Hollaback! Boston, Noteworthy

HOLLA Worthy Link Round-Up

holla worthy link round-up // hollaback! boston

We’re winding down at HOLLA::Rev and shipping up to Boston – but we haven’t had a chance to catch up on the internet this week! For a link round-up, check out some coverage of the UCSB shootings posted earlier this week; then, share your must-reads with us in the comments!



image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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Yes, All Women

Since Elliot Rodger went on a misogyny-fueled shooting spree and #YesAllWomen was started in response to the popular “Not All Men” defense, friends and colleagues from around the world have been sharing links and sending articles my way. I’m grateful, both that my networks associate me with this work, and that they are tuned in and willing to share (weekly link roundups don’t write themselves, after all) – but especially in this case because, honestly, I missed it.

My parents were visiting Boston this weekend and our hours were spent outside, at Home Depot, tearing apart the kitchen, and on the roof; by the time I tuned back in after hopping on a bus to New York for HOLLA::Rev, I was way behind. If you might also be feeling a little overwhelmed, here’s a handful of articles I’ve read since this weekend:

If you want to talk or to share your own story, please don’t hesitate to reach out at boston@ihollaback.org, or on facebook or twitter; as always, we’re here as a resource, and we’ve got your back.

Wishing you safety and peace,


Events, Hollaback! Boston, Noteworthy


holla::revolution // hollaback! boston

HOLLA::Revolution is back! Kate will be attending live today in New York, but the event will stream live starting at 2pm EDT and available wherever you are. Join us!

Join Hollaback! at Hollarev

image credit: Hollaback!

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Hollaback! Boston, Kayla

Moving On Up: Kayla’s Farewell

Directors’ Note: Kayla was our very first non-founding team addition, and we are so grateful for her help and patience over the last year—but as a recent graduate of Tufts, Kayla is moving out of the area and moving on from Hollaback! Boston. We’re finishing up a few majorly exciting projects she headed, and we can’t wait to share them with you! Kayla also still holds the record for our most popular post, ever: revisit I’ll Smile When You Stop Telling Me To in her honor. Congratulations, Kayla, good luck, and THANK YOU for all of your work and support! –Britni + Kate

introducing: kayla! // hollaback! boston

Working with Hollaback! Boston this past year has meant so much to me, as a woman, as a feminist, and as someone who has called this place home for the last four years. When I first interviewed with Britni and Kate last summer, I remember asking where their offices were, and I remember them laughing out loud. “We don’t have offices…yet,” they said. Hollaback! Boston was still in its early days then, following in the footsteps of “The Mothership” in NYC. We still don’t have offices, but we have come so far since that coffee shop meeting.

I feel so proud to have stood with Hollaback! Boston this year as they pushed for key legislation, advocated for community partnerships, worked with area businesses to create a sense of accountability, and so much more. I want to thank HB for everything they’ve done, everything they’re trying to do, and everything they will do long after I’m gone. The work is unpaid, the days are long, and the progress is often slow, but it’s organizations like this one that hold cities together. The mission at Hollaback! Boston, and all of the Hollaback! chapters around the world, is to keep all community members safe from harm in public space. They do that by framing street harassment as something for which we are all at risk, and for which we are all responsible.

Before joining the Hollaback! team, I considered street harassment an inevitable reality for myself and others. I recognized the divide between those who are regularly harassed and those who regularly do the harassing, but I didn’t have the words or the confidence to interrupt what I was seeing. After co-leading workshops, engaging people in new conversations, and brainstorming broad and specific solutions to this growing problem, I have a new sense of what it means to be a member of this community. I know what my rights are, even if those rights aren’t yet recognized by law. I know how to help someone in a hostile situation, and I know what wouldn’t help at all. I am indebted to the amazing people at Hollaback! Boston for teaching me, for being patient with me, and for forcing me to find my own voice and to tackle the issues that I care about most. I’m leaving Boston this week, and I couldn’t be happier that I’m leaving it to you and your allies.


image credit: Kayla Hogan

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Hollaback! Boston, Local News, Noteworthy

HOLLA Worthy Link Round-Up

holla::revolution // hollaback! boston

We’re very eagerly counting down to HOLLA::Revolution on Tuesday, but this week held plenty of excitement, too. In case you missed them, a few of our favorite links:

Also this week, we hosted our second, worldwide tweet chat on bike harassment—check out the storify!—and conversations over public safety for pedestrians and taxi and livery customers in Boston are starting up, too. Do you feel safe on Boston streets? What constitutes “safe”? Have you ever felt harassed or unsafe in a cab or an Uber car? What about late night options? Share your thoughts with us!

