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Brought to you by Hollaback! Boston
Sidewalk chalking is a fun, safe, and super easy way to bring awareness to street harassment. Chalking allows you to create slogans, quotes, or drawings that can be displayed on sidewalks or walls in public spaces. The cool thing about chalking is that you can do it with just one or two people, or you can unleash a whole fleet of HOLLA-chalkers on your city and take over the place! Here are the steps you should take when preparing to chalk up your town:
1. Get the materials needed for your chalking expedition. Those materials are: sidewalk chalk. No, really! That’s it! You are totally welcome to create stencils to take with you but you really only need chalk.
2. Pick a location to chalk. Busy areas with lots of foot traffic are definitely best. It’s a good idea to go out before there are too many people on the streets so that you’re not totally in the way, but you also want lots of people to walk by as you chalk so that you encourage them to engage you in conversation about what you’re writing and why you’re writing it (and they will talk to you!).
3. Think about catchy slogans you want to tag up the sidewalks with. Some good ones include: “My name is not [baby/sexy/mami/etc.]!” “‘Hey, baby” is no way to say hello!” “Stop telling women to smile.” “Street harassment is not a compliment.” “We don’t want your wolf-whistles!” “My dress didn’t ask for your opinion.” “Everyone has a right to feel safe on the streets.” “I’m not a dog; don’t whistle at me.” Be creative and come up with something short, sweet, and to-the-point that you think will grab people’s attention. Don’t forget to write “hollaback” and/or your web address, too. You want people to know who’s raising hell!
4. Assemble your team. Who is going to go spread the word with you? Maybe it’s just you, and that’s great! Maybe it’s all of your site leaders. Maybe you’re dragging a couple friends with you. Or maybe you make a Facebook event letting all your fans know that they’re welcome to join and holla with you!
5. Start chalking! Head out and just start drawing! You’ll get the hang of it as you go, but there’s really no wrong way to chalk. Make sure you’re on public sidewalks and not private property, though! You can get kicked off public property or even talked to by police for tagging someone else’s land.
6. Take photos of your work. You’re going to want to show off to all your friends, Twitter followers, and Facebook fans!
7. Engage the people walking by. Some people will walk right up and want to ask questions about what you’re writing. This is GREAT. It’s an opportunity to spread the word and bring awareness to street harassment and the fight against it. Ask if it’s ever happened to them, ask if they want to join in, thank them for
stopping and chatting. People WILL show interest, so be ready to chat them up!
8. Ignore the haters. You may find that
once people (particularly men) read what you’re writing on the streets, they choose to harass you even more. Keep your chin up and hollaback in whatever way feels right for you. They’re just proving, in a public space, why the work you’re doing is so important. Haters gonna hate, and they just may walk away thinking about the behavior they just engaged in in a new light.
That’s it! Chalking is one of the easiest ways that you can join the fight against street harassment. It requires very little planning, no artistic ability (though that helps, if you happen to have it!), and just an hour or two of your time. Get out there and HOLLA at your town!