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Conversations with Girls Rock Detroit

Today we’d like to introduce you to Girls Rock Detroit. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Girls Rock Detroit is a local community organization dedicated to fostering creative expression, positive self-esteem, and community awareness for girls, women, gender expansive, and transgender people through music education and performance. By encouraging creativity, confidence, and collaboration in a supportive environment, we strive to empower people to shape the narratives of their lives and to become engaged members of our communities. We believe it is crucial that all people have access to the benefits of music and education regardless of socio-economic background, religion, race, gender identity, sexuality, or ethnicity. 

Girls Rock Detroit is an active member of the international Girls Rock Camp Alliance from which its mission is derived. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization since 2016, it was founded in 2014 by Rosalind Hartigan, Melissa Coppola, and Willa Adamo, who met while volunteering at Girls Rock! Chicago. Since its inception, Girls Rock Detroit has served over 200 youth in our summer rock camp program, as many adults in various in-person and digital adult programs, and built a community of 150+ volunteers. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
There have been many challenges. As our mission requires a radically progressive approach to organizing, there has been a lot of trial and error in our efforts. Being on the cutting edge of education and inclusivity is an ongoing process, and we are forever learning how to do it better. As an almost entirely volunteer-run organization, we run on passion which must be balanced with bandwidth. Camp didn’t run for two years over COVID until we accumulated volunteers with a vision for a hybrid future and developed digital programming which we’re continuing to expand as our in-person programs return. As a collective, we’ve a growth mindset which allows us to meet each challenge as an opportunity for growth. Other challenges we face include constantly raising funds to keep our programs on a sliding scale and/or Pay What You Can, as well as finding spaces in the city to hold camp until we find a permanent home. 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
We’re a community of musicians and music activists who know the good that music as a medium can do for individuals and causes. We organize to make music accessible, especially to those who most benefit and who otherwise might not have access. We don’t have all the answers, but we openly confront the problems of our generations and seek to lessen the burden on generations to come. 

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
Detroit is proudly a music mecca in that we’ve produced some of the world’s most beloved musicians and genres. The same can be said for many arts, particularly as they intersect with activism. At the same time, infrastructure and cultural capital for community music and activism is severely lacking. Detroiters are known for our arts and activism the world over. Part of our mission at Girls Rock Detroit is to welcome that brilliance to stay and work in the city that inspires it. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Nicole Mallory
Katya Stewart
Erich Buchholz
Carmel Liburdi
Sheri Fucinari

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