Putting a Stop to Street Harassment

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Dec 03, 2020 in Civil Rights

Portland's MAX Light Rail Train at NightIn May 2017, Oregon Public Broadcasting, OPB, reported that Jeremy Christian had allegedly attacked and killed two people and injured a third on a Portland MAX light rail train.

Prior to that attack, witnesses gave testimony that Christian also committed various other hate and intimidation crimes, such as yelling out racist comments at the train where two black teenage girls had boarded. One of the two girls is also a Muslim and was garbed in a hijab at the time. Just one day before, Christian had assaulted and harassed another African American woman on the MAX train.

In all, Christian was charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder, along with other felony, misdemeanor and intimidation charges.

A Pattern of Racial Violence

As the court heard the various counts against Christian, all of which were committed in a public location, some may wonder why he was not arrested sooner. Witnesses testified to hearing Christian’s rants and slurs about certain religions and national origins.

Some witnesses had also presented video evidence that further established Christian’s pattern of racial violence. In the videos, he was seen ranting about beheadings and how “Christians kill Muslims.” These violent words were just the tip of the iceberg for Christian, and they were purposely used to instill fear into his victims. In this case, two teenage girls.

One day later, Christian allegedly stabbed and killed Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche. During the same attack, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, a third victim, was also allegedly attacked and stabbed by Christian, but survived.

In February 2020, Jeremy Christian was found guilty on all counts and, on June 24, 2020, was given two life sentences.

Putting a Stop to Street Harassment

Throughout 2020, there have been multiple acts of street harassment and violence. One company is on a mission to put an end to it, in all its forms.

Founded in 2005, the company, Hollaback! initially focused on educating and ending gender-based public harassment. The company expanded this goal in 2015 to include all forms of street harassment to all persons and in all places where it happens, including:

  • The workplace
  • Public transportation
  • Peaceful protests
  • Shopping malls
  • Churches
  • Local parks
  • Schools
  • And more

Whether a person identifies as being an immigrant, woman, person of color, LGBTQ+ or part of a religious minority, no one should have to live in fear of being harassed, beaten, assaulted or killed “just” for being who they are.

How Hollaback! Is Seeking to End Street Harassment

Hollaback! believes that to change a culture of hate, you must first create an environment that is safe and welcoming for all. This involves educating and empowering others about how to respond and stand up to harassment when they see it or are themselves a victim.

There are various training courses, some of which are free and others, more customized, are ideal for taking to businesses, schools, college campuses and other organizations. The company uses the profits it makes, combined with donations, to further its global efforts and to continue to offer free training sessions to the general population.