Events, Hollaback! Boston, Local News

Be Yourself, Change the World: Boston Pride 2014

On Saturday, the Hollaback! Boston team gathered with friends and volunteers to march in the 2014 Boston Pride parade, and we had a blast.

be yourself, change the world: boston pride 2014 // hollaback! boston

This year’s Pride theme – Be Yourself, Change the World – was a perfect fit for the Hollaback! mission of ending street harassment so that everyone can feel safe to be themselves in public, and we were so excited the bring that message to parade-goers!

be yourself, change the world: boston pride 2014 // hollaback! boston

We’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to the folks who joined us – we couldn’t do it without you! If you missed us, couldn’t make it to the parade, or if we had run out of them, here’s a peek at the eight-page zine we handed out on the route:

How did you celebrate Pride this year? What did the theme mean to you? Let us know in the comments!


image credits: Hollaback! Boston

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Hollaback! Boston, Noteworthy

HOLLA Worthy Link Round-Up

Happy Pride Friday (Priday?), Boston!

boston pride 2014 // hollaback! boston

It’s almost time! We’ve received our lineup location for the parade tomorrow, we’ve made our posters and printed our handouts, and we’re waiting for YOU to join us to march in celebration of safe public spaces for everyone to be themselves. Meet us at 704 Boylston Street (in front of the Lindt store) tomorrow by 10:00am to join the marching group – we’ll see you there!

Until then, while the rain (hopefully) moves right along, here’s a few of our favorite links this week:

See you tomorrow,


image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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Gina, Introducing, Shared Stories

Introducing: Gina!

This summer we’re welcoming an inspiring group of interns and fellows to our team to lend a hand. Gina is our summer Communications Intern, a student journalist and member of her campus arts community, and will be taking over social media (among other things) during her break from Amherst College. We’re excited to have her on our team – welcome, Gina!

introducing: gina! // hollaback! boston

Tell us about yourself - what are you into? I’m into online journalism, early twentieth century American literature, and going out for ice cream.

Define your style: I can’t tell if I’ve finally achieved the kind of effortless style that revolves around really great basics …or if I just wear the same clothes every day.

Favorite Boston fact: Milkshakes are called “frappes” here. That’s important to know.

Your favorite place in Boston? The Swan Boats!

Have you experienced/witnessed street harassment in Boston? What stood out most in your memory? I’ve only been in Boston for a few days for the summer, but someone honked at me while I was running the other day. I was so pissed because that type of thing always happens so fast I can’t even flip them off.

What’s your signature response to street harassment – your go-to Hollaback? The disdainful, withering glare, sometimes while shaking my head no. But my favorite move is being an active bystander. Once I was walking with a friend at night and I saw a girl walking alone on the other side of the street – unfortunately, so did a group of rowdy guys, who proceeded to harass her. I won’t write exactly what I yelled at them, but it was something along the lines of “leave her alone.” It wasn’t much, but I just wanted to let her (and them) know that other people were paying attention to the harassment.

Your superpower is… I can get ready really quickly. Like, shower, get dressed, all that. I don’t know how great of a superpower this is because it usually means waiting for other people to finish getting ready but it’s always good in a pinch.

What are you excited about in 2014? I’m studying abroad in France in the fall!

What inspires you? I’ve always been inspired by fiction more than anything – books, movies, and the like. For example, I swear I wouldn’t be the kind of student I am if it weren’t for Hermione Granger and Elle Woods. Fictional characters are inspiring to everyone, I think, and most of all when you can see yourself in them. That’s why representation is so important.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Don’t be sorry, be better. I read that on the wall of a bathroom stall.


image credit: Gina Faldetta

“Introducing” is an ongoing series in which we ask bloggers, activists, allies, entrepreneurs and assorted Bostonians about their inspirations, motivations, super powers and experiences with street harassment. If you know someone you think we should feature here, please drop us a line!

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Events, Hollaback! Boston, Local News, Noteworthy

HOLLA With Us: Boston Pride!

For the second year, Hollaback! Boston is supporting a marching group in the Boston Pride parade – and we are SO excited. The 2014 Pride theme – “Be Yourself, Change the World” – is a perfect match for our work! Hollaback! is, worldwide, all about making our streets safe for everyone to be themselves.

march with us! boston pride 2014 // hollaback! boston

We know that it’s not just women who experience harassment and gender-based violence in public spaces: LGBQ, trans* and non-conforming folks are at risk, too. Stop Street Harassment’s national report (released yesterday!) demonstrates this, as did our 2013 survey in Boston; the risks of existing as oneself in public are reflected in lived experience. When identities overlap, people can find themselves at an even greater risk of harassment from strangers in public, both sexualized and non-sexual in nature. All of this combines to make our public spaces seem unwelcoming at best, and worse, potentially dangerous – but we believe it doesn’t have to be this way.

Hollaback! Boston is not just for straight, white, cis-gendered women: our goal is to provide a platform to amplify ALL stories of street harassment in Boston, and to give you a space to make your side of the experience heard. We want to know how your identities are intersecting to impact the way you navigate Boston’s streets, and sharing your stories ensures that our team, our communities and our leaders can listen, learn and do more.

But most importantly today, head to Facebook and join our marching group for the parade on June 14!

There will be beads. There will be ribbons. There will be signs and banners and plenty of Gwen Stefani shouted our way. Our marching group, just like our work, is not just for women – allies and friends and victims and bystanders are all welcome! We’ll be hosting a sign-making and parade planning meeting in Jamaica Plain on June 12; be sure to join the Facebook event for details.


image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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Hollaback! Boston, Noteworthy

HOLLA Faves: May’s Top Five

Where did last month go?

holla faves: may's top five // hollaback! boston

We’re moving full-steam ahead into June (and Boston Pride!), but before you join us have a look back at the five most popular posts from last month:

1. What It’s Like To Be Pregnant In Public

2. If Saying “I Have A Boyfriend” Keeps You Safe, I Support Your Right To Yell It From The Rooftops

3. #bikeSH: Round Two

4. What Makes A City “Safe” For Pedestrians?

5. HOLLA On the Go: Bless That Ass

What’s on your radar for June? Let us know in the comments!


image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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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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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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