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 separate 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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