City of Dearborn employees dress down to fund rape kits

Photo courtesy of the city of Dearborn
A sampling of city employees who wore denim in exchange for a donation to a coalition raising money for rape kits. Many other employees supported the cause. A tally is expected by Friday.

DEARBORN – If things looked a little casual around city offices today, it was for a good cause.

City employees were able to break from their required business attire for one day and wear denim in exchange for making a minimum $5 donation to the Enough Said African American 490 Challenge campaign. The campaign is raising funds for the testing of evidence needed for the investigation of criminal sexual assault cases.

Known as rape kits, more than 11,000 unopened and untested kits were found about five years ago in a Detroit Police Department storage unit.  Each kit costs $490 to test, and there are more than 600 kits left to be tested.

The AA490 Coalition — comprised of non-profits, sororities, corporations and community groups — pledged over 18 months ago to raise funds to finish testing. So far, they have gathered $450,000.

But there is still just over $200,000 left in funding needed to complete the kit testing. The coalition is hoping to make a final push for donations before the end of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Dearborn employees participated. A final tally of the donation is expected by Friday.

The cause was supported by Mayor John O’Reilly Jr., and advocated by Human Resources Administrator Cynthia Pepper.

April 26 is also known as International Denim Day. Wearing denim shows support for victims of sexual assault who have been blamed for the crime committed against them because of the attire they wore, including jeans.

To donate to the AA490 Coalition, go to www.aa490challenge.org.