Zumba, Barbeque, And Live Music Fill Harney Plaza First Jammin’ for Justice concert draws students to “Rock Against Rape”

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Jahlectrick’s lead singer, USF alum Raja Iliya, perfomed at the first Jammin’ for Jutice concert. Money was raised for the Women’s Community Clinic on Hayes Street.  Photo by Miranda Spears/Foghorn
Jahlectrick’s lead singer, USF alum Raja Iliya, perfomed at the first Jammin’ for Jutice concert. Money was raised for the Women’s Community Clinic on Hayes Street. Photo by Miranda Spears/Foghorn

People “rocked against rape” during the first annual Jammin’ for Justice last Saturday, a concert that spreads awareness about sexual violence and raises money. The money was raised for the Women’s Community Clinic, a clinic that provides impoverished women with basic needs like food and counseling for victims of sexual violence. The co-directors of the event were USF seniors Samantha Sheppard-Gonzales and Jenny Reed.

According to Sheppard-Gonzales, the concert was inspired by the alleged rapes that occured last year and the need to spread information about consequences of sexual violence. Reed said that she and Gonzales were planning this concert all summer and decided to raise money for this particular women’s clinic on Hayes Street because they have been a wonderful resource for women. Gonzales said that there is no specific goal for the amount of money to be raised.

The musicians that played at Jammin’ for Justice were USF students and local bands from San Francisco. Among them were Ghost Town Refugees, The Moonlight Orchestra and Travis Hayes and the 3-72’s. Alongside the musicians, Ashley Guevara, a senior exercise sports and science major, performed Zumba in front of the people that came to the concert and asked them to dance along with her.

According to Gonzales, the process of choosing the bands involved sending out an email to the USF community inviting people to perform at Jammin’ for Justice. Gonzales says that she and Reed checked the musicians’ lyrics to make sure there they did not have any inappropriate – in particular misogynistic – lyrics.

Musician Dennis Walker, a junior media studies major and member of Ghost Town Refugees, said that his band participated in Jammin’ for Justice because they like to do school events and be part of the camaraderie. He said that his band’s lyrics are empowering to women because they are “essentially peaceful people and non-violent, which is what is our band rotates around.”

Jamie Trinh, a senior nursing major and author of the poem “Earthquake,” which she read at the concert, said that she got inspiration for her poem during April of last year during Sexual Assault Awareness Week. She was affected by people coming together after the rape allegations.

Alum Maro Guevara and senior Samantha Sheppard-Gonzales (one of the event’s organizers) relax and enjoy the Jammin’ for Justice concert.  Photo by Miranda Spears/Foghorn
Alum Maro Guevara and senior Samantha Sheppard-Gonzales (one of the event’s organizers) relax and enjoy the Jammin’ for Justice concert. Photo by Miranda Spears/Foghorn

Jack O’Shaughnessy, a sophomore biology major, said during the concert that it was “amazing, but it doesn’t seem like many people are coming.” When asked why he came to the concert, Shaughnessy said “Because I love being with music and people and I obviously support the cause.”

Chris Hanson, a sophomore psychology major, said, “All the bands have a lot of energy and good performances.” When asked if he learned more about sexual violence and prevention after he came to the concert, he said, “Definitely, there was a speaker a while ago and a lot of people came out to support it. [It] tells you that many people are against sexual assault.”

Host Julie Henderson said of her experience emceeing for Jammin’ for Justice, “It is always renewing and inspiring to bring people together for a cause that aims to empower women and restore balance to what has become a very fragmented and aggressive society.” She added that, besides raising money for the women’s community clinic, the concert “sets a precedent for future signature events that will ideally incorporate a similar social justice theme. Everyone involved in this benefit created a safe space, within which an important dialogue can be nurtured and developed with the intent of creating permanent and positive social change.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. First of all, thanks to Sammi and to the Foghorn for this story on the event – we were all very grateful to have some additional publicity! However, there are a few points I wanted to clarify, because some of the information is slightly misleading:

    Jenny Reed and I were NOT the co-directors of the event. This event was largely a collaborative effort by the “Planning Team,” which also included Dean Coit, Jenny Dinh, Florentina Dobrin, Craig Jordan, Marie Gengler O’Connor, Christina Sanchez, Veronica Vasquez, and Kevin Bolen, along with a few others who provided specific services. It’s true that we started planning the event during the summer, but it was a GROUP effort the entire time! Christina Sanchez (Associate Dean for Student Development) was the administration pointperson for the committee and was extremely instrumental in pulling this together. Again, it was not Jenny and I who “hand picked” the bands; Florentina was head of the USF bands sub-committee and was the person who facilitated that process. We, as a team, wanted to make sure the musical content was appropriate for this event, and Students Taking Action Against Sexual Violence officers (Vero Vasquez, Jenny Reed, and I) were particularly firm in our wish to avoid misogynistic lyrics.

    The idea for the Rock Against Rape event was initially going to be a club fundraiser/awareness activity by Students Taking Action Against Sexual Violence, which is why our club was listed as having “presented” the event. I just wanted to make clear that there were so many other people who put in just as much – if not more – work to make this happen.

    To answer the anonymous question above: because this concert was chosen as the September Signature Event, we were approved for funding by the school. If you want to look into what the Signature Event series is, you’ll be able to see where exactly the money comes from. One fact that always bothered me a little (if I’m being perfectly honest) was that we were spending more money to put the concert together than we were actually donating to the Women’s Community Clinic. It’s something our organization was always aware of, and a little weary of, but the fact that we agreed to collaborate with administration to make the concert a student activity meant that we were also able to pay student musicians, obtain sound equipment, etc. In general, we had to jump through a lot of hoops this year, but the process will be much smoother for future years and planning teams, and I wish them continued success!

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