On Sunday, I declared March 20, the First Day of Spring, to be Anti-Street Harassment Day. Already more than 120 people have RSVPed to participate via Facebook, plus many more via Twitter. I hope you will, too. I’m excited to reveal what I’ll be doing on March 20 and I invite everyone who lives or works in Washington, DC, to participate, too!
HollaBack DC! and I are organizing the FIRST Community Safety Audit to be conducted in Washington, DC, and the first to be conducted in the US in the past 15 years. This means we are organizing groups of people, training group leaders, and giving everyone a checklist of items to look for as they walk a few blocks in DC. Participants will be looking for specific items that will help indicate if the area is safe and inclusive for everyone.
In order to conduct audits in all 8 Wards, we need at least 80 volunteers. The time commitment is about two hours on March 20 and two hours on March 23. Please sign up and ask your friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers who work or live in Washington, DC, to sign up too.
Where did this idea come from?
When I attended an international conference on safe cities for women held in India last November, I learned about the community safety audits and immediately wanted to bring the initiative to the USA. People have conducted Community Safety Audits since 1989, when the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence against Women & Children (METRAC) developed it in Toronto. Since then, they’ve been conducted in cities across Canada and internationally in cities in Russia, the UK, India, South Africa, and Tanzania. Our audit is adapted from METRAC’s.
This is your chance to be part of history!
Please sign up to volunteer for this important initiative in March. We want volunteers from all demographics and we will work to ensure that individuals with special mobility needs and/or childcare needs can participate.
The outcomes of the audit will be used to make recommendations to the DC City Council and other local decision-makers. In April (date TBD) we will announce those asks at an anti-street harassment rally, which we hope will lead to the first ever DC City Council hearing on street harassment, following in the footsteps of New York City. So participating in the community safety audit is an opportunity to be part of history and to help establish a model for other cities to use.
Let’s all work together to take a good look at our city and see what we’d like to fix!