Bay Area Punk Activism

a punk giving a man lunch

Punk rockers sing about social issues and changing the world, but there can be a lack of punks going out and actually making those changes happen. A political slogan on a back-patch isn't enough.

The Bay Area has always been a hotbed of radical politics, and there's plenty of organizations for Bay Area punks to get involved with. Here is a list of a few activist organizations that are either run by punks or have a lot of punk members.

Get involved. Not only will you be making change, you will also meet some cool people.

Punks With Lunch

Are you a punk rocker looking to get involved with other punks? Want to make some friends and help out those in need? Live in Oakland? Check out Punks With Lunch. It's a simple idea inspired by groups like Food Not Bombs. Punks make a lunch, and give it out to the local homeless population.

This is a great organization to join if you do not have a set schedule or do not know how often you will be able to volunteer. You can show up, help prepare the meals or help distribute the meals.

Bay Area Girls Rock Camp

The Bay Area Girls Rock Camp is a nonprofit organization that teaches girls to play music. The goal is to empower these girls and help them build self confidence through music.

I've known a few people who have volunteered here, teaching these girls to play music, write songs and form a band. Every single one of the volunteers loved it. This organization is led by women but welcomes male-identified individuals who respect that.

If you have a passion for music, empowering the youth or teaching, this could be a very rewarding volunteer opportunity.

924 Gilman Street

The famous Berkeley punk rock venue is run solely by volunteers. You can get involved by showing up an hour or less before any show and working the front door or any other position they may need help with that night.

Gilman is run as a collective. You can start influencing the way the club is run by going to a membership meeting and expressing yourself/voting. Read more about how Gilman is run.

The Long Haul Infoshop

This is a radical Berkeley institution. The Long Haul is a space for organizing and putting on events. Events include concerts, movies, speakers and discussion groups. The organization is run by anarchists and used as a resource by many in the Berkeley radical community.

The infoshop also contains a large library of books and zines such asthe Slingshot zine.

Food Not Bombs

Food Not Bombs has been a Bay Area institution for a long time. The idea is simple, make vegetarian food and server it free to whoever wants some. There are chapters all over the Bay Area and it is really easy to get involved.

Many Others

These are just a few of the organizations doing good work in the Bay Area. They are the first ones that came to my mind when I thought about punk volunteer opportunities. These groups all have a number of punks involved in their organization and will welcome new volunteers.

There are plenty of other volunteer opportunities in the Bay Area. There are radical book stores and venues, hacker spaces, prison abolition groups, etc. If you do not see anything that speaks to you above, do not be discourages. Ask around or search on Google. You will likely find a cause you care about. If not, think about starting your own! DIY or die, right?