Two years ago, Our Streets Now partnered with Plan International UK, a leading children's charity focusing on girls' rights. After seeing the glaring gap in UK legislation, we worked with with internationally recognised barrister Charlotte Proudman and QC Dexter Dias to create a parliament-ready draft bill which would make public sexual harassment a crime.
The OSN and Plan International UK teams together
A year on from the VAWG strategy, we brought the issue of PSH to parliament once again, to demand our voices be listened to, and our wishes be taken seriously. Sponsored by Caroline Nokes, the chair of the Women and Equalities committee, we held this event in Parliament, inviting MPs, charities, lawyers and change makers to join our cause.
Jess Phillips, MP
The panel which was chaired by Maya Tutton, our co-founder, led an incredible conversation surrounding PSH. Speaking by her side was Caroline Nokes, D.r. Chiamaka Elumogo (our co-head of twitter), Jess Phillips MP and Dinah (a youth advisor for Plan International UK). Maya asked the speakers what they thought people misunderstood about PSH, how far they believed change had come, and where they believed the future of campaigning around this issue was needed. They invited questions and conversation from attendees from the minister for Higher Education to youth activists, to TFL policy workers to QC Helena Kennedy, rounding the panel to a close.
The event finished with an hour of networking with all the incredible attendees connecting and chatting.
Ammaarah Faisal, our head of OSNHE academia who is presenting OSN evidence in parliament next week, said:
“I really enjoyed that everyone in the room had come together for the same cause and that it was shining a light on such an important campaign. Meeting so many people with real power and influence in this space was so exciting and it paves the way for more conversations and change! It was so incredible as well to finally meet the people in real life that I’ve loved working with for months now!”
It is so important we hold space in places like Parliament for young and marginalised people to have their voices heard. We must value grassroots and youth-led campaigns like ours, as not only are they vital in making sure progressive and tangible social change happens, but also in inspiring the next generation of politicians and policy makers. Activism and politics must be accessible for all, otherwise they are pointless.
The OSN socials team- (from left to right) Faith Oliver, head of Tik Tok, Gemma Tutton, head of socials/co-founder, Amaka Elumogo, head of twitter, Emily Garton, head of Instagram
“I really enjoyed today as I believe it is absolutely critical that the voices of young people are not only heard, but listened to and valued in a space we usually don’t have access too. Being in a room with so many inspiring people who were so passionate about ending PSH was really inspiring, and gave us the ability to speak to so many amazing people who can help the campaign!”- Faith Oliver, head of Tik Tok (she/they)
Dr Chiamaka Elumogo, our head of Twitter (pictured above), said "I loved meeting in such an important place and feeling like our cause was getting the attention it so deserves, it helps the campaign be taken more seriously and opens up the conversation to a group of people that often seem unreachable (MPs), and shines a spotlight on every part of the campaign"
We have taken many things away from this inspiring event, and it has given us even more fuel to be resilient in this fight, and never compromise on our values and beliefs! We are so proud of all our work, and so excited for everything to come!
How you can help OSN and get more involved:
Follow our newsletter to keep updated with OSN activities and actions
Follow our blog and socials to educate yourself not only on PSH, but all the other structures of oppression which intersect with it.
Keep up to date with the Our Schools Now campaign through their newsletter and twitter
Keep up to date with the OSNHE campaign through their newsletter, and become an ambassador at your uni!