Right To Be Started as...
…a conversation in 2005 among seven young people: Lauren Larken Scuderi, Kaja Trejak, Samuel Carter, Anna Weichselbraun, Colin Weatherby, Emily May, and Elan Abrell. As the women told story after story of their experiences of harassment, the men became increasingly concerned. Collectively, they resolved to make change.
Around the same time, a woman named Thao Nguyen bravely stood up to someone who harassed her. An older, upper middle class raw foods restaurant owner masturbated while sitting across from her on the New York City subway. Terrified, she took his photo with her camera and hoped to report it. When the police ignored her report, she posted the photo on Flickr. The photo eventually appeared on the front page of the New York Daily News and incited a city-wide conversation about street harassment. The seven youths were inspired by Thao’s story and decided to start a public blog where all could document their experiences of harassment.
Right To Be became a nonprofit in 2010 under the name Hollaback!. What began as a simple idea – a blog to collect stories of street harassment – became part of an international movement. We kept documenting stories, but we began to do more.
We created Bystander Intervention Trainings to teach people how to stop harassment, with a set of simple and safe tactics we call the 5Ds.
We also built more platforms to offer support. For example, on our HeartMob platform, people facing online harassment can ask for exactly the kind of support they need, and get it when they need it, from vetted bystanders with the tools and resources to help.
As our work expanded, so did our mission. Right To Be grew from addressing public street harassment… to ending harassment in all its forms.
Right To Be’s work ranges widely, but our goal is simple: we want to build a world where everyone has the Right To Be who they are, wherever they are. A world that’s free of harassment and filled with humanity.