Story, Uncategorized

HOLLA ON THE GO: Searched while working

on April 1st while working on a vehicle an officer approached me and did an illegal search ….I WAS WORKING…..

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This Weekend: Join in the Goddess Walk in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

Amazing activist Sweet Lorraine is organizing a Goddess walk in Brooklyn Bed-Stuy this Saturday, August 24th.

The rally begins at Fulton park, 1691 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11233, at 12 noon.  The walk begins at 1pm and goes until 4pm.

Sweet Lorraine says,

“The Goddess Walk is an ANTI- STREET HARASSMENT Rally that will take place at FULTON PARK in BED-STUY, BROOKLYN.

I invite Black women, LGBTQ folk and our Allies to walk in solidarity & sisterhood for RESPECT IN THE STREETS. “

We strongly support their amazing work and encourage folks to visit the event’s facebook page and join in.

They ask that folks wear whatever makes them feel like a goddess.  Their facebook page writes that you can bring roses, signs, posters, and banners that express your desire to be respected regardless of your gender, race, color, and/or sexual orientation.

After the event, there will be “Spoken WORD, Live DRUMMING, SINGING, DANCING, & Small Group Self -Defense Demonstrations in the park!”.

If you would like to know more, check out this interview with Sweet Lorraine about the event by Essence Revealed.

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App Will Provide New Yorkers the Opportunity to Immediately Report Harassment and City to Identify Possible Trouble Spots That Welcome Crime, Such as Dark Streets and Areas in Need of Repair

ss1(August 19, 2013) – Emily May, Executive Director of Hollaback! was joined by Speaker Christine Quinn, her wife Kim Catullo, and Council Member Diana Reyna today to unveil a new, targeted system to report sexual harassment to New York City Councilmembers via iPhone and Droid app.  Speaker Quinn also released a plan for assessing the safety of neighborhoods across the city, block by block, using community-led safety audits. By gathering information in a coordinated way, the city will be able to better direct resources and more effectively combat harassment.

Quinn stated, “People who violate women either by their actions or words won’t be able to hide any longer. We will know who they are, what they do, where they do it – and we will put it to an end. By coupling valuable information with targeted resources we will arm ourselves with the tools we need to put an end to street violence and harassment. Public spaces belong to all New Yorkers, and street harassment is not a price women and LGBT New Yorkers have to pay for walking around New York City’s neighborhoods.”

This isn’t just an app, this is history. Whether you experienced harassment or you witnessed it and tried to help, your report will make New York City safer for everyone. After we pilot this here, we hope to scale it to cities globally,” said Emily May, Executive Director of Hollaback!.

ss2The app, launched today, will enable users to report valuable information on harassment in real time. The reporting builds on an existing app run by Hollaback!, a non-profit organization that works to end street harassment. The City Council allocated $20,000 last year towards creating an expanded version of Hollaback!’s app. The current app allows users to submit reports of street harassment, assault and violence but is limited to qualitative narratives; expanding the app to include quantitative data will provide new information for evaluation and will allow the city to direct resources where they are most needed.

Information to be collected on the app will include demographics, locational information and information on the specifics of an incident or attack, as well as what, if any, formal reporting process the person went through. With this new tool, New York City will be the first city to undertake an effort to gather the data needed to understand scope of street harassment and how to reduce incidents of harassment.

Quinn also committed to conducting neighborhood audits in order to identify the safety of individual communities and where improvements are needed. The city will work with local community leaders to form teams with a variety of backgrounds and expertise to survey neighborhoods and assess factors impacting safety and the likelihood of street harassment occurring. The surveys will result in increased community engagement and recommendations for concrete improvements specific to each neighborhood’s needs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, non-contact unwanted sexual experiences including street harassment are the most prevalent form of sexual violence for both men and women. According to a joint study conducted by Hollaback! and the Worker Institute at Cornell University, 96 percent of respondents reported that they or colleague had been targeted by street harassment, with only five percent reporting the incident to security or a city authority.

Hollaback! is a non-profit organization that works to end street harassment and violence by providing training and developing innovative strategies. Since January 2011, Hollaback! has trained more than 200 young people to be leaders in their local communities in the effort to end street harassment.


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assault, groping, nonverbal harassment, Story, Uncategorized

Liz’s Story: “I thought it was an accident”

I was on the 6 train visiting New York and a short man ran onto my car right as the doors were closing. The train was very crowded and he pressed himself behind me which I thought was an accident. I felt something touching my butt and I thought maybe it was someone’s bag. When I moved the man moved with me and the touching did not stop. I then thought the man was pressing his hand against my butt and started to panic because I have never experienced any harassment and did not know what to do. I tried to move around again but there was no room and he kept saying “Sorry, sorry.” At the next stop he quickly ran off the train and I turned to my mom and said “was that man touching my butt?”  She responded saying that she could see his hands but he was pressing up against me strangely and moving when I moved. When we got off and started to walk my mom told me that it looked like my tampon had leaked and it was on my dress so I went to the bathroom to change my tampon and looked at the mark closer only to realize that there was semen on my dress and I man was not touching me with his hand but his penis. I did not know what to do and I am still shocked, confused and horrified.

