Dear Community: You Are Collective Action All-Stars!

collective action for safe spaces DC

Dear Community: You Are Collective Action All-Stars!

You helped us raise $12,000 at our 5th Anniversary Bash at Room & Board!!!

Last year you impressed us, and this year you *completely blew us away* with twice the generosity. You all are truly amazing.

Because it’s National Volunteer Week — and also because they are FANTASTIC — A special shout out to our volunteers, without whom we could never throw such an amazing party! You inspire and energize us so much, and we are so grateful for your love.

Another BIG shout out to our sponsors, especially Room and BoardDC BrauMonument Fine WinesMatchbox 14th St., and all of our generous silent auction donors. It means everything to have community partners like you in our corner!

Our amazing sponsors!

If you haven’t seen them yet, check out the event photos!
But first, let us tell you a little but about just how far your donation will go.

Some of you may have seen this week’s big news: People in DC who choose to report sexual assault to the police will now be protected by the Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Act. The passage of this bill was driven by the efforts of a coalition of survivors and local service providers, led by yours truly, to educate policymakers on the importance of ensuring that systems serve *survivors*. This mobilization of survivor voices for the betterment of public policy is unprecedented in DC (unless you count our WMATA advocacy!) What does all this mean?

It means that together, you and CASS are making survivor voices a force to be reckoned with by decision makers all over the city. When you support our work, every one of your dollars makes groundbreaking advocacy such as this possible.

Here are a few more things we’re looking forward to bring to you in 2014:

Making DC Bars Safer Spaces

We’re piloting our new program to train bar staff to recognize sexual aggression and intervene before things get dangerous! We want to roll this out around the city and have activists behind every bar. And check out this great coverage of our program from Slate!

Training New Anti-Harassment Activists

We’re training more people in YOUR communities to respond to harassment and change the culture to stop it once and for all! Next up: young people at the Latin American Youth Center. We’re so excited!

Providing Safe Travel Options for Women & LGBT Folks

We’re looking forward to launching our long-awaited safe rides program soon!

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If you haven’t yet, please make sure you sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We will be updating you on all the ways we’re putting your donations to work. We cannot wait for you to see, firsthand, how much of a difference you’re making.

Couldn’t make it to our 5th anniversary party but want to donate? Give now!


Thank You For Helping End Public Sexual Harassment & Assault!

Thank you, CASS community!


From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone who came out last night to celebrate our 5th anniversary and support our work to make DC safe!

We cannot express how encouraging it was to see a sold out (!) room full of community members committed to ending public sexual harassment and assault. As you know, all proceeds go to our programming to end public sexual harassment and assault in DC:

>> Conducting Empowering Workshops & Trainings
>> Advocating for Survivors of Sexual Assault
>> Preventing Sexual Harassment & Assault on Metro
>> Making Bars Safer
>> Sharing Stories to Raise Awareness & Spur Action
>> Providing Safe Travel Options for Women & LGBT Folks

As a volunteer-run organization, we truly cannot do this work without you. Thank you for joining in on our vision to create a safer DC for all people. We’re inspired by your support and dedication to such an important cause that affects so many people in our city.

In gratitude,

CASS Staff
Board of Directors
Lights, Camera, (Collective) Action Host Committee

P.S. Miss the party or want to give more? You can donate at any time!


What’s In Store Tonight? Vegan Deliciousness!

Can you say “yum?”

Our 5th anniversary bash, “Lights, Camera (Collective) Action!” takes place tonight! We’re pulling out all the stops as we celebrate five years of working to make DC safe, including an open bar, live jazz, DJ tunes, desserts, a photobooth, live portraits, free massages, a silent auction and more. We’re especially pumped about the vegan snacks by Stephanie (Stef) Tarnowsky, owner of Stefwiches. Stef will be providing snacks to get your taste buds watering: Kale ‘caesar’ salad cups with toasted chickpeas, mini tacos two-ways (smoked black beans and spicy chix’n) and roasted red pepper & walnut spread with parsley chimichurri on crostini! YUM. Here’s what Stef has to say about CASS.

Stefwiches is a one-woman business that has been able to grow & thrive with the support and help of lots of awesome people. For me, food isn’t just about mindlessly consuming – food and cooking is creative; it’s something that can create common ground & bring people together; and, being vegan means it’s something I can do compassionately as well. That being said, the food I make is for everyone, vegan or not, because tasty, nourishing food is something everyone can get behind!

Being able to work this CASS event is really important because I hugely appreciate the work & education CASS provides for our community. As a woman, the fight against street harassment and assault is something I personally can identify with. Educating people on all sides about the implications of harassment and the importance of creating safe, comfortable spaces is something Stefwiches and myself are honored to be a part of.


P.S. Tickets to tonight’s bash are on track to sell out.
Get yours before it’s too late!

One more time, here’s what Stef will be making to treat your taste buds:

Kale ‘caesar’ salad cups with toasted chickpeas!
Mini tacos two-ways; smoked black beans & spicy chix’n!
Roasted red pepper & walnut spread with parsley chimichurri on crostini!


CASS loves Stef & Stefwiches!

“Why I Support CASS:” An Interview with DC Artist, Rose Jaffe!

How’s that for awesome art? DC artist and acitvist, Rose Jaffe.

This Thursday, we’re celebrating our 5th anniversary with a blowout party, the second annual “Lights, Camera (Collective!) Action!” In addition to live jazz, vegan snacks, an open bar by DC Brau, a photobooth, free massages and a silent auction featuring local loot, the event will feature live portraits (yes, drawn live!) by DC artist, Rose Jaffe! We spoke with Rose about her work and why she supports CASS.

