End Street Harassment Now
When I'm not blogging or working, I'm volunteering for Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), a rad local organization in DC that combats street harassment and gender-based violence. I'm on the Policy and Advocacy Team, and we have an exciting new initiative to prevent street harassment in Washington, DC. I was writing a blog post for the CASS website, so I thought I'd publish my first draft here for you lovely readers. Enjoy, and let me know if you're interested in getting involved!
For far too many of us, street harassment is a fact of daily life. Catcalling, or sexual harassment, has become part of mainstream conversation. Street harassment, however, manifests in a much broader array of dangerous ways. Someone might be targeted by a harasser for any number of reasons, including actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, and housing status. With a significant increase in hate crimes in the District since Trump's election - the latest having occurred at American University just two weeks ago - Collective Action for Safe Spaces is more committed than ever to addressing all types of street harassment in the District. That's why we partnered with DC City Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau to introduce the Street Harassment Prevention Act of 2017.
The Street Harassment Prevention Act, which we affectionately call the SHPA, will broaden the definition of street harassment to include our most vulnerable and marginalized communities. Much more than just catcalling, street harassment disproportionately affects people of color and trans/gender-nonconforming folks, and the SHPA will create mechanisms of data collection and training requirements to make sure that everyone's experience of street harassment is recognized and addressed. Explicitly anti-criminalization, CASS and our partner organizations know that we need holistic solutions to the problem of street harassment that rely on community-based initiatives rather than law enforcement.
The time has come to pass the Street Harassment Prevention Act, and we need your help. Join us on July 12th to pack the hearing room and tell City Council that we want effective solutions to street harassment now. Sign up to testify in person or via written statement in July, and stay tuned for a testimony prep session that will equip you for the hearing room. This is the perfect opportunity to engage in local activism and protect your friends and neighbors - join us to #PassSHPA!