Corvallis Social Justice: CARDV’s Support of QTBIPOC Survivors, Halloween Benefit Show, Corvallis Young Punks, Queer Samoan Keynote Speaker
October is both Queer History Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV), which has been serving survivors of sexual and domestic violence in Linn and Benton Counties for the past 41 years, has been demonstrating an ongoing commitment to ensuring the equity and accessibility of its services to all survivors – particularly Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (QTBIPOC).
“CARDV makes an effort to let folx know that we are safe for QTBIPOC communities,” said Janique Crenshaw, CARDV Events & Communications Coordinator, in an email. “All of our materials include non-binary language and we make sure that CARDV team members who belong to the QTBIPOC community, as well as allies, engage with services specific to historically underresourced communities. Understanding what those services are lets us provide help and resources for survivors in those communities.”
In June, CARDV Advocates had also attended Juneteenth and Pride events in Linn and Benton Counties to connect with and offer support to surrounding Black and LBGTQIA+ communities.
“Historically it has been white cis-het women who have benefited from the ideas, labor and freedom provided by marginalized populations,” said Crenshaw. “CARDV understands that where we are now is owed to those who have been marginalized for so long. We are actively working to dismantle oppression within and without the organization. It is important to acknowledge that white supremacy and oppression are all around us and we work on identifying those ingrained ideas and fixing those patterns of thinking. CARDV advocates endeavor to treat survivors how they want to be treated.”
In the center’s mission to change the societal conditions that enable and exacerbate sexual and domestic violence, Crenshaw said there is deepening understanding and recognition of how these forms of violence intersect with and are entrenched in systemic, intergenerational oppressions that are uniquely experienced by QTBIPOC communities.
“Violence has its roots deep in oppression, racism and colonialism,” said Crenshaw. “Our mission is to educate our community about the societal conditions that cultivate violence and to give our community the tools to become leaders in violence prevention.”
She continued, “We would like all people to know that we are here for ALL survivors. We meet people where they are and we hold no expectation of the survivor to meet societal ideas of what a survivor looks like or even what healing looks like because experiencing trauma is a unique experience to all. Advocates are here to support in that healing.”
Halloween Cover Show: After a pandemic-induced hiatus, Bitter Half Booking, a duo of queer, punk Corvallis DIY show organizers, is hosting their fifth annual Halloween cover show this Friday, Oct. 28, in the Aldar Room of the Corvallis Community Center.
“In classic DIY tradition, local bands pay tribute to bands they love with exclusive 20-minute cover sets at an all-ages rager,” reads an Instagram post. “Past bands have included Green Day, Nirvana, The Cure, Joy Division, AFI, Blondie, Smashing Pumpkins, the Misfits, and many more.”
This year’s line-up features Salem-based emo punk band Sadgasm as The Strokes, and the following Corvallis acts: Ant Jello as Interpol, heavy post-punk band Flexing as Operation Ivy, art punk band Polypore as Paramore, and indie punk band Dooley as Jawbreaker. While free, a $5 – 10 donation is suggested; all proceeds from the show will go towards CARDV.
And for anyone in need of a Halloween costume, the Corvallis Really Really Free Market (RRFM) will be distributing free costumes, clothes, and accessories at the show; donations can be dropped off at their Free Store, located in Room M252 in Benton Hall Plaza, during store hours: 2 – 6 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.
In a separate Instagram post, Bitter Half Booking organizers Caitlin Garets and Indiana Laub expanded on tactics they shared during a Corvallis Advocate CitySpeak, “Amplifying Underrepresented Artists in Corvallis”, regarding organizing safer and more accessible show spaces beyond ensuring that they’re all-ages and substance-free. These include prioritizing booking bands made up of BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ folks, women, and other people who have been historically excluded from mainstream music communities; using multiple forms of advertising for each upcoming gig; ensuring a safer-space, zero-tolerance policy against bigoted and predatory behavior remains in place; making themselves visible and approachable at every show; and keeping track of local COVID case numbers and transmission rates.
“While acknowledging that no space can ever be completely safe, these are some of our strategies for removing barriers to access,” they wrote. “We do the best that we can with limited resources and are always open to conversations about ways to adapt and improve… Many many thanks to the older organizers back in the day who showed us what safer shows could look like and to the folks who are prioritizing this work now.”
To listen to the CitySpeak, check out the recording here.
Corvallis Young Punks: Every Saturday at noon, a group of Corvallis high school students meet up at Woodstocks Pizza to discuss intersectional issues, create political art, find a diversity of creative and inclusive approaches to local activism and abolitionist movements, and engage in self-advocacy. Known as Corvallis Young Punks, the group is intended to foster an educational community for local BIPOC, disabled, neurodiverse, poor, and/or LGBTQIA+ youth.
