Denim Day to raise funds to test Detroit rape kits

The Wednesday initiatives aim to help reach the fundraising goal of $657,090 to test more than 11,000 rape kits found in 2009

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

This week’s Jeans for Justice event and Denim Day are the final pushes to raise funds to pay for processing of Detroit’s backlog of untested rape kits.

Organizers of the African American 490 Challenge of Enough SAID are trying to raise $657,090. So far they have raised $450,000.

“This has truly been a grass-roots 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, in a press release. “We hope we can meet our goal by building on our success during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”

The Jeans for Justice event is 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sound Board at MotorCity Casino Hotel. Tickets are $25-$49 and must be purchased in advance at The party features a fashion show with live band, a DJ and spoken word artists. Guests are encouraged to wear their “most fashionable denim.”

Additionally, Wednesday is Denim Day, a global movement to end victim-blaming and misconceptions about sexual assault. Participating companies are allowing employees to wear denim to work Wednesday if they donate to the fund-raising campaign. The City of Detroit, UAW Solidarity House and Fifth Third Bank are among the participating companies.

In 2009, more than 11,000 untested evidence kits were discovered in a warehouse. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, the Detroit Crime Commission and the Michigan Women’s Foundation started efforts to address the backlog. It’s estimated that each kit costs nearly $500 to test.

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Twitter: @melodybaetens