Can you talk about why you want to support CASS’s work?

Organizations like CASS are critical to our cultural climate today in many ways – from spreading integral awareness to actively fighting against street harassment by empowering women with a platform for their voices. As a local artist, I look to work with local organization whose goals involve bettering our community. I have always believed art should serve a greater purpose, and supporting CASS with my art, time and energy is one of the ways I am making that happen. As an artist, an activist and a woman, I support CASS, and I want to use my skills to further their efforts. 

You’ve done a lot of art to support political movements and campaigns. Do you think street harassment is a political issue? Why?

Yes, I think lines can be drawn directly from the individual instances of harassment that happen on the street to broad political questions. My opinion is that street harassment is first a social issue, but change is hindered by a lack of political will to address the status quo. There needs to be a larger focus and attention paid to how harassment affects women’s lives, not only on a daily basis, but also lifelong. This attention can and should come in part from the political players we have here in Washington. With awareness at a political level (and an understanding that this is a high priority issue for many) in D.C., necessary change can be made.

What do you have in store for the future, on this issue and on others?

I am thrilled to be collaborating with CASS and DC artist ADAPT on a community mural this summer. Beyond that I am working hard everyday with my middle and high school students on exciting art projects from sculpture to painting and mural making. I teach art, but even more than that, I teach the importance of empowerment at a young age to the young women and men at my school. I think it is everyone’s job to influence youth with critical themes of respect, acceptance and inner strength in order to face darker parts of society we are still working hard to change. I look forward to continuing to learn from and work with some incredible and influential groups like CASS – and use art as a tool for change!

Want to get your portrait done by Rose?
Grab your tix to “Lights, Camera (Collective!) Action!” (3/27) before they sell out!
All proceeds go to our programming to prevent sexual harassment & assault. 

Scroll down to check out some awesome portraits by Rose. Visit her website and Tumblr for more! 

Rose drawing caricatures at last year’s CASS fundraiser.

Portrait by Rose Jaffe

Portrait by Rose Jaffe

Portrait by Rose Jaffe

Portrait by DC artist Rose Jaffe

Portrait by Rose Jaffe

Women’s History Month: DC’s History of Anti-Sexual Harassment Organizing, Then & Now

This month, CASS is celebrating five years of working to end public sexual harassment & assault in DC. But the movement to end street harassment in DC goes back DECADES!

In the early 1920s, the “Anti-Flirt Club” was founded in DC to protect young women and girls from unwelcome attention from men in automobiles and on street corners. The Anti-Flirt Club’s President, Alice Reighly, lived at 1400 Harvard Street in what is now Columbia Heights. In the past five years, CASS has held and helped organize a number of anti-street harassment events in the Columbia Heights area (as well as across the city!), including anti-harassment marches, community safety audits and peace vigils and protests in response to anti-LGBT violence.

March is Women’s History Month and, fittingly enough, this month marks 91 years since the Anti-Flirt Club held the first-ever “Anti-Flirt Week” to raise awareness around and prevent public sexual harassment in DC. We’re proud to partner with Stop Street Harassment to kick-off the 3rd annual International Anti-Street Harassment Week on March 30th. (See below for details!)

We’re proud to be continuing the legacy of anti-harassment work in DC. Check out our recent 12 Days of CASS campaign to see just some of the work we’ve accomplished in the last five years, from our work to make DC metro safer to championing the rights of survivors.

Here’s some anti-sexual violence programming and events that CASS has in store in the coming weeks.

Help Us Celebrate Our 5th Anniversary!
Thursday, March 27, 6:00-8:30pm
Our small volunteer staff has accomplished so much together in the past year five years. In the last year alone, we launched a program to train bar staff to prevent sexual assaultorganized survivors and activists to advocate for sexual assault reforms and conducted a number of community workshops! Come celebrate with us, and hear what else we have up our sleeves for 2014 and beyond.

Workshop: How to Empower Your Community and Yourself to End Street Harassment
Sunday, March 23, 1:00-2:30pm, Bloombars, 3222 11th St NW
This workshop will explore the emotional reality of street harassment and introduce prevention and empowerment strategies that can be used by people who experience sexual harassment in public. Focusing on tactics that build community rather than divide it, we’ll give you some tools to respond assertively to harassers, and discuss ideas for mobilizing your friends, family, and community to change the culture and end public sexual harassment and assault.

Reclaim Public Spaces: Sidewalk Chalking in Dupont!
Sunday, March 30, 2:00-3:30pm, Dupont Circle
On March 30, CASS is partnering with Stop Street Harassment to kick-off the 3rd annual International Anti-Street Harassment Week in DC. Join us in Dupont Circle to chalk and reclaim public spaces!

Community Conversation with CASS & FORCE: a Monument to Survivors of Rape and Abuse
Wednesday, April 2, 6:00-8:30pm, MLK Memorial Library, Room A-5
We’ll be talking with our friends at FORCE about their campaign for a national monument for survivors of rape and abuse. We’ll discuss ways to bridge the short term actions of the Monument Quilt with longer term goals of building a permanent monument. Help us brainstorm connections between our efforts and ongoing policy work, grassroots organizing, and campaigns with the common goal of eradicating rape.

Stay tuned for big updates on our work to pass a comprehensive Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act (SAVRRA), critical legislation to improve the treatment of survivors and the management of sexual assault cases in the District. More to come!