Girls Rock Camp Alliance


Political Education

Coordinated by the GRCA Shifting Power Committee
Track Description courtesy of Laura Chow Reeve and Molly Fischer, 2016 track coordinators.
We must resist co-optation by the oppressive systems of sexism, racism, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism, classism, (and more) that we seek to dismantle by building unity in our foundations and clarifying our visions of collective liberation. This track is a place to share curriculum, i.e. those awesome social justice workshops you facilitate at your camp; your radical organizational models; the amazing movement organizing work you do in addition to Girls Rock; the successes and failures in your local movements and how they intersect with Rock Camp organizing; beginning and advanced allyship skills; strategies for and stories of collaborations, coalitions, and more.

Intervention in the Streets, Intervention in the Classroom
Living in a reality where the very existence of a Department of Education is at stake, we must continue to build our skills in order to defend and transform our schools. One aspect of this struggle is reflecting individually and collectively on what intervention looks like in the streets and how we do this in our classrooms and school communities. Whether it’s harassment on the el or in our classrooms/schools, we must prepare ourselves for how we will choose to intervene.*This workshop is meant to provide space for educators to reflect on their own instincts during hostile situations in order to gain skills and tools that can then be passed on to their students. We will also discuss how we can be even more diligent about addressing harassment and microaggressions in our classrooms. This workshop is meant for educators who have already decided they want to intervene to disrupt and stop bigotry-based violence. We will use a lot of material from the Jewish Voices for Peace training series: Ready to Fight. We will do our best to create a safe(r) space so that folks can participate with their whole selves. We will not allow for racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic language or intentionally combative behavior. We will ask you to leave if you actively disrespect our community agreements.
Led by: Hanako Franz is a queer femme radical educator. She taught 9th grade World History for four years in North Philly and is currently teaching 11th and 12th graders in Center City Philadelphia. She is a core member of Teacher Action Group Philadelphia and believes deeply in the importance of educators not only implementing social justice curriculum, but also engaging in work outside of the classroom in order to build a radically different future.

Reconciliation Rock Camp: a facilitated discussion on settler-indigenous relations
This session will be lead by Gan, a settler of colour from Girls Rock Camp Saskatoon (GRCS) from Treaty 6 Territory. GRCS will be used as a case study example for a broader discussion on the ways rock camps can work towards reconciliation with indigenous peoples, the responsibilities settlers have to decolonize thoughts, practices, and spaces, as well as questions to how rock camps can better support justice for indigenous women and two spirit youth. This discussion will be opening up more questions than it will provide answers, but is nevertheless an important conversation that all camps need to be having.
Led by: Gan, Girls Rock Camp Saskatoon

Trans Women to the Front! Increasing Engagement and Supporting Leadership of Trans Women
In this workshop, we will examine the barriers that prevent trans women and girls from engaging in leadership roles as well as provide strategies to increase engagement and support trans feminine folks as leaders. Participants will evaluate the degree to which their community or agency supports and encourages leadership of trans women and girls and identify strategies for growth. This workshop will provide participants with a toolkit that will help to guide users to develop a plan to increase engagement and support leadership of trans women in their community or agency. We will also explore ways in which we can center the voices and experiences of trans women and girls of color, those who have/ are experiencing homelessness, those working in the sex industry, etc.
Led by: Lisa Phillips, LSW- Mazzoni Center Lisa works alongside the Sisterly L.O.V.E. (Leading Others Via Education) team to develop programming aimed at building community and developing leadership skills among trans women in Philadelphia. In addition to working with Sisterly L.O.V.E., Lisa conducts biopsychosocial intake assessments and provides short-term counseling to trans identified adults seeking hormone therapy at Mazzoni Center. Lisa received their Masters in Social Work from Temple University in 2014, with a focus in Community Organizing and Public Policy and is committed to improving health outcomes of queer and trans communities.

Celena Morrison builds honest ongoing, permanent relationships for the purpose of applying a collective vision for the benefit of the community. She provides support, education, and building unity throughout the city. She creates and facilitates several workshops for Sisterly L.O.V.E., including an Intergenerational Dialogue and Professional Etiquette Workshop. She is dedicated to bringing about environmental and behavioral changes that will improve the health of the community and its members

An Introduction to Restorative Justice
An introduction to restorative practices, this session will provide a foundation in the philosophy of restorative justice. We will look at multiple models of conflict resolution to provide a framework for addressing issues of discipline at camp. I will share my experiences implementing restorative practices in an alternative school environment and facilitating RJ conferences in Louisville’s juvenile courts system.
Led by: Mary Ralph is the Political and Social Justice Education Coordinator for Girls Rock Louisville. Mary is an organizer, teacher, musician, and restorative justice facilitator. She loves history, Slurpees, and the Chicago Bulls.

Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline
This will be a presentation of the film and how it was created (25 minutes). The film will be followed by a Q & A and a discussion with two force choice questions about youth being held in adult prisons.
Led by: The Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project was created created in 2004 as a project of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). When AFSC discontinued the project in 2006, YASP became an independent project under the fiscal sponsorship of Reconstruction , Inc. Over the past four years , YASP has provided ongoing , year-round workshops for youth under 18 in the Philadelphia Prison System’s adult jails and continued support and leadership development for youth who have come home from those jails. During that time, YASP has hired many young people who were previously incarcerated in the adult jails to assume leadership roles as primary decision-makers in the organization. In doing so, YASP has transformed into a truly youth-led organization.

Undermining Ableism at Rock Camp
In this workshop we will define ableism, address the ways it is present in the rock camp model, and recognize how it is inherent to the non-profit industrial complex. We will share and discuss the ways ableism is present at our camps and how it effects our campers, volunteers and staff. We will work as a group to come up with methods to undermine ableism at camp. We will also brainstorm creative ways to teach anti-ableism to camper and include ability in discussions on identity and intersectionality with young people.
Led by: Caitlin Haran is the Director of Operations at Girls Rock NC. She’s worked as an office manager, logistics coordinator, and bookkeeper with several music and youth-oriented organizations and loves rock camp so much! She enjoys her analog synthesizer, screen printing, exploring disability/crip theories, otters, making space for young people’s voices, and finding power through creativity with folks of any age. Caitlin’s most used phrase in the office is, “We can’t afford that,” and she is loved for it. Caitlin has experienced chronic pain since she was a young teen and, now, thanks to her incredible rock camp friends, she is exploring how disability has played a role in how she views herself and her art. Rock camp totally changed her life. Kate Sumner joined Girls Rock NC in February 2017, after spending a couple of years working in a women’s history archive in Massachusetts. Learning drums at the age of 10 (thanks, Mom and Dad) taught her to bust apart gendered expectations in pursuit of noise, messiness, and creativity. She finds it an incredible privilege to be in a position to facilitate similar discoveries for young people today. A native North Carolinian, Kate is elated to be revitalizing her Southern roots. Faves include: dismantling systems of oppression, learning new things, tinkering with rusty junk, raccoons, being in the woods, Kierkegaard, intersectional feminism/s, supporting her friends, woodworking with hand tools, and building community.

PRISONS DON’T WORK: How prisons & policing impact our lives
This is a workshop designed for youth ages 11-18 in our after school program. We want to share it and share some facilitation tips too! It leads young people through popular education activities regarding prison abolitionism and ends with visualization and art making.
Led by: Micah Blaise is a Southern radical educator, femme, and organizer born & raised in rural South Carolina. Community organizing saved Micah’s life as a teenager and continues to heal her today. She’s worked with the Carolina Youth Action Project (formerly Girls Rock Charleston) in many capacities since its founding in 2011. Micah believes deeply that girls, transgender, and gender non-conforming youth of color know what’s needed to transform South Carolina into a state where all of us are safe, where we are free, and where we have what we need. As Co-Director of Development for CYAP, she is passionate about moving resources to support these young leaders and their organizing work long-term.
By day, Micah is a special education teacher at North Charleston High School where she wears inappropriately dark lipstick and works to stoke students’ innate fire for resistance and revolution through carefully planned novel study units. In her free time, she enjoys re-applying her acrylic nails, swimming in the ocean under the full moon, and being barefoot in the kitchen.

