Girls Rock is a multinational, intersectional feminist organization that seeks to engage and empower young girls through music. In the afterschool and summer camp components, participants form bands, attend workshops, learn to play instruments, and craft original songs. No previous musical experience is required, participants are free to choose the names and gender pronouns they'd like to go by, and extensive financial aid is offered to those from lower income households.

North Carolina's Research Triangle is home to Girls Rock NC, with the city of Durham serving as GRNC's base for their spring afterschool program. From late January to mid-March of 2016, I joined eight afterschoolers and a group of wonderful volunteers in the cramped upstairs quarters of Durham's Scrap Exchange to document their progression throughout the semester. Two bands emerged in that time - the younger girls formed a trio known as the Tiger Sharks, and the elder girls deemed themselves the Jedi Warriors. Week by week, the Tiger Sharks churned out songs like "Bam Bam Bash," an ode to the joys of making noise, while the Jedi Warriors worked to translate their anger at the U.S. election cycle by writing a musical epic about Donald Trump being defeated by Jedi knights. Both bands later performed in front of a live audience at the Pinhook in Durham.

The first portion of this project concluded mere weeks before the now infamous bill known as HB2 was passed in GRNC's own backyard. Prior to that monstrosity, my involvement with GRNC was already based on a firm belief in its mission and a desire to help further its success as a safe space for people of marginalized genders and identities. But in a political climate that aggressively refuses to evolve regarding the rights of the oppressed, my conviction was thoroughly cemented. My aim is to continue documenting the various facets of GRNC in order to showcase an organization that promotes self expression, inclusion, and the importance of getting loud.

GIRLSROCKNC.ORG / GIRLSROCKCAMPALLIANCE.ORG
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