History and Accomplishments

Accomplishments

We’ve exceeded every goal we set for ourselves. Hollaback! is able to provide innovative education, advocacy, and training programs because of people like you — people who have felt the effects of harassment and want to do whatever they can to end it. With your support, we can end it together. Will you donate today and pledge to support equal access to public spaces for all? Hollaback! is rated gold on Guidestar and is committed to transparency. All donations are tax-deductible.

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Here is a taste of what we’ve accomplished:

  • Powerful training. We have trained more than 15,000 people in how to intervene when they see harassment happen, respond to harassment, and de-escalate harassment. After attending our training, 97% of attendees report that they would be willing to intervene the next time they saw harassment (3% said maybe).
  • Inspiring international leadership. We’ve trained over 550 young people from cities around the world to localize Hollaback! to their community using the Hollaback! digital storytelling platform and on-the-ground resources. Our site leaders are young and diverse: 75% are under 30, 41% are LGBTQ+ and 33% are people of color. Activists receive comprehensive 3-month training prior to launch, and following launch, they receive ongoing training and technical assistance from our team.
  • Digital storytelling. We’ve released free iPhone and Droid apps that provide a real-time response to street harassment and illustrate the locations of the harassment on Hollaback!’s publicly available map. The apps resulted in over 15,000 reports of harassment. Incidences are mapped and used to educate policymakers about the prevalence of harassment in their districts and inform research and community-based solutions.
  • Engaging Elected Officials. Across the Hollaback! network, we meet with over 100 legislators per year to discuss community-based solutions to street harassment, including safety audits, trainings, public art projects, and workshop series. Our sites have collaborated with legislators to pass a resolution against street harassment in the Scottish Parliament, release mobile apps that will make NYC the first city in the world to document street harassment in real-time, and present in front of the UN and EU Parliament.
  • Changing minds. To engage the broad public in ending harassment, we obtained over 2,400 press hits, 43,200+ Facebook fans, and 19,100+ Twitter followers.
  • Performing Research. Our site leaders have performed groundbreaking local research in over 38 cities. They use the research to demonstrate the prevalence of street harassment and to engage the community in solutions.

 

HISTORY

Hollaback! started in 2005 as a conversation between seven youth (four women and three men). As the women told story after story of harassment, the men became increasingly concerned. Collectively, they resolved to change that.

Around the same time, a woman named Thao Nguyen bravely stood up to her harasser – an older, upper middle class raw-foods restaurant owner – who terrified her by masturbating across from her on the subway. She took his photo with her camera, and when the police ignored it, she posted it on flikr. The picture eventually made it to the front page of the New York Daily News, where it incited a city-wide conversation about street harassment. The seven youth were inspired by Thao’s story and decided to apply her model to all forms of harassment and to document these experiences on a public blog.

Evolution

Interest in Hollaback! grew over the next five years. What began as a simple idea – a blog to collect women’s and LGBTQ+ individuals’ stories of street harassment – became part of an international movement. In 2010 Emily May, one of the original seven youth, became the organization’s first executive director. Since its inception as a nonprofit, Hollaback! witnessed a tremendous surge in interest and a rapid expansion in social, political, and cultural capital for the organization and the broader movement to end street harassment.

Since Hollaback!’s founding, its leaders have faced online harassment. At first the harassment took the form of homophobic name-calling over emails, but eventually they began receiving rape and death threats. In 2013, fed up with being harassed, and angered by the harassment they saw happening across the internet, they decided to do something. Hollaback! founded HeartMob, a platform where people facing online harassment can ask for exactly the kind of support they need, when they need it, and get it from vetted bystanders who have the tools and resources necessary to help in impactful ways.

With the addition of HeartMob, Hollaback! has articulated a broader sense of purpose. By expanding from a fixed focus on street harassment to the wider lens of access to shared and public spaces, we’re seeking equality in all forms of public space.

