Points of Unity
Girls Rock Philly’s Points of Unity is a working document that outlines our core values, commitments and strategies for change. We commit to re-visiting and re-writing this document as the needs of our communities evolve with each generation. Our work stands on the shoulders of AORTA, Decarcerate PA, Feminist Principles of the Internet, the Black Panther Ten-Point Program, ARISE and the many GRP community members who shaped this process with their voices.
We believe that music is a transformative force for both individual growth and social change, and that it offers the tools and the venue to collectively build the world we know is possible. Our programming aims to provide the infrastructure for all participants to find and amplify their voices through fearless artistic expression, collaboration and creativity- regardless of skill level.
We recognize that folks who experience racial, gender, economic and disability injustice are underrepresented in music, especially in music instruction. We also recognize that, due to many factors, Philadelphia youth have limited access to affordable musical opportunities in schools and community organizations. Aware of these inequities and systemic barriers, we commit to creating an environment in which young people in Philadelphia can learn about, celebrate, and create music in a space that is welcoming, supportive, and economically accessible.
We aspire to creating learning environments in which instructors and facilitators are a reflection of all our participants and their myriad identities. We work to support and uplift instructors who are people of color, trans and gender non-conforming folks, and folks who are differently-abled.
Written by Youth Action Council (Mariyah, Aylen, Lily, Kayla), 2017-18
We aspire to center youth voices by including youth at all levels of decision making.
We recognize that we live in a world that does not value or include youth in decision-making. We recognize the limitations of youth-service models which often presume that youth come with a deficit.
In contrast to such models, we believe that our work is strengthened by the contributions of youth. We acknowledge the value of their labor, ideas, and art across all levels of our organization. We believe that our organization should be youth-centered rather than youth-service.
We commit to purposeful, intergenerational collaboration, and invest in the leadership of youth; by growing points of meaningful access, we aspire to structurally enable youth participants to build the future of this organization.
COMMUNITY & COLLECTIVE WORK
“Feminine leadership means not just women leaders, but leaders who shift our understanding of how power can be held.” -adrienne maree brown
We believe in creating a community that works together collaboratively. We understand empathy as a space for shared learning, and view conflict as a healthy opportunity to grow, communicate, and lean into challenges.
We recognize that competition and hierarchy can heighten inequities and oppression that already exists amongst those in our community. We recognize that respectful dialogue is important when there may be opposing perspectives, and that singular, charismatic leadership is not always the best model for long-term growth and sustainability.
We commit to creating a sense of mutual aid and collective empowerment, acknowledging and centering different types of leadership in our governance, staff structure and organization’s culture. We commit to unlearning harmful habits that undermine our vision, and educating ourselves in practices that promote equity, mutual respect, and critical consciousness.
We aspire to model interdependence in our own work, and to build the infrastructures of empathy, accountability, recognition, and respect we wish to cultivate in our wider world.
“Nobody’s free until everyone is free” —Fannie Lou Hamer
“Our work against violence must be done with joy, song, and art to prefigure the world we want.” —Angela Davis
We believe that music provides an opportunity to prefigure what collective liberation looks like. As a diverse community of girls, women, and trans and gender nonconforming folk, we believe that all of our struggles are intimately connected, and that music offers an opportunity for us to work together to create the world we know is possible.
We recognize that we live in a world of many different levels of systematic, interpersonal, and internalized oppressions– including but not limited to those based on white supremacy, patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism, and economic injustice and exploitation. We recognize that communities who face oppression on a daily basis are especially equipped with the tools and wisdom to dismantle these systems and envision what collective liberation can look like.
We commit to following the wisdom of liberation movements, and leverage our platform and positionality to dismantle systems of oppression, in our organization and beyond. From the classroom to showcases, we commit to practice our work in solidarity with current social movements.
We aspire to continue our work as one of the many strategies and diverse tactics necessary to transform oppression, and to build a better world.
SUSTAINABILITY OF OUR WORK
We believe that the work we do at GRP is valuable, and as such we strive to strike a healthy balance between the urgency of this work and long-term, sustainable participation. We believe that when our communities are nourished and cared for, everyone benefits.
We recognize the likelihood of physical and emotional exhaustion in activist communities where our deep love of our work makes it easy to put personal needs aside in favor of the collective. Our work is stronger when we are supported, and when we support each other.
Because we value and respect the bodies and minds of the community members, we commit to centering self and collective care. In this vein, we will continue to revisit the structure of our organization as it evolves and changes, in order to equitably share labor, deepen our relationships, and encourage healthy, joyful collaboration.
We aspire to grow deeper as we grow wider, and to protect the longevity of our organization by protecting the the our youth, volunteers, staff, families, and communities who make our work possible.
We believe that every person has the right to self-determine their own gender, sexual identity and expression. As such, we honor and uplift the multitude of gender identities that exist within our community.
We recognize the painful limitations of a coercive system of binary gender, and the need to challenge systems and expressions of patriarchy and gender injustice, including sexism, transphobia, and femmephobia. We approach that work using an intersectional framework that acknowledges the many aspects of one's identity that interact with each other to impact one’s experience of gender.
Aware of the complex histories and waves of gender liberation movements, and in solidarity with our intersectional community, we commit to programming that supports gender self-determination and a practice of combating sexism, patriarchy, and heteronormativity within our organization. As language, our communities, and our world are always evolving, we commit to continuing to evolve in these areas as well.
We aspire to engage in ongoing conversations and inquiries which promote growth, equity, compassion and restorative justice in our community, lead by working class female, queer and trans people of color.
Girls Rock Philly acknowledges our work happens on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Lenni-Lenape People. We acknowledge ancestors past and present, and their wrongful removal by walking treaty, executive order, and violence.
We believe that Philadelphia creates a large part of GRP’s identity and, when developing and facilitating our work, we must consider the unique circumstances of our local communities, including those communities here before us.
We recognize that communities have much to offer, and are often wrongfully subjected to physical displacement and cultural appropriation. We further recognize that our mission is inextricably bound to movements for quality public schools, stable and affordable housing, food access, and job security and training, and the preservation of our neighborhood’s cultural integrity.
We commit to engaging our community, respecting their concerns and supporting local businesses. Our focus is to ensure that the ideals of our communities are reflected in our work, and that we operate in solidarity with our neighbors.
We believe in creating brave and supportive spaces where our community members can feel seen, heard, and valued. We believe in the power of being a beginner: of embarking on the radical path of learning without shame and expressing without fear.
We recognize that when we are not allowed to show our full humanity and vulnerability, we can inadvertently perpetuate the violent effects of patriarchy by holding ourselves and each other to impossible standards of perfectionism.
We commit to upholding a culture of kindness, generosity and respect. We lean into mistakes as courageous spaces of conversation and growth, and realize that when we show our vulnerability, it makes room for others to do the same.
We aspire to center joy, love and wonderment in the spaces, practices and transformative experiences we create together.