Stalking

“He didn’t stop” – Yael’s story

I was once followed for 20+ minutes by a guy asking me to marry him, even when my friends told him to stop, or when my friend wanted to pretend to be my boyfriend, he still did not stop.

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Groping

“I ended up with bruises” – phone app submission

I went to trivia night with my friend and as we were in the second round, 2 guys at the bar (one of which knew my friend) joined us at our table. The other guy (not the one who knew my friend) was high and drunk had his hands all over my legs. I ended up with bruises from the chair as I tried to minimize what all he was able to grab at. I didn’t say anything to my friend until the next day.

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Groping

Groped on the Job – phone app submission

A friend texted to say a customer grabbed her butt at [a discount grocery store] while she was working.

– Julia

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Assault, Blocking Path, Groping, Homophobic, Leering, Lewd Behavior, Positive Thinking, Public Masturbation, Racist, Stalking, Transphobic, Uncategorized, Verbal

Youth Hollaback!

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Thanks to a generous grant from The Pollination Project in 2013, we had the opportunity create a program for middle school kids to address street harassment in an age appropriate way. After months and months of planning, we finally had our first real workshop! Here are some photos of our volunteer Rebecca with the kids at St. Francis Neighborhood Center, the amazing community center in Reservoir Hill. We have worked with them before, taking part in anti-street harassment chalk-walks, and speaking as a Power Player for their Power Project, so piloting our own youth program  at St. Francis was an obvious choice. Over the course of two seperate one hour sessions, we spoke to these young folks about ways to make a difference in their communities using art activism. Our tool of choice? Self-decorated t-shirts! (Click here for more photos)

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photo 1Some words from our workshop leader, Rebecca: “We had 8 kids – 5 boys and 3 girls – and had a really active discussion about Street Harassment, Bullying and Art Activism. They were really enthusiastic about the t-shirts and kept talking about the issues while we were working on them.  We also had to extend the discussion to make sure that our t-shirts were non-negative responses which I think is important to add. We had a talk about how sometimes we want to respond aggressively, and it’s OK to feel that,  but aggression and threats were some of the things we put down as Issues on the Street so it’s probably best not to put them on a t-shirt.  I look forward to setting up the next one after Christmas!”

 

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Background: Co-director Shawna took the lead on the Youth Hollaback! project and spoke with many experts on DIY activism, working with youth, art as a tool for social change, and more. She got to interview cool local folks, like Hanna from FORCE, as well as non-Baltimoreans like Tatyana Fazlalizadeh of Stop Telling Women to Smile. While the Pollination Project awarding us the Seed The Change grant made these interviews and practice runs possible, the opportunity to connect with other inspiring folks doing great social justice work has been another surprising benefit to our team personally. We’ve learned a lot, and we’re so happy our volunteer Rebecca will be leading more of these workshops in the future! If you have any interest of bringing our Youth Hollaback! workshop to a group of kids you know, just email us at [email protected]

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Stalking

Ewww! – phone app submission

At my aunts Bday party and this really old guy kept following me in the club!!!!!! Ewww

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Positive Thinking, Uncategorized

Reflections on Facing Race Conference from Baltimore Site Leader Mel

“Try to make it safe for people to be wrong [when talking about racism]. Part of that is including myself in the wrong-ness.” – Sally Kohn


Facing Race 2014, a national conference about racial justice, was held in Dallas, TX this year and I had the privilege of attending as a representative of Hollaback.  It was the largest Facing Race ever with 1,600 attendees and its accompanying hashtag #FacingRace2014 trended nationally as people documented conference highlights on social media.  It’s been a few days since the last plenary session and I’m still trying to soak it all in.  What weighs heavy on my mind as I make sense of everything is the consistent messaging for us, racial justice activists, mel with key and peeleto be kind.


From the first event, the biggest names in the racial justice world dropped bombs of knowledge followed by encouragement for us all to call people in and not call people out, as Jaime-Jin Lewis of the organization Border Crossers said.  Lewis told us to look towards a future movement that is based on healing.  Rinku Sen, President of Race Forward, then told us to, “lower our litmus tests for friends and allies, and trust that people become anti-racist by doing racial justice work”.  These notions aren’t new nor are they bad, but I was surprised at this consistent messaging and the honesty of the speakers.


