Calling All Crows

Crowsaroo! CAC at this year's Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival

For three days, between acts as diverse as Kendrick LamarFlorence and the Machine, and My Morning Jacket, our awesome crew of volunteers engaged thousands of fans about women's rights and had an amazing time on the farm! This year's Bonnaroo was a first time for many of us, but we quickly fell in with our community at Planet Roo.

Dave, Danielle, Scott, Phillip, Jenni, Murphy, and Karah, battled the heat, dust, and humidity, to raise awareness about women's rights issues including equal paywomen's health, and the International Violence Against Women Act. We are so excited to report that in just three days at this year's Bonnaroo, nearly 2,000 fans took action in support of issues. We also (temporarily) inked up hundreds of attendees with our "I'm with her" message of gender equality.

Already itching to head back to Manchester for next year's festival!

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Music & Lecture: That familiar place where people are ready to learn and engage

As spring has faded into summer, both the lessons from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) and the music from Full Service, have stayed ringing in Dave's head since our June 1 event.

The meaning of what we were about to hear from our BARCC representatives, Megan and Stephanie. Noticing that the majority of those present were men, Chad made it a point to explain how important, how positive, it was to have so many men present for a discussion about sexual violence. He talked about how issues that affect more women than men are not simply "women's issues," and how exposure to people's stories and BARCC's work can push us to seek changes to the systems that propagate our society's need for their work.

Issues that affect more women than men are not simply "women's issues," and exposure to people's stories and BARCC's work can push us to seek changes to the systems that propagate our society's need for their work.

Talking about rape and sexual violence is never easy, but knowing about these hidden yet commonplace scars that exist throughout our communities is the first step in helping to remedy them. It might sound odd, but after Chad spoke, it truly felt as if there was a new openness and receptiveness in the room—it once again became that familiar place where people were ready to learn and engage.

Megan and Stephanie talked about some of the staggering statistics of rape: how 1 in 6 men, 1 in 4 women, and 1 and 2 transgender people will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime. These numbers quickly broke down that everyone, whether they know it or not, knows someone who has experienced sexual violence. This is why BARCC exists. It is not just a resource for survivors (the word they use in lieu of "victims"), but also for their loved ones and friends who wish to help. Their website offers resources, like role-playing instructions to use when memories of a past rape or attempted rape come up, and how to support and help as best as one can when learning of the painful experiences of another.

They explained how their work aims to provoke societal intervention, like educating children and teenagers about the ways people treat one another, and encouraging people to explore ways we can improve our relationships with those in the world around us while breaking down harmful gender stereotypes (Stephanie remarked how she wasn't there to play drums, as she had been told as a child that it wasn't something girls did, despite her deep wish to rock out). It was clear that their work wasn't only to help survivors, but also to show the community ways to grow that might ultimately prevent any sexual violence from occurring. The value of BARCC's work is immeasurable, and their ability to teach and explain just how insidious the culture of sexism, stereotyping, and by-standing is brought me to a vastly more inclusive understanding of my responsibility in preventing sexual violence.

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Our friends at BARCC then cleared out so the band could to take over. Having not heard of Full Service before that night, and entering to find that their merch included some neon sunglasses and branded kazoos, and their high-hat was a rusted and folded license plate, I didn't really know what to expect. Well I can safely say now that if you haven't heard Full Service's music before, and better yet, if you haven't seen them live, stop what you're doing immediately and go fix that.

Simply put, they rocked. Their harmonies were gorgeous, their rhythm was tight and yet still breathed easily, and their songs were playful, fun, and imaginative. They were there to have fun, and boy, did they do it. It was reportedly the most complete setup that has played a MLS at Chad's, featuring a full kit (of sorts... we're counting the bongo/license-plate setup here because it just sounded awesome), an electric bass, guitar, and melodophone/auxiliary percussion. True to their name, it was a Full Service experience, and it will stay in my mind as one of my absolute favorite Music and Lectures to date.


Meet May intern Shane Woolley!

Hi, Crows! My name is Shane Woolley, and I'm psyched to be interning with Calling All Crows for the month of May. I'm coming up from East Greenwich, Rhode Island, where I'll also be graduating from Rocky Hill School in June. In the meantime, I'm taking the T up to the office most mornings, which has been an exciting and somewhat claustrophobic experience. Yet I'm willing have someone spill their coffee over me on the Green Line in order to be here in Brookline working with Calling All Crows.

Intern  SWoolleyI first heard of this organization in 2012, soon after I discovered Dispatch and State Radio through Pandora. The socially-conscious, raw lyrics of the bands' music made them stand out amidst the shuffle of Red Hot Chili Peppers and White Stripes, and soon I knew most of the words by heart. It wasn't long until I found out about Chad and Sybil's non-profit through the tight-knit network they and their fans have cultivated.

Since then, I've followed the developments and events of the organization, and have been lucky enough to attend the Northampton Halloween 5K, Annual Benefit Weekend, and Farm Jam (which is a must for any CAC fan and/or BBQ lover). When it came time for me to pick a place to intern at for my senior project, Calling All Crows was the natural choice. The community of people involved with the organization feels like home, even though I couldn't ever possibly know all of its members, and the mission deeply resonates with my passions of music and political activism.


"I believe deeply in the power of free speech and giving voice to those whose have been muted, and CAC amplifies this power not only with guitars and mics, but also with its unique approach to grassroots fan engagement."

Another advantage CAC has in its mission to raise awareness is that music is catchy. Since I've discovered the organization, I've become "that guy" at my school who's always sharing new bands and songs I've discovered through the Crows' network, and these bands and songs are almost always attached to a cause or campaign. In this way, awareness for the songs' issues spreads with them, and the model Calling All Crows is built on is uniquely able to harness the viral nature of music in its mission of activism.

I believe deeply in the power of free speech and giving voice to those whose have been muted, and CAC amplifies this power not only with guitars and mics, but also with its unique approach to grassroots fan engagement.

During my time here, I hope to be able to contribute my passion to this mission, and make meaningful connections with the community of people who champion its cause in their lives. The first step toward positive change is reaching out and engaging people in activism, broadening their worldviews to issues that might not affect their own lives. Whether raising awareness about the crisis in Syria, hunger in America, or feminism and women's rights, Calling All Crows is at the front lines of that effort, and I'm excited and honored to be taking a place with them in their movement.

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