24 New Members of the Collective Action Circle!

You’re awesome!

Thanks to many of you and your generous support over the last two weeks, we have 24 new members in our Collective Action Circle and we’re bringing in an additional $6,120 each year!

This outpouring of support will help us expand our staff and move into a new office space, so we can invest greater resources in awesome programs like the Safe Bar Collective and continue to build a strong, supportive community.

“I’m constantly inspired by the passion, skills, and commitment from the CASS community — and how it has continued to grow and evolve to tackle some of the biggest issues facing women and LGBTQIA+ people of color. Keeping the organization sustainable is critical to keeping our DC community safe and I’m proud to be a member of the Collective Action Circle” – Claire S. Gould

None of the work we do could happen without YOU. If you missed the campaign last week, you can still participate as a monthly donor here.

Let’s Make DC Nightlife Safer for *Everyone* This #DoMore24

Trans people face tremendous hurdles — like wage inequity, lack of legal protections, and implicit bias — when it comes to securing stable unemployment. In DC alone, 36% of trans men and women have faced unemployment during their lives. But for Black trans people, this statistic increases significantly to a staggering 55%.

Chronic unemployment stemming from literal and figurative discrimination leads to housing instability, lack of health insurance, and poverty — all things that no person should have to face in one of the wealthiest cities in America.

With feedback from our widely popular Safe Bar program, CASS is stepping up our commitment to making bars safer for *everyone* with the new Safe Bar Collective!

If you haven’t heard already, the Safe Bar Collective will provide four trans people of color with access to safe and supportive employment in our partner bars and restaurants. By providing job training, hygiene kits, and transportation stipends, we aim to support people like Cassandra (who started transitioning after she moved to DC) and CJ (who was fired when he asked for sick time) not only get a job, but with the resources they need to keep it.

“I moved to DC because I wanted to be in a city where I could succeed and be myself,” says Cassandra. “I knew I could be myself here.” Cassandra’s job in the Safe Bar Collective will be her first job since she transitioned. Let’s show Cassandra the support she needs and deserves.

Safe Bar Collective can make real impact on real people’s lives, but we can’t do it without you. Today is #DoMore24, our 24-hour giving challenge. We need to raise $13,000 to launch the Safe Bar Collective and we hope you can help us reach our goal. Here’s what you can do:

Donate $48 — today only, your donations will be matched, which makes your $48 automatically $96! With this funding, we can supply our pilot program participants CJ, Kiki, Maria, and Cassandra with the resources and training they need to succeed!

Take a selfie — Tweet a selfie of yourself with this sign and some Tweet that says why you’re supporting our #DoMore24 campaign. Don’t forget to use the #RaisetheBar and #DoMore24 hashtags to help CASS win bonus cash from United Way, the organizers of #DoMore24.

Spread the word — Follow our campaign on social media today and spread the word with your friends, coworkers, paramours, and anyone else you know! Need some ideas to make your own posts? Check out our social media toolkit.

Let’s show Cassandra and CJ they support they need and deserve — and make DC safer for *everyone.*

Introducing the Safe Bar Collective

Over the past year, our Safe Bars program has trained and empowered 27 bars and restaurants to squash sexual harassment and make these places a safer space for everyone. The program teaches bar and restaurant staff on how to recognize and proactively intervene when sexual harassment happens in their establishments. We firmly believe that all people deserve to enjoy a beer and cheesy fries without unwanted disturbances.

Our 2016 report on the program showed that 90% of Safe Bars participants said our workshop gave them more options for dealing with sexual aggression in a restaurant or bar setting.

Despite all the general amazing-ness of the Safe Bars program, something essential was still missing. While our surveys did not request demographic data about bar and restaurant staff, we noticed something qwhite interesting. Very few people of color — and even fewer women of color — worked in the front of house at bars and restaurants. Research shows that this is a national trend: people of color are frequently relegated to lower paying positions in the back of the house of bars and restaurants, with women and gender nonconforming people of color experiencing discrimination most severely.

At the heart of this, we had to think: we’re making bars safer, but safer for who?

Enter the Safe Bar Collective. This year, we’re stepping up our commitment to make bars and restaurants safe and inclusive spaces for everyone.

Here’s how we plan to do it:

  • Improve our curriculum and making it more inclusive, including an expanded conversation on race and how it can affect experiences with sexual violence and hate-based harassment.
  • Creating job opportunities for trans people of color by training program participants with specific job and social skills to prepare them for work in the front of the house at local bars and restaurants. CASS will leverage its existing partnerships with 27 bars that have been educated on cultivating safe environments and partner with the Restaurant Opportunities Center for the training.
  • Providing ongoing support to help these workers maintain employment with access to transportation, hygiene kits, food, and a supportive group environment.

By building the capacity of bars and restaurants to support marginalized workers, and actively supporting trans people of color in accessing and maintaining supportive employment, the Safe Bar Collective will work to make public spaces safer for everyone.