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Rally Against Street Harassment a Major Success!

On April 13th, Hollaback! organized a rally for International Anti-Street Harassment Week!   The rally drew more than 300 participants who raised awareness on what street harassment is, who it affects and how to fight it.

Within the event, a skit illustrated by a group of children depicted why street harassment is harmful, and a chalk-walk party where participants wrote positive messages against street harassment in and around the park allowed the large group of attendees to raise awareness for passersby.

City Council Members joined their voices in the fight against street harassment: “As Chair of the Women’s Issues Committee, I am very concerned about street harassment and the effects it has on many women,” Council Member Julissa Ferreras said. “By joining in the annual rally against street harassment, I am proud to send a public message both to those who harass and those who have been harassed – this behavior is not acceptable. I will continue to work with our partners in leadership to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers on our streets.”

“Street harassment is the most prevalent form of gender-based violence and the least legislated against,” said Emily May, Executive Director of Hollaback!. “I am proud to come together with our co-sponsors and fellow New Yorkers to demand a city where everyone has the right to feel safe and confident when they walk down the street.”

As defined by STOP Street Harassment, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending gender-based street harassment worldwide that co-sponsored the event, street harassment is any action or comment between strangers in public places that is disrespectful, unwelcome, threatening and/or harassing and is motivated by gender.

Gender-based street harassment, such as catcalls, sexist comments, public masturbation, groping, stalking and assault, makes public places unfriendly and even scary for many girls, women and LGBQT individuals. Street harassment limits women’s peace of mind and freedom, making it a gender equality and human rights issue.

The mobility of all members of the LGBQT community is often restricted as well because of harassment and hateful violence motivated by the person’s actual or perceived gender expression or sexual orientation.

On an international level, countries refer to street harassment by different names. In India and Bangladesh, it’s termed “eve teasing,” and in countries like Egypt, it’s called “public sexual harassment.”

International Anti-Street Harassment Week, marked as the second week in April this year, provides an opportunity to collectively raise awareness that street harassment happens, and that it is not acceptable.

To aid in the end of street harassment in New York City, several elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, Council Member Brad Lander, Council Member Stephen Levin and Council Member Darlene Mealy, attended the rally and spoke about the importance of International Street Harassment Week.

“Everyone deserves the right to walk the streets of our city free from fear,” Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer said. “International Street Harassment Week reminds us that we must continue to fight for this right by bringing the issue of street harassment into the spotlight and breaking down the cultural forces that support it. I commend Council Member Ferreras, Hollaback!, STEPS to End Family Violence, Let Your Voice Be Heard Radio and their partners for organizing such an important awareness-raising event. By working together, we can end street harassment and gender-based violence once and for all.”

“Everyone has the right to walk the street without the intimidation of street harassment,” Council Member Brad Lander said. “We all have a responsibility to speak out, but thank you to Councilmember Ferreras, Hollaback!, and all the other advocates for leading the charge toward safer streets for us all.”

“All women and men deserve the right to walk down the street in peace,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “Street harassment is bullying and cannot be tolerated – there are no exceptions. I want to thank Hollaback! for their tireless efforts in making sure New York City is free of street harassment.”

“Issues of power and the over-sexualization of women in our culture are what drive street harassment. We live in a culture that perpetuates male dominance and the notion that it is somehow OK to overstep boundaries of decency,” Council Member Darlene Mealy said. “We need to spread awareness of this very real issue for all women in New York City and combat the problem.”

In addition to the elected officials who attended the rally, several individuals who have experienced street harassment first-hand as well as representative from more than 20 organizations highlighted the importance of presenting a unified voice to stop harassment from occurring not only in the City, but in the world.

The organizations in attendance included STOP Street Harassment, RAPP Truman Peer Leaders, STEPS to End Family Violence, Girls for Gender Equity, Coalition for Gender Equity in Schools, The Brooklyn Movement Center, UN Women, One Billion Rising, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, Center Against Domestic Violence, New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, Cornell University ILR School and The Center Against Domestic Violence.

“The Growing movement against sexual violence and harassment in public spaces is one of the most important new global movements of the decade,” said Anastasia Posadskaya-Vanderbeck, Global Manager of UN Women Safe Cities Global Initiative.

“The Brooklyn Movement Center is not here to continue the criminalization of Black men,” said Marly Pierre-Louis, Communications Organizer of Brooklyn Movement Center. “We’re here to organize women of color in Bed-Stuy to start a community dialogue about how we can make public spaces safe and free of intimidation.”

