The Girls Rock Camp Alliance

Jul 19, 2019

Every coffee we source is selected with purpose. When we began to collaborate on Iggy Pop on a limited edition coffee, we wanted to make sure that our shared values shone through.

Through his iconic career, Iggy has embodied the essence of something we truly appreciate in art: the ability to make it any damn way you wish, through creating an environment where everyone can express their true wild selves. It’s our goal to honor that and help others do the same.

Creativity in coffee comes out in so many ways - from the music our baristas choose to play over our (arduously selected) cafe speakers, to meticulous latte tulips, TNT posters, to the bands that form through the shared bond of cupping coffee at 6am together day after day. We love our Stumptown family because they’re always organizing for a greater good, and making sure other folks are seen and supported throughout the community.

In the spirit of music, and all the beautiful formative moments that come from its enjoyment, we decided that proceeds from each bag of Iggy’s coffee would go to The Girls Rock Camp Alliance. They are an international membership network of youth-centered arts and social justice organizations. Together, they provide resources and space for community building in order to build a strong movement for collective liberation. We’ve been donating coffee to their camps for a long time, and many Stumptown humans have been staff members or volunteered over the years. We are so stoked to support them directly, in a new way, this year.

To learn more about the organization, we chatted with Savhanna Wilson, an executive member of their board of directors.

STUMPTOWN: Savhanna! Tell us about you - where are you based?
SAVHANNA: Hey hey! I’m from Saskatchewan, but am currently hailing from Toronto, Ontario.

STUMPTOWN: Right on - what where you up to before moving, and what’s next?
SAVHANNA: I just moved here after finishing my masters degree in June. I’ve been deep in the community organizing world for a long while now, and was also co-hosting a feminist talk radio program called The Laundry List. We’d go over current events, politics, bring in touring bands and chat about music through the lens of intersectional feminism. We’d even have some programming featuring teen Girls Rock Campers.

STUMPTOWN: Is that where you first heard of Girls Rock Camp?
SAVHANNA: Yeah kind of - So I first got involved with the GRCA in 2015. Two members of the Saskatoon branch are my buddies and they shoulder-tapped me to get involved. I’d heard about theses camps popping up all over the place since 2013 in the area, though. In 2015, when I attended my first conference, I immediately jumped on the nominations committee, and am stoked to say I’ve been on the board of directors myself since 2017.

STUMPTOWN: Seems like once you get a whiff of the amazing work they’re doing, you become a lifer, huh? What do you love most about the GRCA?
SAVHANNA: Absolutely - I’m a lifer for sure. What’s really incredible about this organization is that it’s a global network, deeply focused on empowerment and vulnerability, learning and unlearning, which makes you feel quite connected to the other people involved, which I find very unique to the GRCA. The moment I got to Toronto I went to go find my local chapter. I was like “this is how I’ll meet my people and find my friends”.

And also, you don’t have to be a musician to be involved- that’s a total misconception. We’re all just about building power and strength in young folks. We’re focused on lifting each other up, and creating collaborative learning environments.

Personally, I’ve learned so many new skills, and my local chapter helped me with that. Despite it usually being a week-long music program, music ends up becoming the tool through which we can build new outlooks and opportunities for girls, and gender non-conforming and trans youth. Music becomes the conduit for liberation and social justice.

STUMPTOWN: Was music part of your journey to those values? Do you play in any bands?
SAVHANNA: Less so now because I’ve been in the grad-school zone, but for sure before. I played in punk, hardcore and garage bands. Sloppy punk, if you will. Because, you know, music should be a safe space, and honestly so often it’s not. There’s a huge potential for the machismo of punk and metal to create really oppressive environments for folks that aren’t white dudes. That was part of my early kinship with the GRCA because it creates a safer space than the rest of society for young musicians to really expand.

STUMPTOWN: So now that you’re not cramming on your grad thesis, are you relaxing? Hopefully sitting down with some good coffee here and there?
SAVHANNA: Ha, fully. Myself and two other board members - one from Sweden and another from South Carolina - are going to check out London together. We got connected with the local chapter out there and they were so sweet - found us a place to stay and made a list full of recommendations of places for us to explore. And then the coffee… I drink a lot of coffee. Personally I love making stovetop espresso. Better than that, when I’m camping, I love making firetop espresso - campfire coffee - full of grounds and, like, kind of disgusting in a great way. But who am I kidding, I love cold brew too. It’s so efficient.

STUMPTOWN: Such a pragmatic coffee drinker. Love it. Savhanna, thanks so much for sharing your journey with us. We can’t wait to see what y’all do next.
SAVHANNA: There’s no other way. Cheers!