If you were one of nearly 200 people (including 36 awesome volunteers!) who participated in the 19th Amendment Alleycat this past Saturday, then you know that it was a complete success!
The event, an all-women, scavenger-style bike race benefiting CASS, was the epitome of *empowering.* Organized by two women bikers who are active in the city’s cycling community, the alleycat was a fun experience to help women feel comfortable and confident biking on the DC streets. The event helped introduce more women to the male-dominated world of alleycats while also highlighting DC’s role in the women’s rights movement. Bikers visited locations like the Daughters of the American Revolution Hall and Betty Friedan’s home, to task-oriented checkpoints, like getting a business card from a local woman-owned business. Not only was it the largest alleycat the city has seen since the ’90s, it also raised nearly $800 for CASS!
The alleycat was a fun and empowering way to raise awareness and foster dialogue around public sexual harassment, a widespread problem that disproportionately affects women and LGBT folks, severely limiting their safety and restricting their mobility. Since CASS was founded in 2009, we’ve received hundreds of stories of street harassment faced by DC residents. Many folks (including the CASS team!) find biking to be an empowering way to avoid street harassment; however, we still receive stories of people about experiencing harassment while cycling. A study by CASS conducted this summer found that 90 percent of DC respondents report experiencing public sexual harassment, including verbal harassment, leering, stalking and groping.
CASS’s work, including the 19th Amendment Alleycat, is part of a global movement to make public spaces safer for women and LGBT folks. The 19th Amendment Alleycat came exactly one week after women bikers reclaimed the streets in Cairo, Egypt, and just a few days after 300 women in India took their bikes to the streets. The DC alleycat was in solidarity with these global efforts in helping spread the message that everyone — no matter what you look like or who you love — deserves to be able to move freely in public without the fear of sexual harassment and assault. CASS was inspired by all the folks who made it out to Saturday’s event! We give a special thanks to the bad@$$ women who participated in the event, the 36 amazing volunteers, the 24 rad sponsors (can we talk about how awesome those prizes were?!) and — last but not least — the organizers, Stef and Bronwen. We thank the DC community for coming together to support a great cause! All funds raised will support our programming to prevent public sexual harassment and sexual assault. For those of you who wanted to contribute but didn’t have cash or were unable to attend the alleycat, it’s not too late to send some love our way!
Tasks for the 19th Amendment Alleycat included:
- Find the names of the 8 women on the Vietnam Memorial Wall,
- Return a missing toy soldier to Clara Barton’s Missing Soldier’s Office in Chinatown
- Answer this question, “The first female member of the Cabinet served as the Secretary of the Department of ____” (Answer: Labor)
- Answer a question about the Daughter’s of the American Revolution building
- Grab a pamphlet at the National Museum of Women in the Arts
- Take a team photo at the WABA Women & Bicycles photobooth (see pics below!)
- Name a song played by Soundbike DC, who was cruising down the parade route of the 1913 Woman’s Suffrage Parade (i.e. Pennsylvania cycletrack)
- At Tubman Elementary playground where there’s a U.S. map painted on asphalt, jump on one of the first five states to ratify the 19th amendment.