|WLP GHS discussing Step Up campaign|
By Issachar Curbeon
We are excited about putting together a powerful visual project to spread awareness about the sexual harassment and verbal abuse young Black women are experiencing in the LAUSD. The campaign will be developed during January-March 2016 and will include Gardena HS, King-Drew Medical Magnet and Crenshaw HS.
To provoke conversation In November 2015, during our first session with Women’s Leadership Project's Women of Color in the U.S. class, we administered a survey to gauge the self-esteem of the girls in the class. The survey was designed to find out if young women felt safe, supported and respected on campus.
Unfortunately, we were not surprised when the survey revealed that more than half of the girls had been sexually harassed on campus or in their communities; and that more than half of the class recognized disrespect towards Black girls as a major issue on campus.
To create a sense of sisterhood among the girls we decided to do an adaptation of an exercise called Step Forward, Step Back tailored to show them that they were not alone in their experiences of harassment on campus.
Step Forward, Step Back is traditionally a privilege exercise where participants stand in a straight line in the middle of an empty space and respond to statements about their personal social class experiences. With each true statement (i.e ‘step forward if your parents went to college) individuals either step forward representing experiences and circumstances that have afforded wealth, education, health, and wellbeing; or step backward representing experiences that frustrate educational, economic and social advancement.
The exercise reveals that success in our society is not an equal race, there are in fact, experiences that marginalized people face due to racism, sexism and economic inequality that act as major obstacles to resources and opportunities to succeed.
The campaign will involve the following elements:
Slogan tweets and posts (via Instagram and Twitter)
· Descriptions of forms of sexual harassment
· Responses to harassers
· Images on street harassment, sexual harassment and sexual violence
· Stats on sexual violence affecting Black girls, Latinas and other girls of color
· Short video clip observations on what can be done to stop harassment
Short blog articles (via Facebook and WLP blog)
· Reflections on a harassment experience
· Poems and spoken word challenging harassment and the responsibility of men/boys to get involved as allies*
I. February 23-25 (King-Drew Medical Magnet & GHS)
Hip Hop, Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Forum
· Student-facilitated discussion on sexual harassment, sexual violence and media images in hip hop and popular culture
§ Women’s Leadership Project/Women’s Day
§ Young Male Scholars
§ Media Done Responsibly
II. February 11-March 10th
· Small group discussion about images of Black women and women of color in the media
· One-on-one interviews about WLP members’ perspectives
· Whole group “Step up/Step Back” exercise with filmmaker Elizabeth Bayne