We’ll be tweeting from HOLLA::Rev live in New York on Tuesday – if you’ll be in the area, don’t forget to grab your tickets! Otherwise, be sure to catch the livestream of the event; the lineup is terrific, and you won’t want to miss it.

Have a wonderful weekend!


image credit: Hollaback!

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Britni, Hollaback! Boston, Local News

What Makes A City “Safe” For Pedestrians?

Boston is known as “America’s Walking City” due to the high density of our downtown, making walking a convenient and desirable mode of transportation. In fact, it’s one of the things that I love most about Boston. I was raised in Fort Lauderdale, where walking was nearly impossible due to the sprawling nature of the city (see also: LA). Boston appealed to me because I could walk everywhere I wanted to go, and I felt more connected to the city itself and the people living here. There’s nothing better than being outside on the first nice day of Spring, when it seems like the entire city has spilled out onto the sidewalks and into the parks to enjoy the weather. I get to know my city in new and different ways when I explore it on foot. This aspect of life in Boston is a huge asset and a huge draw for many of the people that live here. And so it’s important for us to consider pedestrian safety, especially if we are and want to continue to be “America’s Walking City.”

what makes cities "safe" for pedestrians? // hollaback! boston

What makes a city “safe” for pedestrians? According to The National Complete Streets Coalition’s Dangerous by Design 2014 report, it’s the “number of fatalities and at risk walkers.” And by those measures, Boston ranks highest for pedestrian safety (interestingly enough, Fort Lauderdale, my hometown, ranks among the least safe). This is a great thing, but I’d argue that there’s something missing from the picture of what makes a city safe for pedestrians, and how we’re determining what qualifies as an “at risk” walker. Because even if pedestrians aren’t getting hit by cars all the time, there are plenty of other things that can make pedestrians feel unsafe– including street harassment.

Who has the privilege of feeling safe walking on the streets of Boston? We know that it’s not always women, LGBTQ folks, and people of color; just because they may not fear getting hit by a car doesn’t mean that they don’t have other safety concerns. When we released our State of the Streets Report last year, we found that 97% of respondents that had experienced street harassment in Boston had experienced it on our streets. And when we asked those people how that harassment made them feel, 80% said “nervous” and 64% answered “scared.” You can also click on any of the pink bubbles on the map to the right of our website and read stories of people feeling unsafe after being harassed on the streets of Boston.

The discussion of pedestrian safety feels incomplete if we’re not looking at all aspects of being a pedestrian. Sure, it’s great that folks walking in Boston can feel pretty good about not being hit by cars, but if a large number of people (mostly non-white and/or non-cisgender male) are worrying about being harassed when they’re walking down the street, do we really consider Boston “safe?” If people are seeking alternate modes like bikes, cabs, and/or Uber to avoid harassment, how safe do our pedestrians really feel?

And if pedestrians don’t feel safe in Boston, how can we address it? That’s what Hollaback! Boston is trying to do with our work. Besides providing a supportive forum for people to share their stories of harassment and raise consciousness around the issue, we provide workshops about what street harassment is and how we can make our streets feel safer through community-based solutions. But that’s not all we’re doing. As part of the Elevate Boston coalition, we asked Mayor Marty Walsh’s office to provide community safety audits as a way to assess and then address safety on our streets, and that’s something that’s moving forward. We’re also part of the Mayor’s Late Night Task Force, bringing the perspective of public safety after dark to the table.