TIMELINE

2005

  • Hollaback! begins as an online blog, started by seven friends after experiencing street harassment; the blog gains notoriety online as individuals begin sharing their stories of street harassment in record numbers

2010

  • Hollaback! becomes a nonprofit and appoints Emily May as executive director
  • Hollaback! begins to train site leaders globally, launching in over 40 cities within the first year
  • Hollaback! launches free iPhone and Android apps, allowing individuals to share their stories of street harassment as they happen

2011

  • Hollaback!, in partnership with Green Dot, launches bystander intervention training, becoming the first organization to develop workshops and trainings for bystanders responding to public harassment
  • Green Mountain Coffee names Hollaback! a finalist in the “Revelation to Action” competition
  • Emily May receives an Ashoka “ChangemakHERS” award
  • Women’s eNews names Emily May one of  “21 leaders for the 21st Century”
  • 2011 State of the Streets Report [pdf]

2012

  • Hollaback! wins the Manhattan Young Democrats “Engendering Progress” award
  • Hollaback! received the TED City 2.0 prize for its app partnership with the New York City Government – they termed it “an idea on which our planet’s future depends”
  • Hollaback! was a finalist in the Ashoka’s “She Will Innovate” competition
  • Hollaback!’s executive director was named one of The Huffington Post’s 20 Women “Leading the Way” Hollaback! won the Manhattan Young Democrats “Engendering Progress” award
  • 2012 State of the Streets Report [pdf]

2013

  • Daily Muse names Hollaback!’s executive director Emily May one of “50 Fearless Minds Changing the World”
  • USA Today lists Hollaback! among “4 free apps that could help prevent sexual assault”
  • Hollaback! holds the first ever international speaker’s series on street harassment, HOLLA::Revolution
  • Hollaback! relaunches apps to allow for direct reporting to the council member in the districts where harassment occurred (in NYC)
  • 2013 State of the Streets Report

2014

2015

  • Hollaback! develops and pilots HeartMob, the first platform to provide real-time support to individuals who are experiencing online harassment
  • The New York Times endorses HeartMob
  • Hollaback! holds HOLLA::Revolution in London, UK for a sold-out crowd
  • Hollaback! is awarded a residency at the Bellagio Institute, bringing together 21 global organizations leading on street harassment; together, the group develops shared international goals for ending street harassment
  • Hollaback! was a finalist in the F6S Civic Engagement Challenge
  • 2015 State of the Streets Report [pdf]

2016

  • Netroots Nation awards HeartMob with “Best New Product”
  • HeartMob wins the Civic Hall Healthy Public Challenge
  • Hollaback! redoubles our bystander intervention trainings in the wake of the 2016 US presidential election, including an online webinar element, with a focus on the increase in hate incidences locally and throughout the United States
  • 2016 Annual Impact Report

2017

  • Hollaback! collaborates with The Dinner Party and Faith Matters Network to launch #100Days100Dinners, a project aiming to repair relationships in the US strained and ruptured in the current political climate; the collaboration evolves into The People’s Supper.
  • Hollaback! partners with Communities Against Hate, a national initiative and collaboration to collect data and respond to incidents of violence, threats, and property damage motivated by hate around the United States.
  • In partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Hollaback! develops extensive train the trainer models to scale the work.
  • Hollaback!’s executive director Emily May is a finalist for the 2017 American Express Leadership Academy Alumni Award, recognizing an Academy alumn who consistently demonstrates strong leadership while significantly impacting their community
  • 2017 Annual Impact Report

2018

  • Hollaback! expands its bystander intervention trainings to address sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Hollaback! joins the first lady of NYC, Chirlane McCray with several organizations to organize a rally in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and all sexual assault survivors
  • Hollaback! collaborates with The People’s Supper to host five large-scale suppers in different cities across the country, and issue a guidebook to create spaces to have meaningful conversations together
  • 2018 Annual Impact Report

2019

  • To respond to increased demand for high-quality training from corporations post-#metoo, we launched a new sexual harassment prevention training that is compliant with local, state, and federal laws — and includes a strong bystander intervention component.
  • We unveiled our new de-escalation methodology called “Observe, Breathe, Connect” and began training organizations and businesses on the front lines of customer service in the approach.
  • We launched a workplace civility training, recognizing that oftentimes disrespect is a precursor to more severe forms of harassment in the workplace.