Meet Anna, the thoughtful mover and shaker fighting street harassment in Brussels.
Why do you HOLLA? I Holla to show myself, my harassers and those around me that harassment is unacceptable. I Holla because it inspires me to be the strong person I can be. I Holla because it reinforces the fact that any large-scale oppressive treatment of a specific population simply can not be tolerated.
What’s your signature Hollaback? The one I’ve been sticking with lately is saying: ‘’Don’t talk to me like that’’ in a serious and authoritative tone. Although, I tend to flip the bird if I am caught off guard.
What’s your craft? I am infinitely intrigued by the human body and mind. Almost everything I do with my time involves the exploration of those things through various mediums and thought processes.
What was your first experience with street harassment? Witnessing: I remember being in Brooklyn and walking near McCarren Park. I saw a woman walking her dog and she had her cell phone out as well. There was a car slowly driving by and the guy said something to her. She immediately responded with something about how she was there to have a walk. Before she responded, I didn’t know if they knew one another or if the male driver was harassing her. I was so proud and in total admiration of this woman who responded, and I was so scared at the same time because I realized how a bystander like myself could let harassment happen because of fear and not knowing. Sometimes I can tell and I know I can do something. Sometimes I am unsure and then I am too slow to react or not brave enough. Now that Hollaback has the Bystander/Green Dot campaign, I feel well equipped to respond.
Define your style: Funky, comfortable, utilitarian and a little bit hippy. Nothing too fancy… and a bit of athletic gear mixed in b/c of heading to or from one activity or another.
…Since I’ve moved to Brussels though, I wear a lot of black and a lot of pants to try to blend in– to avoid street harassment.
My superheroine/hero power is…Starting things: gathering people together, getting excited, supporting.
…Although I’m working on fire breathing and flying.
What do you collect? Scents and sensations of experiences.
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Follow your intuition. Stand up for what you know deep down to be right. Support one another. Breathe. Keep going.
What inspires you? Seeing other people stand up for themselves or someone else. Seeing people work on issues they care about. Passion. Engagement. Care for oneself and others.