Tuesday I participated in my first ever twitter panel hosted by Hollaback Boston on street harassment of cyclists. It was a cool format where questions were tweeted every 6 minutes and panelists responded to the questions as they came. Questions ranged from what’s your favorite thing about biking in boston, to how do you experience street harassment differently on bikes, the T, or walking.
I was tweeting both from my personal @womanonawheel handle and also from the @bikesnotbombs handle – and let me say – tweeting from two different handles, with questions every 6 minutes, and trying to respond and interact with other panelists was a struggle. I’m not sure how much of that was tweeting from two handles at once, or if it would have been easier with questions spaced out a little more. I just wish I could have interacted more with the other panelists and responded more directly to some of their tweets. Lessons for next time!
You can check out the ‘storified’ summary of the panel here. It’s a great summary of the panel, and captures the general feel of the conversation. One of my favorite parts of the summary is this reflection about criminalization of street harassment:
We always want to remind people that criminalization doesn’t have to be the answer. Legal recourses can be helpful and empowering for some, but criminalization often negatively impacts already marginalized communities. Which is why we’re happy to be a resource for reporting street harassment, including bike harassment, that doesn’t involve getting authorities involved! Community-based solutions via story sharing and accountability are great.
I think it’s so important in conversations about street harassment to emphasize that police and criminalization is not the solution. Education and trying to change culture will create more lasting change than supporting a racist/classist/sexist/homophobia/transphobic prison system.
There is going to be another global panel on street harassment next week, Tuesday May 20th, at 3pm. Follow Hollaback! Boston for more information!