Our goal is to make the streets of Boston safe for everyone, and that’s not going to be a reality until all residents of Boston can walk down the street without having to worry about being harassed, followed, or assaulted. Physical safety from motor vehicles is indeed one aspect of safety on our streets, but emotional safety and physical safety related to gender-based violence is just as important in making a city a true “walking city.”


image credit: Kate Ziegler

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Britni, Hollaback! Boston, Shared Stories

What It’s Like To Be Pregnant In Public

I find that, as a female, my body is always public property. Unsolicited commentary on my ass seems par for the course if I plan to leave my house, and it’s something that I’ve come to expect from men on the street. It’s exhausting and infuriating and I really, really hate it. But I’m currently a little over 8 months pregnant and I find myself wishing for the days when occasional comments about what I’ve got in the back were some of the only unsolicited comments flung my way.

When you’re pregnant, your body is still public property, but now it belongs to everyone– men, women, and children will take equal opportunities to comment on my pregnant body. Suddenly my due date, the sex of the fetus I’m carrying, the name I’ve chosen for my baby, how much weight I’ve gained, how I’m feeling, and the puffiness of my face all become appropriate things for people I don’t know to speak to me about.


Walking down the street now goes something like this:

“Thank you.”
“When are you due?”
“What are you having?”
“A baby.”


“Is it a boy or a girl?”
“It’s a baby.”
“It looks like you’re carrying a girl.”
“Because you’re all belly.”
*forced smile*


“Boy or girl?”
“Why are you wearing your coat? Aren’t you hot? I bet the baby is hot.”


“Hey, mama! Lookin’ good!”


“Your face looks so fat!”


“How much weight have you gained?
“I don’t know or care. Why would you ask me that?”


“Mmm, mmm. Seeing your belly makes me want to go home and have sex with my girlfriend!”


“Seriously, your face is so fat/puffy/pudgy/swollen/round/chubby/chunky.”


“You look so plump and juicy, mama. Damn!”

Ad infinitum. This is EXHAUSTING, on top of the exhaustion I’m already dealing with just by virtue of being 8 months pregnant. I really, really want to be able to walk down the street and not have to answer intrusive questions about my body. But I’m often too tired and too overwhelmed and, yes, just too damn nice to say anything. So I nod. I fake a smile. And I walk into the McDonald’s on the corner and I cry.


Bikes, Events

#bikeSH: Round Two

It’s still National Bike Month, and today we’re broadening the scope of last week’s bike harassment chat a bit to include panelists living and working around the world. Join us at 3pm EDT to share your responses and experiences!

#bikesh tweet chat // hollaback! boston

This week, we’re slowing down the pace of the chat (just eight questions, not 10), encouraging interaction across the #bikeSH tag, and posting the questions in advance so they can be referenced in one place and considered before the chat begins. Take a peek below!

#bikeSH Tweet Chat Questions for May 20:

Q1: Please introduce yourselves! When did you start riding a bike? Where and why do you ride? #bikeSH

Q2: How does your bike impact your interactions with your community, your city? #bikeSH

Q3: Have you exp. sexual or gender-based harassment while riding? Unwanted commentary about your body? Homophobic remarks? #bikeSH

Q4: How does #streetharassment on a bike change your behavior, attire, route or routine? #bikeSH

Q5: Do you experience more or less #streetharassment on your bike versus on foot? On public transit? #bikeSH

Q6: How do you react to #streetharassment and what do you think are the best strategies forward? Do you have a favorite “hollaback?” #bikeSH

Q7: How can we work to make cycling a safe, viable transit option, more diverse, more accessible and more equitable? #bikeSH

Q8: Has the bicycle been a force for empowerment in your experience? How? #bikeSH

We hope you’ll follow our panelists and chime in at 3pm to share your own take as we continue the conversation about street harassment on bikes. Be sure to use the #bikeSH tag so we can find you!

Follow our panelists!

