Each year, April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and each year, the first week of April is designated as both Take Back the Night Week and International Anti-Street Harassment Week. This crazy scheduling puts those who care deeply about such issues into a tailspin of running around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to show support to all the groups hosting events. Last year, Hollaback Appalachian Ohio! was a newly formed group. We didn’t officially launch our blog until April 15th, but during the first week of April, we painted the graffiti wall, attended every Take Back the Night Event, chalked the streets with anti-street harassment messages, and hosted a screening of the film “War Zone.” This year, we’d like to let you know what we’re up to now so you can better plan to attend/participate. We will be sure to attend the Take Back the Night March and Rally on Thursday April 3rd. Also keep your eyes on the graffiti wall and sidewalks again this year as our handiwork is likely to reappear. We encourage anyone who wants to join in the chalking to do so. You can take photos of your work and post them on the International wechalkwalk Tumblr. This Tumblr is administrated by Hollaback Brussels! but is intended to serve the whole world! If you choose to chalk, keep in mind that there are fines associated with chalking any brick sidewalks owned by Ohio University. Also, keep your radio tuned to WOUB for our extended episode on Conversations with Studio B. Our episode will air in multiple segments over the course of International Anti-Street Harassment Week and will also be available via pod-cast. If you “like” us on Facebook, we will be sure to let you know when the pod-cast is up.
Our main event this year will be the opening reception for our Anti-Street Harassment Art Show at Casa Nueva on Thursday April 3rd at 9pm. In January, we put out a call for submissions to this show asking for art about personal experiences of street harassment, visions of safer streets, and cats. Cat art will be hung beneath a banner that reads, “Cats Against Cat-Calls.” Light refreshments will be served around 10pm. Performances will also begin at 10pm. We will be showing our short documentary about street harassment in Athens, titled “On the Catwalk.” There will be poetry performances by members of the F-Word Performers. Raggamuffin, featuring graduates from Athens Rock Camp for Girls, will perform, as well as, the Fury, a new all girl punk band featuring former members of Snarlas. This event is intended to be an after party for the Take Back the Night March as well as a birthday celebration for Hollaback Appalachian Ohio! We will celebrate our accomplishments over the last year, which include having some of our art go viral on the wechalkwalk Tumblr, designing and piloting our Safer Spaces training as well as our 5 lesson curriculum for High School Health Classrooms, and getting that curriculum into Trimble High School. It’s not too late to submit visual art to the show. And it’s not too late to add your name to the list of performers. Just email me to let me know.
And as always, share your stories of street harassment and bystander intervention with us at appalachianohio.ihollaback.org, patronize our designated safer spaces, and let us know if you have a classroom or community group for whom you would like us to present a workshop. For more information check out the Safer Spaces and Workshops tabs on our blog site. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you at the show!