A VisitPhilly.com billboard prominantly displayed on Broad Street in the center of the city promotes street harassment in a large, unavoidable, unmistakeable way, and on an advertisement meant to define and promote Philadelphia to tourists. This fails our entire city, not just the women and LGBTQ community members who are harassed on the streets in alarming numbers every day. VisitPhilly.com can do better than that - and Philadelphia deserves better.
The "VisitPhilly.com" campaign, run by GPMTC to promote tourism to Philadelphia, states that it is working to make Philadelphia "a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region’s vitality." Having taken on this mission of revitalizing Philadelphia's image, they dropped the ball with their billboard on Broad Street (the main street running North-South through the city, straight through City Hall).
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, street harassment is the most pervasive form of gender-based sexual violence in the United States. Street harassment limits mobility of women and LGBTQ individuals and denies them the basic human right of feeling safe on public streets. Sexual harassment is a gateway crime that creates a cultural environment that makes gender-based violence okay. A clear legal framework exists to reproach sexual harassment and abuse in the home and at work, but when it comes to the streets - people seem to think all bets are off.
We called GPMTC and asked them to replace this billboard with one that deters street harassment, but they refused. Please join us in demanding VisitPhilly.com place an equally prominent advertisement reflecting the true worth of our city and its citizens, and those who wish to visit Philadelphia. Sign this petition asking that they place a billboard telling all those who "walk this way" that they are deserving of safety and respect on our streets; that Philadelphia is a city where street harassment has no place.
Project of Greater Philadelphia Marketing Tourism Corporation
I just signed the following petition addressed to: VisitPhilly.com,.
Please place advertisements that reflect the true value of our city.
The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPMTC), self-describes their mission as one that "touts the Philadelphia region through ads placed online, in magazines and newspapers and on billboards, television, radio and trains." Over the years, we have noticed the billboards all over the city promoting GPMTC's mission to make "Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region’s vitality," and we commend the effort to increase tourism to Philadelphia. We also, however, take issue with an ad many residents of Philadelphia have the displeasure of walking past every day.
The advertisement with which we are concerned is prominently displayed on Broad Street. This is a very high-traffic central location just blocks from City Hall, amidst all the theaters in our Theater District.The billboard promotes an image of Philadelphia as so rife with street harassment that there is even a billboard harassing every person who walks past it every day.
This is not an image of Philadelphia that we can take pride in. The "region's vitality" should not be advanced at the expense of its citizens. Encouraging tourists to come to the city because we will allow them to street harass our citizens is shameful and embarrassing. If anything, it goes against GPMTC's own mission by discouraging women and LGBTQ from wanting to visit Philadelphia for fear of being street harassed ad nauseum without recourse, in a city so proud of its street harassment problem that it has billboards bragging about it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, street harassment is the most pervasive form of gender-based sexual violence in the United States. Street harassment limits mobility of women and LGBTQ individuals and denies them the basic human right of feeling safe on public streets. Sexual harassment is a gateway crime that creates a cultural environment that makes gender-based violence okay. A clear legal framework exists to reproach sexual harassment and abuse in the home and at work, but when it comes to the streets - people seem to think all bets are off.
To remedy this error in highlighting street harassment and violence against women as a problem about which Philadelphia is proud, I am requesting that you replace this billboard with an equally prominent advertisement that represents what Philadelphia should be about - brotherly love, respect, and safe streets. It's on the citizens of this city and on you, who claim to be creating and promoting this city's image and reputation, to honor ourselves and this city with the reputation it deserves, instead of exalting its flaws without shame.
HollabackPHILLY started this petition with a single signature, and now has 155 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.