BART and its partnering organizations launched the second phase of their “Not One More Girl” campaign Aug. 31st.
“Not One More Girl,” a series of resources to prevent harassment on and near BART trains, began April 2021 when the Alliance for Girls organization released a research report on the lived experience of girls in the Bay Area. According to BART Chief Communications Officer Alicia Trost, the report found that many girls experienced harassment on and while walking to public transit.
The first phase of the series involved changing BART policy to prohibit rider harassment in its official code of conduct, Trost noted.
“Since the original data came from youth, we wanted to continue that as a main theme,” Trost said. “We want to frame it in the light that if we can make BART safe for girls — as defined by gender-expansive and gender nonconforming youth — then we can make BART safe for everyone.”
BART director Rebecca Saltzman noted that the first phase entailed data collection of harassment on BART, launching a website for the campaign and adding reporting features to the BART rider app. The second phase, titled “Our Story of Courage,” is driven by girls from the Bay Area affected by this issue.
As part of this phase, BART partnered with the Betti Ono foundation as well as the Unity Council’s Latina Mentorship and Achievement Program for youth perspectives to target bystander intervention.
According to Betti Ono Foundation Operations Manager Sango Tajima, posters by local artist Safi Kolozvsari Regaldo were put up in BART stations and inside train cars with suggested steps to take if passengers witness or experience harassment.
“Our solutions are common sense and will have a positive impact on all riders,” Tajima said in an email. “Safety is everyone’s responsibility and we need to take a proactive approach to preventing violence rather than a sole focus on reporting tools when an assault occurs, which places the onus on those impacted by violence to look out for themselves.”
Along with the art installations, BART has also made cards available at station booths that can be discreetly handed to other passengers experiencing harassment, said Trost. The cards offer options on how the bystander can de-escalate the situation by staying near the passenger experiencing harassment or calling for assistance.
Since its first phase, the “Not One More Girl” initiative has seen an increase in passenger comfort. According to Trost, surveys at outreach events and randomly sampled riders showed that 36% of BART passengers felt safer after learning about the campaign.
“It’s a good lesson in community engagement, and letting youth tell us what they need from us,” Trost said. “It centers a culture of care and a culture of courage.”