RESPECT IS DUE – Youth Take a Stand against Street Harassment
[This text was originally published in AREA Chicago #2 in February 2006]
The Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team (YWAT) has been working since 2003 to raise awareness about street harassment. The YWAT is a youth-led, adult-supported social change project that empowers young women under 21 years old to take action on issues that affect their lives (particularly issues of violence against girls and young women). The YWAT believes that girls and young women should be free from violence. The team believes that through collective action, consciousness-raising, and organizing it can end violence against girls and young women.
The YWAT is reaching out to men and women young and old across Chicago to participate in a Citywide Day of Action against Street Harassment on May 4 th 2006. The YWAT would like everyone to hear and internalize the message that ” the streets belong to ALL OF US .” The goal of the citywide day of action is to have at least 100 different “actions” resisting street harassment across Chicago on the May 4 th 2006. The objectives of this campaign are to:
• Raise the public’s awareness that street harassment is a HARM and a form of violence against women and girls.
• Build a base of individuals who are committed to ending street harassment.
• Demand community accountability for the eradication of street harassment by involving ALL community members in this effort.
• Document the resistance to street harassment through the creation of a photographic exhibit and zine that will capture the events and actions of the day.
On January 28 th 2006, the YWAT hosted an informational meeting and members of the Pink Bloque ( www.pinkbloque.org ) presented a workshop about creative resistance to street harassment. Participants were given organizer’s packets that included information about street harassment and creative resistance.
The YWAT invites YOU to participate in the day of action against street harassment on May 4 th 2006. You can take “action” in whatever way you see fit – organize a rally in your neighborhood; hand out flyers at the El; present a workshop to your peers; dance on the street corner; create public art – the possibilities are endless. Whatever action you take, we only ask that you “document” it through photography and/or writing. We would like everyone who participates in the day action to be included in the photographic exhibit and zine that the YWAT is developing to capture the energy and power of the day.
If you are interested in planning an “action” to resist street harassment on May 4 th 2006, organizer’s packets are available by contacting the YWAT at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please make sure to include your name, mailing address, and phone number.
Some great resources about street harassment are available at: