Whenever I hear, “Brooklyn stand up,” I know that the sentiment in the phrase is spoken, exclaimed, sung, rapped with an emphasis on truth. Never had I experienced it firsthand until I attended Afropunk-Brooklyn 2017 and walked up and down Activism Row.

Photo source: AfropunkFest.com

As a fan of punk music, my attempt to follow its ethos is marked by my passion for volunteer work and community action. Much of my personal time is dedicated to not only creating music but to serving my community. So when I saw several yards of activists, community-centric organizations, and Afropunk attendees learning about them, I had a quiet riot in my soul.

It was a perfect combination of old school punk meets new wave cultural bull horning. I loved every second of it!

Listed below are just a few of the organizations I saw and learned about during Afropunk Fest-Brooklyn. I encourage you to learn about these organizations and find local chapters in your area to get active in your community.

  • AIDS Healthcare Foundation: The presence of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation at the fest was powerful. This is because, despite scores of research that informs medical professionals about prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, communities around the world continue to contract and suffer from this disease. To see people getting information about prevention and on-the-spot HIV status testing at the festival was remarkable. Do you know your status?
  • Black Lives Matter – NYC: The most powerful and vocal organizations in the world cannot hold a candle to BLM. I saw groups upon groups of concert goers gathering information about the movement, civil rights, justice for systemic injustices… it was a remarkable sight. One I won’t soon forget. To learn about getting involved in a local chapter, click here.
  • Habitat for Humanity – New York City: If you build it, they will come. And they, meaning community members, will nurture the land and make it fruitful. I am also here for Habitat for Humanity and will never leave. So, to see them representing for communities in NYC was fantastic. Having volunteered with this organization in Austin, TX, I know that the communities throughout the States are 100% benefiting from their action. Find a Chapter in your area!

Other organizations on Activism Row that caught my eye included Lady Parts Justice Leauge (LOVED those temporary tattoos”>, Brooklyn March Against Gentrification Racism and Police Violence, HeadCount, and Color of Change.

Although some of the organizations present were NY/Brooklyn-specific, I took a few notes from them to help my Austin community.

This DIY, community-based work, that gets overlooked on a regular basis, is part of the punk ethos and I, for one, am dedicated to it.

It is inspiring to me as a member of the punk community at large and as a world citizen.

Thank you, Afropunk Fest-Brooklyn for offering all of us a chance to get involved with these incredible forces for change. I am so grateful to have been in attendance and apart of a movement that has rocked me since 2003.

In addition to learning more about the organizations on Activism Row, watch the trailer for the documentary that birthed it all:

As ever, stay AFROpunk!

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