Brittany Oliver, Baltimore, MD, USA, SSH Blog Correspondent
As activists across the nation work to end street harassment in their cities, there is one organization that is doing some serious work in making our streets safer: Hollaback! Baltimore. As a non-profit, Hollaback! Baltimore is currently on a mission to building a network of supportive non-threatening environments in Baltimore City.
This month Hollaback! Baltimore are encouraging local businesses in Baltimore City to sign the Safer Space Campaign Pledge, which declares their commitment to ending street harassment against women and LGBTQUIA people. This pledge would require staff to take complaints seriously, deal with the harasser, and offer support resources as needed.
By signing the pledge, each venue is given a packet of resources to assist them with keeping their space safer for guests. The packet includes a background on the issue, simple things to do and not do, the official Hollaback! Employer’s Guide to Ending Street Harassment, and a poster to hang publicly so guests will know what won’t be tolerated.
According to Hollaback! Baltimore, this campaign began in March 2013 when Hollaback! London formed a partnership with Fabric, a local club that was fed up with hearing that women were being harassed in their venue. The complaints they received motivated the club to make a difference, so they partnered with Hollaback! London to develop a campaign that would work directly with venues to ensure their current employees and security policies are effective. After hearing about their success with the campaign, Hollback! Baltimore felt Baltimore City needed a similar campaign. This is what they created:
By signing this pledge, we the undersigned do hereby agree to:
* Post the “Safer Space” poster provided by Hollaback! Baltimore in a prominent place for all employees/staff/volunteers and attendees/customers to see
* Take complaints of harassment, discrimination, and violence against customers or staff seriously
* Remove any offending parties from our space
* Ensure our staff, particularly those responsible for security, are aware of our policies
* Use the resources given to us by Hollaback! Baltimore to better understand the issues at hand as well as the best methods for dealing with them
* Inform victims of their right to share their story publicly and anonymously on Hollaback! (via the website or free phone app) by handing out informational postcards
I believe this campaign will not only help to make streets safer, but it will hold venue owners accountable for what goes on during business hours. You shouldn’t have to be an activist to want to make a difference. Whether you’re a teacher, police officer, business owner, janitor, or student, all members of the community should be willing to make our streets safer for everyone.
Ending street harassment has to be a team effort if we want to get the message across that harassment is NOT OKAY. Through this campaign, local businesses can now become effective agents of change by making their establishments harassment free for everyone.
To learn more Hollaback! Baltimore and the Safer Space Campaign, visit http://bmore.ihollaback.org/
Brittany Oliver is a recent graduate of Towson University and works in the non-profit communications sector and supports local anti-street harassment advocacy through Hollaback! Baltimore. She blogs at brittuniverse.wordpress.com and publicly rants on Twitter, @btiara3.Share on Facebook