Help Us Staff Up!

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Our team here at CASS gets a lot done: we’ve posted ads across DC’s public transit system to address sexual harassment, and we’ve built partnerships with nearly 40 local bars and restaurants working to prevent sexual and hate-based violence.

None of this would be possible without the help of our more than 30 volunteers…buuut this team is still only staffed by one full-time paid queer woman of color and one part-time trans woman of color.

In an era when protecting each other takes on new urgency, we need your help to ensure CASS’s work survives — and thrives.

We need to staff up to sustain this work; that’s where you come in! You can help sustain our work — and become a proud member of our Collective Action Circle — with a monthly gift of $15!

Your monthly gift will help us budget for a new staff position in October, so we can invest greater resources in awesome programs like the Safe Bar Collective. Boosted staff capacity will also help us apply for more grants, so we don’t have to keep coming back to generous donors like you every time.

Need more reasons to give? Check out why these recent additions to our Collective Action Circle decided to join:

“I decided to support CASS financially because I am incredibly excited by the groundbreaking work they are doing here in DC. From the Safe Bar Collective, to the Street Harassment Prevention Act, to Rethink Masculinity, to the best happy hour fundraisers around, CASS is working tirelessly to build a community of safety that actively resists sexism, racism, transphobia, and so much more . Resistance is a bit of a buzzword right now, but I chose to support CASS because they embody what resistance looks like and they also show me what is possible for us to accomplish together. I also feel like it’s important for me, as a man, to put my resources behind a community like CASS. I’ve benefited immensely from the countless hours of unpaid emotional support I have received in my lifetime and this is one of many ways I can honor my mom, my sister, my friends, and my co-workers.”  — Daniel D.

“Everyone deserves to exist safely in public spaces and to be respected in those spaces. But not everyone can, because of persistent imbalances in power that enable harassment and violence. As a donor, few groups besides CASS are addressing these imbalances in such a holistic way, and in the every day places where they play out: in parks, restaurants, public transit. This work is crucial, and it doesn’t have an end date—it’s lifelong. CASS needs to be able to plan, budget and build capacity for that. Sustaining donors make that possible.” Melissa Y.

P.S. Plus, if you become a monthly donor of $15 or more by September 22nd and we’ll thank you with a small gift!

Sustain the Resistance!

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CASS has made a big impact over the past five years. We’ve been working to create a DC where the seemingly impossible is possible: where bartenders readily intervene to stop harassers, where men teach each other the importance of emotional labor, where communities create safety for each other.

But did you know that we’re operating with only 1.5 staff members?! We’ve been grateful to have the amazing support of the DC community, which has tripled our budget in the past two years, and now we’re able to invest in another full-time staff position.

We’re kicking off our September campaign, and we need your DOLLARS. Your $15 a month ensures that we have the budget to keep up our radical organizing for safe spaces. That includes advocacy to pass legislation supporting those with intersecting identities, organizing to #FreeGiGi from state violence, and building safety in nightlife with training for bar staff and supportive employment for trans bartenders.

If you join our Collective Action Circle of loyal supporters by September 22nd, we’ll give you a small token of our appreciation! For:

$15/month: You’ll receive a sticker and 5 cards against harassment.
$30/month: You’ll receive the above, and you’ll be able to nominate one bar for a free Safe Bar Collective training.
$50/month: You’ll receive all of the above and receive free admission to our annual gala.
$75/month: You’ll receive all of the above and we’ll provide you and your organization with a free bystander intervention training.

Questions? Contact our Development Director Michela Masson at michela@collectiveactiondc.org.

Black women and girls speak out against street harassment following attack in Southwest DC

Tonight women from Ward 8 will organize Reclaiming Our Bodies, a food table and speakout to tell their community that women and girls deserve to feel safe from harassment in public spaces. Organized in response to an incident where a 16-year-old girl was harassed, followed, and threatened at a monthly food table in Ward 8, the speakout will give community members an opportunity to share their personal experiences with harassment and demonstrate support for non-criminal, community-based solutions to street harassment on a citywide level.

“Society will try to make women and girls believe that it is normal to be harassed in the street by men. We are told to cover up, watch where we go, watch what we do, and not be comfortable in our own skin. On the 23rd, we say NO to this culture,” said Schyla Pondexter-Moore, organizer of the speakout and mother of the attacked teen. “We have a right to wear what we want! We shouldn’t be telling women and girls to not get raped and harassed. We need to tell men not to rape and harass.”

According to a 2014 study by Stop Street Harassment, 65% of women will experience street harassment, a problem that disproportionately impacts women of color and LGBTQGNC people. Another study by the Black Women’s Blueprint shows that 60% of Black girls will be sexually abused by the time they turn 18, and a 2017 CDC report showed that Black women are twice as likely to be murdered than women of any other racial identity.

