A line of animated young men and women extended down Meadow St. in Brooklyn on a warm June evening last night. Music could be heard bumping all the way down the block, down to where the line wrapped around the corner. An outsider would think this was the wait to get into a hot New York club on a Friday night. That is, until they saw men and women with red armbands tied around their upper arms, handing out papers on clipboards to the waiting crowd. This was a party, yes. But not your ordinary party. This was a party with a purpose.
Last night, Grlcvlt, a secret female society, teamed up with a handful of musical artists and Holyrad Studio in an effort to unseat Judge Aaron Persky of the Stanford rape case. This was a happy mix of a letter-writing campaign, a fun night out, and a unique political statement.
The evening featured performances by Edith Pop, It Was Romance ft. Lane Moore, Beccs, FEATHERS+EYES, and DJ Night Doll. As the handful of musicians were providing the crowd with entertainment, something important was happening in and outside Holyrad: People were filling out forms that expressed dissatisfaction with the punishment Judge Aaron Persky dealt Stanford student and convicted rapist Brock Turner.
In case you have been living under a rock over the past couple weeks, here’s a short summary of the case: Brock Turner was convicted of raping an unconscious girl. There were witnesses. He could have (should have...) received 14 years in jail, but he received 6 months, plus 3 years probation. Judge Aaron Persky was concerned that a heavier punishment would impact Turner’s future. What he did not consider is that Turner’s victim will be impacted by his actions for life.
The "Fuck Rape Culture" event was completely free, with drinks (alcoholic and nonalcoholic) provided, as well as a whiteboard wall for statements and drawings, and a station to take photos with your friends with a “fuck rape culture” graphic overlay. So many people showed up that those inside the studio were encouraged to bring the party outside once they finished their drink.
This epically successful party was the idea of Grlcvlt member and event organizer Remy Holwick. Like many people, this case really hit Holwick at the core. “I think this case was really a lightning rod for a lot of people because it was so black and white,” said Holwick. “We’re sick of seeing viral stories, we’re sick of feeling bad about ourselves, and I think it struck a nerve when we said here’s something simple that you can do. Stop feeling crappy about your Facebook posts, get out there, and fix one of them.”
Eight days prior to the event, Holwick was thinking about having a small gathering at her house to write letters in effort to assist in the movement to unseat Judge Persky. The idea caught on very quickly, and with support and very hard work, the event at Holyrad was born. By Wednesday night, there were 50 volunteers, 10 coordinators, and over 1,400 RSVPs on Facebook. Grlcvlt wants to remind citizens that we have a voice, our voice can be effective if used, and that is what politics is all about.
Holwick was humbled, surprised, and incredibly excited about the massive turnout at Holyrad. After a much deserved nap, she and Grlcvlt will continue planning more events like this in major cities throughout the U.S. Keep your eyes peeled: Advance planning is hard, considering the case has potential to change and new details come out every day. Thank you, Grlcvlt, for this wonderfully eye-opening evening.
Photos by Maegan Gindi, mgindi.com
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