“In our 38 years of helping people prevent, counter and heal from all different types of abuse, we have seen first-hand the devastating effects of violence perpetrated specifically against women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals and youth on NYC’s streets. At CAE we believe everyone has the right to live free from violence, to walk the streets and follow our pursuits without being harassed, denigrated and traumatized,” Tracy Hobson, Executive Director of The Center For Anti-Violence Education, said. “Young people in particular, harassment turns life experiences that could be enriching and strengthening into ones that erode their confidence and self-worth. CAE actively helps young and adult women and LGBTQ communities feel strong, safe, and independent. We believe that street harassment is a community issue and we must address it with a strong community response. When we stand together, we are stronger.”

“Street harassment is the most common way a person experiences sexual harassment around the world,” said Connie Márquez, Deputy Director of Steps to End Family Violence. “STEPS to End Family Violence is honored to stand with our national and international partners to highlight and help reduce this social epidemic and bring safety to our communities, schools and homes.”

“Sisters in Strength Youth Organizers are participating in the Stop Street Harassment rally to represent young women and bring awareness about street harassment,” said the Sisters in Strength Youth Organizers of Girls for Gender Equity, a youth leadership program for young women of color. “We believe we and all people have the right to walk down the street without being hollered at and disrespected.  We hope that our actions can help put an end to street harassment, that it will no longer be a norm in society, and that our children will not have to be victimized by it.”

As the event closed with participants leaving positive messages written in chalk around the park, such as “My name is not ‘Baby'” and “I am not a dog, do not whistle at me,” Council Member Ferreras reflected upon the success in broadening the awareness of street harassment.

“This rally successfully embodied the message that street harassment must be stopped,” Ferreras said. “As people walk the streets around the park, I hope the chalk messages left by the participants resonates with them. Everyone deserves respect.” 

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Denim Day PSA

College students gather together to raise awareness against sexual assault. Join them on the steps of City Hall April 24 @ 12pm!

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Letter From Our Deputy Director: We Need Volunteers March 23rd!


Dear Tri-State Area Hollabackers!,


WE NEED YOUR HELP! On Saturday, March 23rd, Eileen Fisher will donate 10% of their total sales throughout all 9 of their New York stores to Hollaback! In addition to the financial support, Eileen Fisher is inviting us to set up tables in their stores to educate their customers about how to respond to, and ultimately end street harassment! Needless to say, this is an incredible opportunity.

In order to make this partnership a success, we need 2 volunteers in each of the 9 stores from 12-5pm on March 23rd to raise awareness about street harassment and Hollaback!’s efforts to end it. You’ll be paired with a member of our board or staff and actively interact with the customers throughout the day. We have 10 volunteers signed up so far — and we need 7 more.

If you are able to help out that day, please reach out to me at [email protected].

Thanks for your support! And let me know if you have any questions.


Deputy Director, Hollaback!


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Story, Uncategorized

HOLLA ON THE GO: F is for #fail

On the F train, which was almost empty, I was reading a book in one hand and holding onto the bar with another. Suddenly my purse swung up and hit me in the face. I turned around and asked the guy behind me why he punched my purse. He said I was touching his butt. Untrue. I said, excuse me sir. If you are being disrupted by my purse, you can use your words and ask me nicely to move it. You may not hit me or my belongings. Do you understand me? Eventually he conceded.

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Hollaback! Statement on Holding Assembly Member Vito Lopez Accountable for his Serial Sexual Harassment

Earlier today, the New York Post reported that 71-year-old New York State Assembly Member Vito J. Lopez, an alleged serial workplace sexual harasser “made comments about a 14-year-old intern, how attractive she dressed, and [that] he wanted one of the female staffers to dress in a sexy way like this 14-year-old.”

It gets worse — this was not an isolated instance, but a part of a disturbing pattern of sexual misconduct.  This past summer, an Assembly Ethics Committee report regarding Lopez and two women who had worked in his office stated: “There were multiple incidents of unwelcome physical conduct toward one complainant, wherein you put your hand on her leg, she removed your hand, and you then put your hand between her upper thighs, putting your hand as far up between her legs as you could go.”  Soon after, it was discovered that two different former employees had previously notified the Assembly of Lopez’s sexual harassment, resulting not in a referral to the Assembly Ethics Committee, but rather a confidential settlement which required the employee harassment victims to resign from their jobs.  Member Lopez, the harasser, was not required to resign, and he remains in office.

As an organization that combats sexual harassment, Hollaback! finds this completely unacceptable, and we have previously called upon Lopez to resign. We reinstate that call and also demand that the Assembly, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, the Legislative Ethics Commission, and the public hold Member Lopez accountable for his inexcusable behavior towards his employees. A sexual harasser does not deserve to be in a position of power and public trust.  If we tolerate this behavior, it emboldens harassers and silences victims.

We applaud the former employees for their HOLLAs. We’ve got your back.

For more information:

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