“I felt that I learned as much as I attempted to teach”

9 Apr

A team of four students from Arizona State University’s Master of Social Work program got together with SACASA’s Safe Streets AZ program at the start of January to tackle the issue of active bystander intervention in street harassment situations.

Their goal: to create macro-level, widespread change in the way that people think about and respond to the kinds of cat calls, threats, stalking, and violence committed in public spaces every day. The hope is a community that is willing and able to step in safely to call out, prevent, and reduce the impact of street harassment in all its forms.

Working with Safe Streets AZ, the MSW team –Kelli Gacic, David Hervey, Sharon Acevedo, and Ramona Meda– set out to create a youth empowerment workshop on safe bystander intervention. They geared it specifially towards youth, ages 12-24, since this age range is not only very vulnerable to street harassment, but also encompasses future leaders and role models on this issue.

By combining hands-on role-play, interactive activites (just ask them about the Snowball Survey Fight), multi-media, and frank discussion, they created something that is fun and thought-provoking.

They launched the workshop just in time for International Anti-Street Harassment Week; leading their first workshop with with Rincon High School’s GSA, Link Crew and Student Council youth leaders. Since then, Safe Streets AZ has partnered with BASIS Charter School and the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation to provide workshops to youth.

Read Sharon’s thoughts on the process, and her hopes for the workshop and the continuing prevention of street harassment.

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