People’s Justice League

PDF reader comments:

People’s Justice League’s work is important and timely in a society that is seeing a rise in public acts of harassment. They give people tools to help one another. By educating people and spreading awareness, People’s Justice League is able to change the culture of their community.

People’s Justice League
P.O. Box 45
Rutland, OH 45775


People’s Justice League (PJL) works to support safe streets, establishments, and gathering places through community education and activism. We know that for many people, navigating public space is fraught with harassment and violence simply because of who they are. Our programming works to eradicate bias, harassment, discrimination, and abuse targeting any part of a person’s perceived identity.


PJL launched in 2013 as Hollaback Appalachian Ohio! Led by queer women, they collected and mapped anonymous stories of harassment. Noticing that the majority of stories centered around bars, PJL developed a training program that helped bartenders notice early warning signs and step in as active bystanders. Early in 2015, PJL separated from Hollaback!, broadening their scope to engage bystanders around harassment targeting any part of person’s perceived identity. In 2017, PJL received funding to make their Incident Reporter into an app. PJL also participates in their community’s Rapid Response Network, which involves organizing direct responses to local, regional, and national current events and policy change announcements.

The Issues:

PJL cites the issue of implicit bias regarding race, and how the cultural narrative around sexual violence blames victims. PJL has had difficulty getting bar owners interested in their work because of the extra time and therefore pay for their employees the training requires. In PJL’s region, there is a lack of medical, counseling, and transportation services in the area, especial those that are inclusive/knowledgeable of LGBTQ populations. PJL notes that within their larger community, many liberal organizations and funding foundations have seen PJL as too radical, and they have had difficulty finding funding.

Constituency and Leadership:

PJL has taken its programming into the rural, Appalachian counties surrounding Athens, Ohio. According to the 2010 census, their area is approximately 92% white, with 30% of the population living below the poverty line. All of PJL’s Board members view themselves as being directly impacted by the issues they are organizing to change. Operating using formal consensus-based decision making, PJL’s Board reviews reports, approves all financial decisions and sets the long term trajectory of the organization.

Tackling Oppressive Structures:

Within their organization, PJL recruits organizers from a diversity of marginalized identities and experiences, and holds regular trainings on consensus, meeting facilitation, group dynamics and non-violent communication. Through PJL’s Active Bystander Coalition, they encourage bystander intervention around all forms of oppression. Through PJL’s Incident Reporter, they seek to strike a balance between calling out and calling in.

Movement Building:

In the past, they worked most closely with Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program, their area’s first rape crisis center. Most recently they worked in their Survivors’ Witness Project art installation, featuring stories submitted through the Incident Reporter. They are currently working most closely with Showing Up for Racial Justice of Southeast Ohio. PJL also fiscally sponsors Athens Rock Camp for Girls and Athens Books to Prisoners, two organizations founded by PJL organizers.


PJL’s Incident Reporter app tracks visits, downloads and incidents reported automatically. They track their social media reach through Facebook Insights. Their Active Bystander Coalition workshop was developed using elements from three different evidence-based curricula.  They currently use the evaluation questionnaire provided with the Safe Bars curricula and have adapted their workshop several times based on feedback they received.

Long-term Vision for Change:

PJL envisions a world free from all forms of domination, where all people have free and equitable access to public spaces, services, information and institutions, and no one must fear harm by any person or institution on the basis of perceived identity. They focus on training individuals who have the authority to control public spaces, because they have the power to set the tone for anyone and everyone who walks into their place of employment or comes to the table of their organization.

Organization Budget:  $21,700
Request: $10,000

raised to date this week: $2,525

You can support PJL by clicking on the Donate button below: