We’re Testifying at DC City Council Tomorrow! Some Pro Tips.

We are SO excited about the DC Council street harassment roundtable TOMORROW, Thursday, December 3rd at 10am. This will be the first roundtable ever to address public sexual harassment and assault and will be our chance to tell DC City Council to step up and take action on this important issue.

If you’re signed up to testify, we’ve got a few tips on how to testify like a pro. If you’re not testifying, skip to tip #5 for information on virtually cheering for CASS and the roundtable.

Tip #1: Pat yourself on the back.

Give yourself a hug. High-five yourself. Because by testifying you’re helping to make DC a safer place to live for everyone.

Tip #2: Practice

Your testimony must be three minutes or less, so practice in the mirror a few times to make sure you’re within the time limit and comfortable with what you’re saying.

Tip #3: Bring copies of your testimony

You should have 8-10 printed copies of your testimony with you at the hearing to be distributed to the Councilors. And don’t forget one for yourself! Your copy can have larger type or spacing so that it’s easy for you to read.

Tip #4: Speak from the heart

Testifying can be intimidating, but remember that everyone in the room is there to listen to what you have to say. Your experiences offer an invaluable perspective on this issue and the needs of DC citizens. Take deep breaths and talk slowly and into the microphone so that everyone can hear you.

Tip #5: Tweet!

The roundtable is a wonderful opportunity to connect with the City Council in person, but we’ll also be hashtagging up a storm on twitter. Even if you can’t make the hearing, use the hashtag #raisethebar to tweet @councilofdc, @safespacesDC, and @ your council member. Let them know how excited you are that they’re supporting CASS in making DC safer for women and LGBTQGNC people.

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CASS Names Interim Executive Director

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Jessica Raven

Collective Action for Safe Spaces has named Jessica Raven as its interim executive director.

Raven, currently a CASS board member, will serve in this role as the organization reevaluates its structure and conducts a comprehensive search for a permanent Executive Director.

“I could not be more excited to have Jessica take the reins for this organization,” said Mindi Westhoff, CASS Board Chair. “Her dedication to our mission of ending street harassment is extensive, and her past work with CASS and other social justice organizations more than demonstrate her ability to steer CASS during such an important time.”

In addition to her work as a CASS board director since 2014, Raven has worked with a number of community organizations tackling poverty, oppression, and gender-based violence. She led the individual giving program at Polaris, supporting the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, among other programs that seek to eradicate sex and labor trafficking in the United States, and she previously managed communications at local poverty relief agency, Bread for the City.

“It’s an honor to be a part of CASS’s leadership at this time,” Raven said. “Public sexual harassment is an issue that affects more than 12,000 people in our city every single day. CASS’s work with companies like WMATA and Zipcar makes commuting safer for the people most at risk, and I’m thrilled to work collaboratively with the staff, volunteers, and community to make DC a safe space for everyone.”

In the coming months, Raven will work with CASS’s volunteer communications, workshops, and policy teams to continue growing its community-based services, including the continuation of the WMATA anti-harassment campaign, SafeBars, and RightRides DC, which provides safe rides home for women and LGBTQ-identifying individuals through a partnership with Zipcar.

The CASS Board also recognizes the significant contributions of former Executive Director Zosia Stzykowski, and wish her the best as she commences graduate studies in England.

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

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zosia - collective action for safe spaces dc
Our little family is growing! I’m so happy to introduce you to eight new volunteer staffers that we’ve brought on to bring you the best communications, exciting policy advocacy, and important workshops that are empowering our community to end public sexual harassment and sexual assault. Get to know the new staff!

It’s tough for me to say goodbye during such an exciting time, but nevertheless: after four years of service, during which I became CASS’s first and only full-time employee, I’m stepping down from my role as Executive Director. Looking back on the past four years, I’m overcome by how much we’ve achieved — the launch of RightRides DC, the expansion of our workshops program, the transition from all-volunteer staffing to paid leadership — thanks to you. I’ll be leaving the organization poised to leverage our growing resources and connections to dream even bigger and reach new levels of impact and sustainability.

Every day, we get closer to our vision of a harassment-free city, and it’s because of the dedication of dozens of volunteers and the contributions of people like you that we can. I’m so excited to share a bit more with you about the work you’ve made possible this spring and summer, and I can’t wait to see what you do together in the future.

Stay tuned this week for an exciting update on CASS’s new leadership, and subscribe to our email list to catch all our latest news!