RightRides for Women's Safety (RRWS) is a great organization that works to address public sexual harassment and assault in NYC. When I told friends I was moving to NYC, everyone gave me the cautionary tale of the subway perps. While working for a NYC politician, my college intern and I were riding the subway back from an event. My intern started telling that her roommate witnessed a woman being sexually assaulted on the subway line from Brooklyn to Manhattan. She heard screams for help, so the roommate got off the next station and ran to the train conductor who told her there wasn't anything he could do, and the train kept going. That story impacted me. I realized that in the political and policy world, no one was talking about this issue that affects every citizen. So, while researching this issue, I stumbled upon Right Rides. From there, I reached out to Oraia and signed up for a volunteer orientation. After my volunteer shift, I realized that this organization was not unique, but a necessity. After publishing the report, and moving to DC, my first ride on the Metro, a man exposed himself to me. I was the only person in that train car. While blaming myself for his actions, I realized that our nation's capital needs to have a RightRides. I contacted Oraia and started to figure out ways we can work together. From that, came the Board appointment and we are closer to bringing RRWS to DC. YEAH!
RightRides for Women's Safety is a wonderful example of a community-led and community-driven organization. Our free, late night ride home program has driven 3,000 riders home safely thanks to 150 driving team volunteers. We're also a founding member of New Yorkers for Safe Transit, working to make NYC mass transit free from sexual harassment and assault. Our work is necessary and it's empowering to be part of it. It's exciting to see so many people take the time and volunteer to ensure the safety of others, and where people can become involved in growing and shaping a grassroots movement to address gender-based violence.