Rachel Trueblood is a queer Asian-American femme from the backwoods of Boiling Springs, South Carolina. Before joining the Carolina Youth Action Project (formerly known as Girls Rock Charleston) organizing team in 2016, they graduated from Winthrop University with a B.A. in English and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. As a book nerd who was first politicized around academic feminisms, Rachel is grateful for the ways in which CYAP allows them to heal and grow every day through the deeply personal work of nitty gritty, grassroots youth organizing. In the very limited free time they have between waiting tables and organizing for social change, Rachel enjoys riding their bike in the glow of the moonlight, searching for the best potato chips life has to offer, and playing fetch with their cat, Gertrude.

Bathrooms and Beyond: Trans and Gender non conforming kids belong at Rock Camp
This workshop is designed to help camps plan ahead to provide safe(r) and more inclusive spaces for trans and gender non conforming youth. This workshop will provide examples on working with trans youth to show them that camp is a place for them, shifting language in workshops and camp culture to be inclusive, redesigning spaces like bathrooms, developing training for volunteers, and adapting curriculum to not always center cis women and girls.
Led by: Ace Canessa is a southern, mixed race, queer living and organizing in Jacksonville, FL. Along with organizing Girls Rock camps for over 6 years, they work full time at JASMYN, an LGBTQ youth center, and are a co- founder of Girls Rock Camp Jacksonville. They have been on the GRCA board for 3 years, and in that time they have served on the executive committee, program department co- chair, and conference committee. When not organizing, they are hanging with their dog Rodeo, crying during movies, and loving on their queer fam.

Activism with Kids
This space will be a place to discuss protests and activism with children – what works, what doesn’t, and how to decide what’s right for you while supporting others.
Led by: Katy Otto has volunteered with GRDC and GRP. She’s a drummer, a record label owner and a mom. She plays in Trophy Wife and Callowhill.

¡Resistencia!: Showing up for Immigrant Communities in Trump’s America
This workshop will outline the concrete ways allies and community organizers from other movements can work in solidarity with undocumented communities in the time of Trump. As anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation grows and immigrant communities continue to fight back, this is an opportune time for allies to support existing work with their own skill-sets or to learn applicable skills and information in order to encourage the sustainability of the ongoing immigrant right movement. The majority of the workshop will review best practices in regards to messaging, how to support ongoing local and national campaigns, and ways to challenge exploitative measures by planning a campaign or a direct action.
Led by: Erika Guadalupe Núñez is a queer immigrant, artist, and longtime community organizer for immigrant rights in Philadelphia. Having crossed the Mexico-U.S. border at a young age with her mother, Núñez was undocumented for most of her life until she received her green card in 2013. As an artist, Núñez’s visual work centers on honoring her culture while holding to the belief that art should be used as a tool for social change. As a community organizer, Núñez has organized and participated in direct actions while also serving a role in local and national campaigns to demand an end to detention and deportations. Núñez stands with all immigrants, regardless of criminal record, socioeconomic class, or educational background.

Understanding to Challenge: the Fundamentals of Systemic Power and Oppression
In this workshop we will develop shared language and a deeper understanding of what systemic oppression is and how it operates so that we can better understand how to transform ourselves and our organizations. Using visual metaphor, we will map out how power and oppression operate on individual, institutional, and cultural levels and how that can show up in a Rock Camp context. The goal is to set the foundation for continued growth and dialogue throughout the weekend!
Led by: AORTA is a worker-owned cooperative devoted to strengthening movements for social justice and a solidarity economy. We work as consultants and facilitators to expand the capacity of cooperative, collective, and community based projects through education, training, and planning. We base our work on an intersectional approach to liberation because we believe that true change requires uprooting all systems of oppression.

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