Fab, right? Well, here’s how you can help:

  1. Pledge to give to CASS on #DoMore24. Sign the pledge and we’ll send you a reminder on June 8th to support our campaign.
  2. Join us at our #DoMore24 happy hour for the Safe Bars Collective at Colony Club on June 8th from 6 to 9 p.m. It’ll be happy hour the whole time, and 10% of bar sales will go to CASS!
  3. Give on June 8th. Don’t forget to follow through on your pledge!

We have a lot of work to do to make Safe Bar Collective a success. We can do it, together!

One more thing…

Testify in Support of the Street Harassment Prevention Act: On Wednesday, July 12th, join us to testify in front of the DC City Council in support of the Street Harassment Prevention Act!

Introduced in February, the Act is one of the first of its kind to establish a comprehensive framework to address street harassment in our community through non-criminal solutions. Now we need YOU to share your stories of harassment in the District to show the Council how important this act is to community safety. Sign up to testify or submit written testimony here, and we’ll be in contact with resources and support!

Remember DC’s Historic Roundtable on Street Harassment? What’s Next.

It’s been over a year since DC’s historic roundtable on street harassment when more than 40 diverse community members spoke out about their experiences with harassment in public spaces — on the street, in bars, on public transit, and in local shelters.


Since then, we’ve had an impactful year of growth in our programming with the re-launch of Safe Bars, which trained staff at 27 local bars in bystander intervention strategies, and a new phase of our awareness campaign on public transit with WMATA that feature our city’s most marginalized identities and encourage bystanders to speak out against harassment.

But what’s happening on a citywide level?

This winter, CASS convened the End Street Harassment Coalition, which will work to pass the Street Harassment Prevention Act, introduced by CM Nadeau. The bill will collect data on street harassment and make recommendations to curb this most pervasive form of violence. If passed, the bill will ensure that all government employees are trained to recognize and respond to harassment.

The original iteration of the bill defined street harassment as unwanted comments, gestures, or actions targeting someone because of their real or perceived gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation. But the past year’s local high-profile incidents of harassment at Shaw Library and Banneker Pool, and especially the fall’s spike in incidents of harassment on the basis of real or perceived racial, ethnic, and/or religious identity demonstrated that we must broaden the definition of street harassment, collect appropriate data to assess the ways that different communities experience harassment, and recommend holistic solutions to prevent harassment from escalating to more severe violence.

The End Street Harassment Coalition, a group of about 20 local organizations, will work to form DC’s task force on street harassment in 2017, and we need your help.

Sign up here to testify in support of the bill. And tell your Council members that with this year’s 62% increase in hate violence across the DC area, we need community-based solutions to address harassment now.

Want to join the Coalition? Email sarah@collectiveactiondc.org!

Why You Should Get Your Ticket for Safe Space Jam Right. Now.

Our annual celebration is on Thursday, April 27th and oh, are we pumped! We’re pulling out all the stops: beers from DC Brau, gin from Green Hat, noms from Corcoran Catering and Insomnia Cookies and more! We’ll also have a bunch of fun activities including a photobooth and a silent auction with offerings from awesome local businesses — as well as author Roxane Gay! We’ll even have a mini bystander intervention training (it’ll be fun, we promise).

We have a new awesome name for our gala and some surprises in store, but the cause is the same: supporting work to make our fine city safer and more accessible for *everyone.* We worked hard in 2016 to build a better DC for all — and this is an especially important year for us to double down on our efforts to create communities rooted in dignity, respect, and justice.

We’re so grateful to the supportive organizations that have contributed to make this event great, including The Bird, Compass Coffee, Dan Carter Yoga, District Karaoke, Freed Bodyworks, Julie Ann Art, Potter’s House, [solidcore], SoulCycle, Summit to Soul, Tabletop, the Washington Nationals, Woolly Mammoth, Yoga District, Zengo Cycle, and more!

Still not totally convinced why you need to stop everything and get a ticket right now? Here are some reasons why folks are PUMPED to attend this year.

  1. “Every year, it is an uplifting experience to know that you are not alone. To know that people care and want to change society.”
  2. “The best part of our annual party is getting to meet interesting, passionate people from our community who support CASS. Oh, and the open bar.”
  3. “Somehow I consistently wind up in these awesome conversations where I’m one of the last to leave.”
  4. “The open bar speaks for itself, but my favorite part of the annual gala is the silent auction. Outbidding friends and snagging cool stuff from local businesses, all while supporting CASS with a drink in your hand — what’s not to love?”
  5. “I’m super excited to land a bunch of cool stuff at the silent auction – like spin classes, massages and theatre tickets, going 100% to a good cause!”
  6. “I’m excited for the photo booth. Obviously. Facebook memories reminded me of photos from the CASS gala I attended back in 2013 and I took photos with new friends. Realizing those friendships have totally blossomed over the past few years with our shared passion for safe spaces? Priceless.”
  7. “The massage chair last year was a wonderful addition for activists because we often forget to prioritize self-care.”

Excited?! Get your tickets now!

See you April 27th!

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