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It’s official—this month, we’re headed to Daisy Buchanan’s. Will you join us?
Remember, TBTB is about creating a safe, supportive space within a traditionally unwelcoming one; it’s not a protest, and it’s not confrontational. We’re heading out to have a good time, and we hope you will, too! Check out more answers to your burning Take Back The Bar questions in our FAQ, and head to the facebook event to invite your friends.
image credit: Hollaback! Bostonno comments
Hollaback! Boston knows that our identities shape the kind of harassment we experience and the way in which we experience it. Part of the work that we do involves bringing that to light, and working to address the ways in which oppressions can intersect.
We recently facilitated a discussion on street harassment and race, and put together a pre-discussion reading list for participants. We thought that it would be useful to share that list here, for anyone who is interested in doing some reading about the ways in which race and gender intersect when it comes to street harassment. This list was compiled by team members Brandie and Brenda, who facilitated the discussion.
For more information on intersectionality, identity, and street harassment, be sure to check out Hollaback!’s #harassmentis campaign. Are you interested in discussing this further? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule our new We HOLLABACK: Let’s Talk About Race workshop.
Did we miss any must-reads? Let us know in the comments!
Hollaback! Boston has an opening for an intern for the spring semester, with the potential for longer-term involvement, and we would love to hear from YOU! Start date would be no later than February 1, 2014. We are looking for 10-15 hours per week. Queer-identified candidates and candidates of color are strongly encouraged to apply.
Responsibilities will include:
Organizing, managing, and expanding our college campus campaign
Promoting the site and events
Contributing to the blog
Helping to generate graphics and design for social media
Searching for content to be shared on our sites that is in line with the HOLLA mission
Managing email correspondence
Brainstorming ways to increase our reach and readership
Helping to organize and promote events
Attending monthly team meetings and webinars
Being a creative, motivated, and passionate person who helps us fuel the movement and think of new ways to hollaback!
We do have specific things that we know we will need your help with, but we’re also really open to making this internship something that fits your interests and strengths.
Read up on what we do and see what you think. Please have some knowledge of the Hollaback! movement in general and what our team has been doing here in Boston before you show up to the interview. We want to know that you have some investment in what we’re trying to accomplish.
Feel strongly that our mission is one you believe in. Tell us what YOU want to bring to our movement. What are we missing? What could we be doing better? How could your skills fit our work?
Be comfortable taking initiative. We will provide some direction, but we want you to be unafraid to jump in with both feet and get the ball rolling on your own.
Be ready for anything.
Want to be part of a team of strong individuals who have lots to teach you but are super excited to learn things from you, too.
Compensation and benefits:
This is an unpaid internship.
However, there are concrete benefits to taking this internship position! You will have experience working with an organization that is unfunded and volunteer-run– creativity is always necessary! You will have the opportunity to run your own campaign and design it in whatever way you think is best. You will gain experience writing curriculum and facilitating workshops. You will have the opportunity to be nominated for awards, grants, and scholarships that we access through our network.
Interested? To apply, send a resume and cover letter to email@example.com.
One of the main tenets of the Hollaback! model is collective storytelling—we collect stories of street harassment from the folks who walk our streets, and we publish them on the Hollaback! site along with a map of the incident. This, of course, generates content for the site, and generates data on where and how street harassment is happening in Boston, but the act of sharing your story has more value than its data—it does more for the community and for the movement than populate our web pages.
One of the most common, heartbreaking sentences we hear at workshops and events is, “I thought it was just me.” It’s a common refrain: victims of street harassment believe that it’s their fault, or that it only happens to them, or that they should feel complimented, or that they should have been nicer—and though those of us immersed in the work know that this is absolutely not the case, for the high number of folks who find our site and our shared stories through google searches (why do i get catcalled, how do I stop being harassed, men harass me on the street in boston), YOUR shared stories are a revelation. Your story, which may (we hope) have been empowering to you personally to share, also empowers a new visitor who is just beginning to develop a voice and vocabulary against the behavior. Your story helps that visitor realize that they are not alone, that it’s not their fault, and that there are resources available to them. Your story empowers new visitors, fellow street harassment victims, to find their voice and speak about their own experiences, either online, through Hollaback!, or to begin these conversations within their circles and networks.
We believe that sharing stories can change the world. Don’t believe us? Think about Rodney King, Anita Hill, or Matthew Shephard. These stories didn’t just change the world, they shaped policy. Every time you hollaback, your story gets read by countless other people and is echoed thousands of times. Every time you hollaback, you add data to our catalog that we can bring to policymakers and movers and shakers in this city and we can say, “See? Street harassment is happening in your city and people are upset about it.” When a group of people get together and share their experiences, when they realize that they’re not alone, they start to change the fabric of the society that we live in. All of that starts with the most simple of things—your hollaback.
