First-ever Hollaback! conference in NYC / by Kate Ziegler + Britni de la Cretaz
Street harassment – catcalls, wolf whistles, degrading comments, touching on the T – is one of the most common forms of gender-based violence in the world. It’s not limited to certain cities, countries or continents; it’s got nothing to do with wardrobe, whereabouts or what time it is. In research conducted by Stop Street Harassment and Hollaback!, over 90% of women have experienced street harassment, more than 50% by the age of 14. 84% of LGBTQ students experience harassment, and 90% of gay or bisexual men report being harassed or made to feel unwelcome in public spaces because of their sexual orientation.
Street harassment is intersectional; it covers all the bases. Hollaback! Founder Emily May points out, “it’s disproportionately impacting young people and women. Within those two subgroups it’s also disproportionately affecting low-income people because they spend more time traveling in public space and using public transportation. A lot of times there are just more ways for people of color to be harassed — they can be harassed for being a person of color and for being a woman at the same time, and also LGBTQ folks, because again, they can be harassed for being those things and a woman, and a person of color all at the same time."
Boston is not immune to this phenomenon (if you think otherwise, take a peek at some shared stories at Hollaback! Boston), and though the Transit Police are currently working to make the T safer for its more vulnerable passengers, there is still plenty of work to be done.
As Site Directors of Hollaback! Boston, we had a chance to attend the inaugural HOLLA::Revolution conference on ending street harassment in New York City late last month – and it was revolutionary.
More than a dozen speakers addressed a sold-out crowd for almost five hours, covering a wide range of topics and research on street harassment, its roots, intersections and history, victim response, bystander intervention, and the power of shared stories in coping and sparking change.
Everyone in the room seemed excited to be there, as if they knew they were part of not only something big, but something that mattered to them on a personal level as well. When the opening speaker asked how many people had been harassed on the way to the event itself, over half the individuals in the room raised their hands. The personal is political, after all. The placement of street harassment on the spectrum of gender-based violence was a common theme throughout the afternoon, but also recurring was the concept of a revolution.
The energy and passion of all attendees was palpable; the speakers . . .
Shelley Salant, 24, helps drive Southeastern Michigan’s underground music community / by Evan Minsker
There are show posters plastered all over the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan-- on campus bulletin boards and streetlights, in record stores and coffee shops. Most of them are pretty run-of-the-mill, with a press photo of the artist, maybe a goofy illustration. But the best shows have flyers with a signature minimalism-- hand-painted bold lettering in distinctive handwriting. They've advertised both local heroes (Tyvek, Swimsuit, Bad Indians) and internationally known entities (Blues Control, the Evens, White Lung). These flyers are a good sign. It means the show was booked by Shelley Salant, a 24-year-old Michigan native.
Shelley’s efforts around Southeastern Michigan’s underground scene are integral part of keeping DIY music alive in the region. Salant runs a record label, hosts the community-centric local music show at WCBN (with live performances each week) and distributes a low-budget monthly flyer called Michigan Happenings-- a calendar of noteworthy shows coming to Southeastern Michigan. It’s an important resource for show-goers in the entire region.
Around Ann Arbor, you might also run into Salant at Encore Records, one of the only three record stores downtown. She just celebrated her sixth year of working there. Encore sells mostly used vinyl, but right near the register, across from the Ted Nugent and Boz Scaggs records, there’s an assortment of new 7”s, tapes, and LPs by local musicians. Shelley helps stock this section.
Every time I see Shelley at Encore, she picks up a new tape or 12-inch and says, “Have you heard this?” And then she gives the pitch: who’s in the band, who put it out, what it’s like, why you should probably check it out. (She doesn’t always push local music-- one time she convinced me to buy a high-quality bootleg of Neil Young’s Human Highway on DVD.) Shelley’s “recommendations” section is another store highlight. It’s where I’ve found LPs by local musicians, plus stuff by Blues Control, Nü Sensae, Peaking Lights, and Grass Widow.
Earlier this year, she booked a national tour for the great Detroit rock band Protomartyr. “I’ve known them for a long time and they actually ended up having a really good band,” she said. “And I really kind of freaked out when I saw them. ... Basically, if I’m going to put a lot of work into something, I need to believe in it.”
Last fall, you could have also seen Shelley walking around Ann Arbor with a clipboard, helping register people to vote.
At the end of July, when Shelley and I meet up at Mighty Good, a coffee shop in downtown Ann Arbor, she is just about to leave for a tour playing drums with Chain and the Gang. While people plug away at their laptops, she tells me the completely awesome reason why she dropped out of community college: She wanted to tour with Tyvek. “I was just a huge fan and I would always ask them . . .