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Hollaback! Brussels is having its first (symbolic) anniversary… On March 24, 2012, we pre-launched with a Chalk Walk.
We decided that if we were gonna go for this adventure, we had to get rid of all the breaks and do some sort of start-up initiation together. We each wrote down a story about the street harassment we experienced (Ingrid, Anna, Angelika, Julie), mapped it and then went back to the place where it had happened, only to reclaim the spot with chalk in our hands.
We called it a ‘Chalk Walk’ and it did something to us. It gave us an energy, a new strength. Doing this action, eliminated certain fears brought on by years of experiencing street harassment, it felt like we were reclaiming a freedom we imagined we had lost.
And then we thought, EVERYONE should experience this.
4 Chalk Walks later…., Hollaback!s around the globe are chalkwalk-ing. It proved to be a powerful way to respond, to react. And that’s what’s Hollaback! all about, responding to street harassment, whichever way works for you. Whether you do it by sharing your story on your local Hollaback! site, on the go via the app, confiding to your friends & family, or by reclaiming the street with a Chalk Walk, your reaction is all about the right to be you. We have a right to define ourselves on our own terms when we walk out the door, whatever that means that day. That hour. That minute.
SO! This March 2013, we’re letting the Chalk Walk loose upon the world! Thanks to an idea of Emily, a volunteer, we created a new tumblr for all people & Hollaback’s worldwide to connect, to support each other and to do their own Chalk Walks! We hope the We#ChalkWalk tumblr sets sail and gets a life of its own, motivating people to respond to street harassment, racism, sexism, homophobia and gender-based violence…
Since we started our first Hollaback! chapter last year in the spirit of “Reclaiming”, this April 2013 we’re turning the page for our second chapter: “Sharing”.
For the International Anti-Street-Harassment Week 2013 (April 7-13) we’re trying out something new: #ShareTheStreets.
During this week, we’ll be posting a series of bystander stories, showing examples of people in Brussels reacting and helping out their fellow citizens – in the form of – thoughtful gestures, acts of kindness, of bravery, of standing up for victims of street harassment, sexism, racism, homophobia and violence.
At the end of the week, on April 13, we’re organizing a #ShareTheStreets Walk. We will walk around Brussels, leaving “gifts” for the city, gifts for lucky finders, in trees, in little alleyways, on doorsteps, on squares, on benches, window sills, .. These gifts will be small pieces of ‘art’, plants or flowers, objects, goodies,…. They will be left for strangers to find. They will have a little messages attached in order to start up a conversation, a street dialogue of gifts to each other, suggesting that we care, give and receive together, rise up as bystanders, help each other out.
Because only Together can we make this city harassment-, discrimination- and violence-free.
Wanna join us?
On April 6, we’re organizing a 2nd Hollaback! Offline! in OR Expresso Bar (2 – 5pm) to prepare for our #Share The Streets Walk next weekend. Feel welcome to drop by, pitch in and join the conversation..
Contact us if you wanna walk & #ShareTheStreets with us on April 13. We’ll get back to you asap with all necessary info.
Your Hollaback! Brussels team: Ingrid, Anna, Angelika, Julie, Quentin & Jo.
AND the current #ShareTheStreets Volunteer Team: Anna Claire, Karin & Elizabet
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