of campy in a way,” Blue said. “I wanted to really play up the pop elements that I’m fond of and also mess around with really fun production.”

While the new album is not centered on themes of sexual consent, Blue is still including messages of activism throughout the three songs.

“Even in the new pop songs that I write I throw in little bits of what I believe to be fundamental parts of social justice,” Blue said.

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