In D.C., pending legislation entitled the Street Harassment Prevention Act seeks to address gendered violence using a three-pronged approach, including citywide data collection, an awareness campaign offering support and resources to those targeted, and training for government employees on how to prevent and interrupt incidents of harassment. The bill will help to prevent incidents of violence against women with a non-punitive, non-criminal approach.

Press is invited to attend the speakout, which will take place at 3900 South Capitol Street Southwest on Wednesday, August 23rd from 5 to 9 PM.

Hate and Violence Will Not Be Tolerated in Our Community. 

Here at CASS, we’re all still reeling from the blatant racist events led by white supremacists last weekend in Charlottesville. We took to the streets last night in DC to show that hate and violence will not be tolerated.

 

We *all* deserve to feel safe — white supremacy and terrorism have no place here, Charlottesville, or anywhere. But just yesterday in our own DC community, a man with a swastika tattoo harassed people at the Ramsey pool in Eastern Market and called a young Black lifeguard the n-word.

With the significant increase in hate violence in the District since Trump’s election — including white supremacist posters in Bloomingdale, it’s critical that we speak out against hate, but also stay strong and take care of ourselves.

Don’t forget to:

  1. Hydrate.
  2. Surround yourself with supportive people and loved ones.
  3. Unplug. It’s important to stay vigilant with the news, but it’s also important to step away from the AP alerts sometimes.
  4. Sleep.
  5. Breathe.

Together, we believe we can create a community that is safe for *everyone.*

We Spoke Out: Now, Let’s Keep Pushing to #PassSHPA!

We had a powerful day of testimonies at the DC City Council meeting on July 12th in support of the Street Harassment Prevention act (SHPA).  

“When I was 21, two men drugged me at a bar and raped me. If my bartender had noticed the signs of sexual aggression, or the signs of date rape drugs, my life could have been different. If another patron had known how to recognize the signs of two men preparing to sexually assault a 21-year- old man, perhaps I would know what justice looks like. At the hospital, I reported it to the police. After completing a rape kit, the first words out of my detective’s mouth were, “We have these gay boys that go home with each other every night, wake up with their wallets missing, and expect us to do something about it.” Discrimination, be it overt or subtle, leads individuals to mistrust the very systems intended to provide safety after a crisis. Leaving us wondering, where do we go for help? … We can ensure other people don’t suffer the same fate. Because this isn’t just my story. It’s the story of thousands — thousands of people face dangerous street harassment in our city.” – Adam Swanson

“The [Street Harassment Prevention Act] cannot come at more important moment. I’m more scared than I used to be. I am concerned that we are living in times with increasing violence against women and religious and ethnic minorities. The horrible event in Portland where fellow passengers were killed for standing up to a man who was harassing two African American women, one in a hijab, shows the importance that law enforcement and the wider public be trained to intervene when street harassment occurs, especially in ways that de-escalate a situation.” – Jennifer Bianca Browning

We’re still collecting all of the testimonies, but a few of them are up here.

The bill will broaden the definition of street harassment to include our most marginalized communities. And the SHPA will create mechanisms of data collection and training requirements to make sure that everyone’s experience of street harassment is recognized and addressed.

Here’s How You Can Help Pass SHPA:

1) Call your councilmember and tell them why you support the bill. Check your Ward. If you or your friends live in Wards 3 or 7, call or Tweet at your councilmembers and tell them to #PassSHPA. At-large members represent all of DC, so everyone should call and Tweet at Councilmember Bonds.

Here’s a sample phone script: Hi, my name is _______ and I’m a DC resident. I’m calling to ask Councilmember [Your Councilmember or At-Large Councilmember] to pass the Street Harassment Prevention Act. In a time of rising hate and harassment that disproportionately affects women and LGBTQ people of color, we need community-based, non-criminal solutions like education, awareness, and training to make DC safer for everyone. Thank you.

Here’s a sample Tweet: Harassment is on the rise in the District. As a concerned resident, I’m asking you to take action – #PassSHPA! [Twitter handle of your Councilmember or At-Large Councilmember]

And here is the contact information you can plug in:

  • Ward 3: Contact Councilmember Mary Cheh at (202) 724-8062 or on Twitter at @MaryCheh
  • Ward 7: Councilmember Vincent Gray at (202) 724-8068 or on Twitter at @VinceGrayWard7
  • At-Large: Councilmember Anita Bonds at (202) 724-8064 or on Twitter at @AnitaBondsDC

2) Tweet your general support.

3) Speak out against street harassment on August 23rd.

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