Liz of @WomenBike

Hollaback! Ottawa: @HollabackOttawa

@bikesnotbombs‘ Charlotte: @womanonawheel

Hollaback! LA: @LAHollaback

Shannon of @Mtn2Mtn

Stop Street Harassment: @stopstharassmnt

@bcgp‘s Katie: @cmon_roe

Hollaback! Houston: @htownhollaback

Collective Action for Safe Spaces: @SafeSpacesDC

@HollabackBoston‘s Kate: @KZiegs

Happy riding,


image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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HOLLA Worthy Link Round-Up

holla worthy link round-up // hollaback! boston

We celebrated Bay State Bike Week earlier this week with a tweet chat on bike harassment in Boston, and the conversation was terrific. Be sure to catch the Storify of the chat, and don’t hesitate to chime in on twitter! Questions can be found in Tuesday’s post. Many, many thanks to our excellent local panelists!

This week also yielded quite a few other reads worth your time:

Have we missed anything excellent? Let us know in the comments!

Have a terrific weekend,


image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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Bikes, Events, Kate

Boston #bikeSH Tweet Chat

Happy Bay State Bike Week! We’ve had some gorgeous weather (finally) despite today’s cool down, and it’s made for great riding. Unfortunately, with warmer weather we also see an uptick in reports of all kinds of street harassment as more people are out sharing public space.

boston #bikesh tweet chat // hollaback! boston

Today, though, we’re focusing on the bicycle: bikes can be empowering, accessible and affordable transit options (based on the cost of a monthly T pass, I could buy TWO of my current bike, brand new, every year for less!) but women make up a fraction of ridership.

boston #bikesh tweet chat // hollaback! boston

Marginalized populations are at risk for harassment when they are on two wheels just as when they walk through public space, and even if the getaway is often faster, the pervasive sense of vulnerability is just as potent and changes the ways we move through our city and interact with our communities. As a year-round rider, I’m really excited to extend our work for safe public spaces to this specific type of gender-based street harassment.

boston #bikesh tweet chat // hollaback! boston

We’re joining a group of local riders and advocates as a panel to facilitate today’s discussion, which is just a starting point for this conversation in Boston. There’s much more to dig into—the power dynamics of gender, race, vehicle and infrastructure, for example—but the tweet chat is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ll post one question every six minutes for the hour, and will all engage using the #bikeSH tag. Follow our panelists, tune in to the hashtag, and share your experiences with us!

Follow our panelists!

@bikeboston‘s Najah: @najahbikes

@ONEin3‘s Chloe: @ChloeRyan1

Josh of @BikeSafeBoston

Megan of @BIKABOUT

@MassBike‘s Nathaniel: @bikestyleboston

@geekhousebikes‘ Kat: @attnkatdaley

@bikesnotbombs‘ Charlotte: @womanonawheel

Benjy of @hubway

@HollabackBoston‘s Kate: @KZiegs

Also tune in for a second chat next week, on May 20 at 3pm EDT - this one will have a global panel and broader focus, and will also be found under #bikeSH. We’d love to have you!

UPDATE: We’ve had some requests to list the questions from the chat in a centralized place, so that the conversation can continue. Here they are! Use #bikeSH to join the discussion, swing by again next Tuesday, and many, many thanks to those who helped facilitate today’s chat!

  • Q1: Please introduce yourselves! When did you start riding in #Boston, and why? (If you haven’t yet, why not?) #bikeSH
  • Q2: Where in the #Boston area do you ride, and what’s your weapon (bike) of choice? #bikeSH
  • Q3: What are the best and worst parts of bike-as-transit? #bikeSH
  • Q4: Have you exp. sexual or gender-based harassment while riding? Unwanted commentary about your body? Homophobic remarks? #bikeSH
  • Q5: How does #streetharassment on a bike change your behavior, route or routine? #bikeSH
  • Q6: Do you experience non-gendered #streetharassment while riding? How does it differ? #bikeSH
  • Q7: Do you experience more or less #streetharassment on your bike versus on foot? On the @MBTA? #bikeSH
  • Q8: How can we work to make cycling a safe, viable transit option, more diverse, and more equitable? #bikeSH
  • Q9: What would you do if you could be 100% certain that you would not be harassed with your bike? #bikeSH
  • Q10: What is The Best Thing about riding a bike in #Boston? #bikeSH

Happy riding,


image credits: Hollaback! Boston

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