According to Anthony Johnson, a 15-year-old trans boy and founding member of the group, the goals for Corvallis Young Punks are as follows:
Provide safety and community for marginalized teenagers; and,
Provide skills and strategies for young punks so that they know how to organize radical alternative spaces like the RRFM.
Johnson said that he’s had “overwhelmingly positive” experiences with the Corvallis punk and DIY scene, which equipped him with ideas and input that helped mobilize the formation of the group.
“I was interested in seeing this group come to fruition because my own introduction to the scene was very much by chance – luck,” said Johnson. “The people I’ve met, the art I’ve made, and the good I hope I’ve been able to do; it’s contributed to some of the best experiences of my life so far. I want to create access for my peers so more people can get to these wonderful opportunities that I just happened to stumble into.”
As Polypore band members wrote in their “Accessibility in DIY Spaces” zine, many queer and trans people would not be here today without artistic spaces and DIY communities, which are chosen families for many, being made accessible to all ages.
“Creative spaces can be life saving for minors and youth. These spaces are especially critical for Queer, Trans, and BIPOC youth,” reads the zine. “Denying folks under the age of 18 access to live music and art is a disservice to our humanity. Youth deserve to be protected, uplifted, included, celebrated, and accommodated!”
“Personally, I want to start and participate in more conversations about the school system; the way it’s built to be a barrier against poor students, disabled students, and students of color,” said Johnson. “We want kids to know the right words, so that we can advocate for ourselves and others like us.”
For Johnson, the drive for this kind of advocacy stems from negative experiences he and his peers have faced at their schools.
“I am a strong believer that all people should learn how to hold a mature and educational conversation with someone who has very different political beliefs than their own,” he said. “That said, often when these conversations are attempted in ‘centralist’ places like school, violence and intolerance against marginalized people are treated as an opposite, just-as-extreme stance as being in those marginalized groups. LGBTQ+, disabled, BIPOC and poor kids spend days overhearing the most vile, dehumanizing terms for themselves from their acquaintances, just to turn around and have to have civil conversations with those acquaintances.”
Conversely, with Corvallis Young Punks, Johnson’s hope is that it will provide and establish a local space where youth are affirmed, uplifted, supported, and centered.
“One of the things I love most about being a punk is that I walk into our spaces and the message I get is, ‘This is for you, not despite you,’” he said. “Every person deserves that. I hope that this new corner of our community can be someone’s space.”
For more information and updates about Corvallis Young Punks, visit their Instagram page.
Keynote Lecture with Queer Samoan Artist-Activist: In a crossover celebration of Queer History Month and the forthcoming Native American Heritage Month, Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws, in partnership with the Oregon State University Pride Center, SOL LGBTQ+ Network, and the Asian & Pacific Cultural Center, will be hosting a hybrid in-person and remote keynote lecture with queer Samoan spoken word poet, artist, mental health educator, and community organizer Terisa Siagatonu.
Siagotonu’s award-winning poems tackle genocide and colonialism, U.S. imperialism and militarism in the Pacific, rape culture, gender justice and identity, and more. Her workshop topics have also included spoken word as a tool for social change, intersections of race and sexuality, Native/Indigenous voices and climate justice and feminist movements, etc. Much of her work has been shaped by her active involvement in Youth Speaks, an organization committed to providing numerous youth development opportunities that challenge youth “to develop and amplify their voices as creators of societal change.”
In an article she wrote for Audostraddle, an intersectional feminist digital publication run by and for LGBTQIA+ folks, in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month last year, Siagotonu wrote about the price she almost paid for her Samoan culture as a first-generation, Indigenous, queer, Samoan-American woman in diaspora, and the liberated world she envisions as a future queer Samoan elder.
“I carry Fa’a Samoa in my mana (power) in the face of a world where white supremacy, anti-Indigenous/anti-Black racism would rather I turn on myself and on my people than on the systems that keep us chained to our fear of fighting for a world we deserve,” she wrote. “A world where respecting my culture means ending the anti-Blackness within it. A world where respecting my culture means gender equity towards the matriarchy that we’re indigenous to… A world where respecting my culture means taking care of our youth and creating spaces for them to finally write and speak their truth, is treated with the same reverence as taking care of our elders.”
The event will take place at Ina Haws on Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 4 – 6 p.m. In-person space is limited; to attend remotely, register for the webinar here.