So what do we do with your stories? We publish them, of course; we read each story and respond if possible; we use the data from your story to build a case for taking action in our communities, for encouraging bystander intervention trainings and for working to sponsor community safety audits; we add your stories to the (unfortunately) ever-growing map of street harassment in Boston on our homepage, a visual representation of the issue. In cases of more severe harassment behavior, or in cases involving a business or larger entity, we advocate on your behalf—we approach those establishments with the information you’ve provided in an attempt to begin a conversation, to start a safer spaces training program, or to encourage a response from within their organization. We try to help.
And, let’s be clear–Hollaback!’s story sharing apps and form are not just for white women. We want your stories of witnessing street harassment, or stepping in as a bystander; we want to know how your identity as a gay man or a woman of color is intersecting with the harassment you face on the streets of Boston; we want to hear about how your disability (or perceived disability) or your body type or gender presentation or age are used as openings for objectification and harassing behavior. We know that a community of active bystanders will change the dynamic of our streets, and we know that all manner of oppressions intersect to amplify the risk of harassment; sharing your stories ensures that our team, our communities and our leaders can listen, learn and do more.
Collective storytelling is not new, and it has real impacts on the community. Sharing your story may (or may not) feel empowering to you, but even an anonymous submission documenting the most mundane, run of the mill harassment incident can have a profound impact on the community, on other victims just realizing their experiences are not unique, and on the movement to end street harassment in our city as a whole. When we unite our voices, on one platform, in one space, dedicated to bringing your experiences forward, we can make progress one story at a time—in leaps and bounds.
THIS is why we share our stories, and why we hope that you will share yours—from yesterday, and again tomorrow—as well, for as long as it takes.
Infographic data via Hollaback!: The Role of Collective Storytelling Online in a Social Movement Organization, Georgia Institute of Technologyno comments
Oh, hello there, Friday.
In case you missed it before, be sure to catch our (totally not un-biased) favorite work by SNL’s newest feature player:
And, catch Mayor Walsh’s shout-out to street harassment in his inauguration speech!
“No parent should worry that a bullet will stop a daughter or son from coming home. No woman should be scared on our streets. No senior should be afraid in their home. And no child should be forced to live with the trauma and the indelible scars of violence.”
Then, move on to some recommended reading to round out your week:
Don’t forget to join us on Sunday at the Sugar Bowl Cafe in Dorchester for our first HOLLA offline planning meeting of 2014—we want your ideas and your feedback for the coming year!
Happy weekend-ing, wherever you are,
video credit: Sasheer Zamata and Chioke Nassorno comments
In August of 2013 we, along with our co-sponsors Boston Glow and the Cambridge Women’s Center, started Take Back The Bar. Take Back The Bar is a monthly nightlife event to foster a safe space. The idea was to occupy public space known to be particularly unwelcoming to women, queer-identified folks, people of color, gender non-conforming folks, and anyone else who has been made to feel unsafe when going out. We took our idea from the guerilla queer bar concept, in that we do not reveal the location of the event until the night before.
Our first event at Whiskey’s was a success. We were happily surprised when about 40 people attended.
As the months progressed, the event fluctuated from 30 to sometimes 10. But no matter the size of the group, the important goal was met, which is to make sure that those in attendance feel supported and can enjoy a night out with people who have their back. We attended four different venues and even got picked up by the Metro. We talked, we danced, we made new friends and we holla’d back when we needed to.
Folks attended for all different reasons. We released FAQs for anyone who wasn’t sure what Take Back The Bar was about.
We are excited to keep growing Take Back The Bar in 2014, and look forward to partnering with other Boston organizations. We hope to expose more people to our event, in order to take back Boston nightlife and try and make a difference in what it means to go out on a Friday night. Information regarding upcoming Take Back The Bar events can be found on our Facebook page or you can follow us on Twitter @TBTBBoston. Hope to see you at our next Take Back The Bar on January 17th!
image credits: Hollaback! Boston
Amanda Hess just wrote an important (if depressing) piece for PS Mag titled “Why Women Aren’t Allowed on the Internet.” In it, she chronicles the danger of being female on the internet, specifically the threats and harassment that many women receive for daring to use their voice or be visible in any way. It’s an important discussion to have, and one that is absolutely related to the problem of street harassment, which we work to eradicate here in Boston and around the world.
All harassment that happens in public space, whether it’s on the street or on the internet, are forms of gender-based violence. In fact, the impacts of both kinds of harassment are quite similar. When we talk about the impacts of street harassment, we recognize that it decreases people’s mobility by causing them to avoid certain neighborhoods or routes, that it has economic impacts because it affects where people will work or live, and that it has emotional impacts as well, causing stress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
These are the impacts of online harassment, from Amanda’s piece:
“But no matter how hard we attempt to ignore it, this type of gendered harassment—and the sheer volume of it—has severe implications for women’s status on the Internet. Threats of rape, death, and stalking can overpower our emotional bandwidth, take up our time, and cost us money through legal fees, online protection services, and missed wages… And as the Internet becomes increasingly central to the human experience, the ability of women to live and work freely online will be shaped, and too often limited, by the technology companies that host these threats, the constellation of local and federal law enforcement officers who investigate them, and the popular commentators who dismiss them—all arenas that remain dominated by men, many of whom have little personal understanding of what women face online every day.”
