One in three young people in NYC schools experience gender-based violence from their peers. Gender-based violence can look like a lot of different things, but at its core, it’s actions and comments that attack a person’s body, gender, and other ways they present themselves. This includes slutshaming, pressuring someone for sex, intentionally misgendering someone, or online harassment.

For young people of color–especially those who are queer, transgender, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming–dealing with gender-based violence is difficult and confusing. Many behaviors that cause harm are often normalized in schools , making it hard for students to speak up. And the process of reporting an incident is complicated and time consuming, so most cases go unreported. 

That’s why Girls for Gender Equity reached out to CUP to help students experiencing gender-based violence understand their options and get support. With the help of designer Luisa Velez, the team created Hey, that’s not okay, a booklet that breaks down what gender-based violence is, how to report it, where to get support, and the importance of consent.

Girls for Gender Equity launched Hey, that’s not okay at a town hall event in April 2021, led by Cis and Trans Black girls and Gender Nonconforming and Non binary youth of color. Students talked about their experiences, led discussions with experts in the field, and shared their visions for the changes schools can make to end gender-based violence. Girls for Gender Equity is distributing the guide to students across NYC public schools. 

Resources & Links

Girls For Gender Equity Girls for Gender Equity is an intergenerational nonprofit organization based in Brooklyn, that challenges structural forces, including racism, sexism, genderbased violence, transphobia, homophobia, and economic inequity, which constrict the freedom, full expression, and rights of Black and brow cisgender and transgender girls and gendernon-conforming youth of color.

Luisa Veléz Luisa Vélez Henao believes design can be a powerful tool for democratizing complex information and spreading social justice.

Public Access Design is a program of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). Public Access Design projects use design to make complex urban issues accessible to the New Yorkers most affected by them.

Funding Support

Support for this project was provided by The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Members Brad Lander and Antonio Reynoso.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to all the young people who gave such thoughtful feedback on this project.



Siyona Ravi

Sucharitha Yelimeli

Girls For Gender Equity

Quadira Coles


Luisa Veléz