As a woman of color, I value being in majority people of color spaces because they’re so rare.  I feel safe to vent about racism without a filter and there’s solidarity in our struggles.  This conference was speaking to a majority audience of color and the repetitive suggestions for us to “lower our litmus test” were blunt requests to do better that I hadn’t heard in that setting before.  The esteemed speakers and presenters weren’t asking us to shut up or stop getting angry, which is what sometimes can happen when asked to be kind; they were calling for us to have empathy and compassion.


Six community organizers from the Ferguson, MO protests spoke about their work on day 2 of the conference bright and early at 8:00am.  They were asked what the best thing is that we, as racial justice activists, can do to support them.  The resounding answer was to go home to our communities and talk to people about racism; create a dialogue about what life is like for people of color.  Having those difficult conversations is needed work and a first step in making sure people remember the names of young men like Mike Brown because every community has a Mike Brown.
anti-imperial ballroom


I found myself thinking about all of this and feeling, for the first time, like venting or a safe space is not the priority.  This people of color-focused space that I hold so sacred was not meant for emotional release this weekend.  Hip Hop Legend and activist Jay Smooth described it best as balancing self-care and the needed catharsis of telling someone off who’s being racist while not always resorting to those reactions as a default.  I’ve been contemplating since then: what is my default — righteous anger?  Is that all it is or do I couple it with some compassion?


Just when I thought there was nothing else anyone could possibly say that I hadn’t already heard, the final plenary blew me away.  Ian Haney Lopez, Van Jones and Rinku Sen together were a trifecta of nuance on the next 50 years of the racial justice movement.  Ian Haney Lopez pushed us to fight the concept of non-Whiteness within communities of color and complicated the popular belief that White folks will be in the minority in 2042.  This prediction depends on whether or not the definition of Whiteness expands and with many White Latinos self-identifying as White, the percentage of White
facing race bus tourfolks in the USA could actually increase in 50 years.  Van Jones came on stage and told us all to expand our hustle by leveraging technology to make our own money, not depending on the mostly White male technocracy of Silicon Valley to dictate the gadgets and apps we use.  And finally, Rinku Sen brought it all home as she actually told us not to place people on our “shit list” (yes, her word choice! so perfect) for making mistakes and reiterated the need to have difficult conversations about race.  She did not hold back in telling the movement that we need to be more compassionate than we are right now.  My favorite moment was when she voiced her dislike of critiquing one another on Twitter and urged us to hold each other accountable for mistakes both in person and in private.


Facing race is difficult not just because the oppression we’re confronting is at a larger structural level, but it hits people of color at the personal level, too.  Resulting trauma makes it difficult to see through the righteous anger we have; but this year’s conference was a wake-up call for our compassion.  The wisdom from this year’s conference is settling in with me now and I’m taking a closer look at how I define a friend and racial justice ally.  Social media has made us all especially easy subjects of scrutiny and it’s also easier to scrutinize one another than ever before.  It’s time to create a better balance of self-care and reexamine what our defaults are so we can be in a place to discuss racism with many others, and ultimately grow the movement to end it.


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Leering, Verbal

“…it was dark and we were alone” – Holly’s story

It was late at night in the city and I was waiting outside of a restaurant with my friend for her mother to pay for our food. We’re both standing there minding our own business and all of the sudden a group of creepy older guys walk by saying “Hey baby”. It was frightening because it was dark and we were alone. These guys looked about in their mid 20s. My friend and I are both 15.

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Verbal

Sexual Harassment: It’s not always obvious – Nem’s story

While I was working in a government agency as a contractor, there was an older man who would constantly fawn and joke with another female coworker of mine.  Nothing over the line but it made for an uncomfortable situation.  The man was the office manager and was also manipulative and would throw out polite insults to most people within the office, including me. My contract coworker and I did not get along but the she and the man were on friendlier terms so he would go out of his way to belittle or subtly harass me.  One day, he walked over to our work area, and began talking about women wearing tight pants and how they should not wear them.  He then sat on my desk while conversing with my coworker on tight pants and telling stories of all the women he’d seen wearing them.  Of course, that day I was wearing skinny jeans with an oversized sweater.  Another time and the worst of his offenses, he came over to our work area and stated, ” I want to see you (my coworker), Nemesis, and X (another female working in the office) in a three way.”

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