And that sounds a lot like what we experience as a result of street harassment. There are days when the sheer volume of the harassment is too much to ignore, and if and when we choose to report this harassment to someone, it is often shrugged off or minimized.
This is why it’s so important for us to fight for a world where women do not have to be afraid to go anywhere– and that includes virtual places. I know that I’ve experienced both kinds of harassment, street and internet, just for being a woman who dares to exist in these places. It’s not okay and it’s time that we start talking about the problem. When we started to talk about street harassment and recognized it as a universal issue that women and LGBTQ communities were experiencing, we began the journey towards word towards a solution. Hopefully, with brave women coming forward and sharing their experiences of internet harassment, we can watch the same thing start to happen.no comments
Happy New Year!
In case you missed them, we’re taking one look back at 2013 before diving into the new year. Join us for a review of our ten most popular posts from the past 365 days:
What were your favorite HOLLA moments of last year? What should we tackle in 2014? We’d love to hear your feedback!
image credit: Hollaback! Bostonno comments
Hey, HOLLAfriends! 2013 was QUITE a year for us! We turned two years old and had a year of immense growth, both literally (we added four new team members!) and figuratively (people know who we are!). We trained new volunteers, did countless workshops, and made so many valuable community connections.
Here are our top five accomplishments of 2013, in no particular order.
We released our very first State of the Streets report! We surveyed 543 Bostonians about their experience with street harassment and got a bunch of great press as a result! We were even on TV! Click here to read the report in full.
We got these offensive TapBooty ads removed from the MBTA, with just a few tweets and a well-placed interview with Boston Magazine!
We presented at conferences! From HBGC’s Youth Empowerment Conference to the New England Women’s Center Conference, we spoke to large audiences about our work, and will be speaking at several more next year.
We expanded our reach, marching in pride, hosting workshops, joining marches, launching our Take Back The Bar campaign, and training 15 new volunteers! We posted 138 of your stories of being street harassed in Boston.
What does the next year have in store for us? We can’t wait to find out. Join us on January 9th for our 2014 planning meeting and be part of the growing movement to make street harassment a thing of the past in Boston!
Recently Hollaback! Boston arrived at the Boston Common Bandstand to participate in the first March Against Mass Incarceration organized by the Boston Feminists for Liberation, amid a palpable energy buzzing in the crowd. Some of the other organizations in attendance that day included Boston Feminists for Liberation (BFL), Black and Pink, Jobs not Jails, and the Women’s Fight Back Network. We were proud to join this march against mass incarceration and have an opportunity to share Hollaback! Boston’s anti-criminalization stance when it comes to effectively addressing street harassment.
Hollaback! Boston team member Brandie was especially excited to attend explaining, “As a queer woman of color who was brought up in a low income, single parent home for most of my childhood and with a parent that is currently in prison, I believe that Boston Feminists for Liberation is doing incredible work in our community organizing local feminists to stand up to issues regarding reproductive rights, sex workers rights, LGBTQ rights, the prison industrial complex, and criminalization of people of color.”
The first stop on the march across Boston was Chinatown, where Nicole of BFL spoke about the crack down on sex work, the targeting of trans women of color and the bail fund that is set up to assist those arrested. Next the march stopped at Downtown Crossing where representatives from Youth Against Mass Incarceration spoke about the intersections of classism, racism, and sexism. The third stop on the march was Citizens Bank on Exchange St where speakers addressed union blocking against Boston Public School’s bus union and the importance of protecting union agreements. Immigration rights were addressed at City Hall, and another incredible poet spoke of his Latina mother’s struggles and achievements.
Hollaback! Boston team member Jamie spoke against the criminalization of street harassment and our work to end street harassment internationally in front of The Department of Mental Health.
The march concluded at the Nashua Street Jail where Jason Lydon, an organizer of Black and Pink, explained, “There are 639 people locked up in this jail as of yesterday. Almost everyone locked up here is awaiting trial. Black and Pink members have been locked up here over the past year-and-a-half or so. And thankfully … we’ve bailed them all out. But there are still 639 people that we need on this side of the wall.” Those locked up pounded on the windows as everyone outside raised their fists in solidarity. An organizer from NARAL also spoke out against shackling of prisoners during childbirth.
Often activists against street-harassment are asked if we’re interested in criminalizing street harassment. As Hollaback! Deputy Director Debjani Roy explains,
“Criminalizing verbal harassment and unwanted gestures is neither the final goal nor the ultimate solution to this problem and can, in fact, inadvertently work against the growth of an inclusive anti-harassment movement.”
Instead, Hollaback! Boston hopes to work locally on community safety audits, training local police forces on how to handle reports of harassment and by attending city council hearings to address street harassment as a problem with an emphasis on education, not criminalization, as the solution.
Thanks to Nicole Sullivan and Kelly Chudler of Boston Feminists for Liberation who both did a great job getting the word out and organizing this intersectional event. Meeting such inspiring and passionate activists from the Boston area was energizing and an important for our community.
image credits: Hollaback! Boston
video credit: Hollaback! Boston