Welcome! Today is the start of my series interviewing a new generation of role models. I will be profiling people from all over the world. They will share their stories about the amazing actions they are taking to create positive change or break barriers of prejudice to succeed. I am so excited to share these amazing role models. You will learn about what it takes to break barriers of prejudice and create positive change in your own community. Every week new interviews will be posted and eventually all the interviews will become a book. The book will be free to read on Bookemon.com, freely available as a PDF, and for sale as a soft cover that can be given to someone who needs a little inspiration. Let’s Begin~
Emily May is the Executive director of Hollaback and if you are a woman you should definitely know who she is. Emily and her friends(both women and men) started Hollback to create a worldwide community support system so people can stop the street harassment of women and girls. She is a role model because she is taking what seems like a problem that can’t be fixed and is fixing it. For someone like me who walks and takes public transportation just about every day, harassment is an annoying, unwanted part of my life. Men and even boys will creep up close to me with some disgusting comment, drive up and proposition me, or yell “hey baby” at me from across the street. At first the harassment made me nervous so I just pretended to ignore it, but after a while it pissed me off. So now I stand my ground. I don’t smile or say please. I just tell them to leave me alone. It may not work every time, but I feel good speaking up for myself. It also feels great knowing that there are thousands of people out there who will stand up with me. Hollaback encourages women to take a photo or video of the harasser(s) and post it online. It’s also really funny watching the videos of these men who in one moment have no problem being loud pushy jerks suddenly get all shades of shy.
All I knew was that I had to make this happen. And I did. In those first six months, we launched iPhone and Droids apps to give people a real-time response to street harassment, and a new website to house local sites; and began working with the New York City Council on ways to address street harassment.