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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Today Is #GivingTuesday! Here’s How You Can Help Make Our Bars Safer.

Just this year, we’ve heard stories from 54 people who were sexually harassed in DC bars and nightclubs.

We know that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

That’s why we partnered with Defend Yourself to develop our Safe Bars program. While we’re advocating for policy solutions to make DC nightlife safer, we’re training bar staff to use bystander intervention skills to stop sexually aggressive behavior and prevent assault.

Please make a #GivingTuesday gift of $54 now, and your dollars can be matched! If we’re in first place on Razoo’s small nonprofit leaderboard then we’ll win an extra $4,000 — meaning every dollar you give today will be matched up to $4,000.

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Your gift today helps us make DC nightlife safer for people like Katelyn. She was at a nightclub in Dupont Circle when two men cornered her.

“They started touching me (one grabbed my thigh, the other my shoulders) and I resisted, shaking them off,” she wrote. “This angered one man and he scratched my face while trying to grab me.”

Give now, and help us #RaisetheBar for DC nightlife to make safety a priority!

Also, if you’re in DC tonight, come stop by Right Proper Brewing Company in Shaw for happy hour! We’ll be enjoying discounted happy hour specials, amazing raffle prizes (including this Cats Against Catcall-ender), and great company.

Cat Calendar

2015: Highlights from an Amazing Year

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We’ve had an incredible year — thanks to your support! — and we’re excited to step it up even more in 2016!

Right now, we’re looking at ways to make sure our RightRides service is reaching the people who need it the most. We’re building strong relationships with people and organizations across the city who work to meet the needs of LGBTQ and gender nonconforming people. Today, we’re holding a focus group with bar staff to find about their experiences with sexual harassment in all its forms — patron on patron, patron on staff, staff on staff — and we’re using their feedback to advocate for solutions to change DC’s bar culture to no longer tolerate sexual violence.

 

Here are some more highlights from an amazing year:

  • YOU helped us launch the pilot phase of our Safe Bars program by training bar staffs at The Heights and Hank’s Oyster Bar — plus trainers in New York & Colorado.
  • YOU supported our advocacy with WMATA, which led to a multiyear PSA campaign to end harassment on public transit — a campaign that will continue into 2016!
  • YOU made it possible for us to give free, safe rides home to 67 people through RightRides DC  —  overcoming the safety tax for women and LGBTQGNC folks.
  • YOU allowed us to train more than 50 community members to respond to harassment and be active bystanders if they see it happening to someone else!

Thank you for all you’ve done to help us make public spaces safe for all. Let’s keep up this momentum in 2016: Pledge to give on #GivingTuesday to get Safe Bars to the next level.

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TAKE ACTION: DC City Council Roundtable on Street Harassment

Traffic, construction, and the occasional rodent of unusual size: these are all things that we’ve come to expect from the DC city-living experience. Unfortunately, street harassment is also a near-daily occurrence for more than 12,000 people across the District. Although street harassment may seem to some like just another annoyance, it’s actually a pervasive problem with devastating, long-term effects on the health and safety of its victims. Here at CASS, we believe street harassment is not something we should have to tolerate. That’s why CASS is teaming up with Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1), Stop Street Harassment, Defend Yourself, and the DC Rape Crisis Center to convene the first-ever DC Council roundtable specifically addressing street harassment and assault.

DC Council Meeting

For years, our work at CASS has been empowered by the compelling stories you’ve shared through our blog. Your experiences have allowed us to illuminate the issue of street harassment as one that affects people from all backgrounds, gender expressions, and identities, in each and every ward of our city. And now that we’ve got the attention of city leaders, we need your help to ensure that the DC Council acts to end street harassment and assault. Have your voice heard: Sign up to attend and/or testify at the DC Council roundtable on street harassment. All volunteers will receive follow-up details as well as support for those new to testifying before the DC Council.

The roundtable, hosted jointly by the Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Housing and Community Development, is scheduled for December 3, 2015 at 10 AM in Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW).

Interested in partnering with us or learning more? Email jessica@collectiveactiondc.org.

Board, Staff, and Supporters Sing Their CASSes Off

There were superheroes, men in kilts, and women in banana suits. The entire cast of Wizard of Oz paid homage to Sara Bareilles. Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs even made an appearance.


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On Oct. 22, more than 150 people turned out to see their friends, family, and coworkers compete for costumed karaoke glory during Sing Your CASS Off at iStrategylabs in Shaw. The event, sponsored by social, team-based karaoke league District Karaoke, invited karaoke veterans and newbies alike to sing for a panel of judges, including District Karaoke founder Jesse Rauch, local musician Maryjo Mattea, and Miss DC 2015 Haely Jardas.

Performers from Congressional Chorus faced off against staffers and board members of CASS itself, while DC Bocce went head-to-head with DC Brau. Representatives from the Washington Nationals took on CASS’ friends at Zipcar, and staff of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co. battled a fierce fivesome from the Women’s Information Network.

In true District Karaoke style, performers were asked to play to themes, including Ladies of the ’80s, Songs of Empowerment, and Oh! The Places You’ll Go – songs about transportation and public spaces. Needless to say, there was much Kelly Clarkson, Pink, and Whitney Houston throughout the night, as well as a healthy dose of anti-street-harassment-themed costumes and choreography.  

Though DC Bocce took home the top prize of gift certificates to Oliva’s Diner in Farragut North, everyone won in the end, as the karaoke contest raised $2,732.22 for CASS programs like RightRidesDC, our safe rides home program for women and LGBTQ-identifying individuals in the DC area.

For more photos of the night, make sure to check out photo albums from Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3. Special thanks to Bryan Arminio and Mediavolution for photo coverage!

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