A year ago on a warm night in June 2012, folks assembled into the house of the bold and brave Rachel Valentine to donate to the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. When the number of donors reached a total of 50, Rachel’s friends brought out the clippers and gave Rachel a punk cut to remember. This past weekend, the tradition lived on.
Arriving at Orange County Social Club on Saturday night, I was taken aback at how many people had gathered inside to support the Center. I pulled out my camera just in time to capture the first cut: the brave Amado, the son of Board Secretary Lydia Perez. Others joined in and soon, the room filled with applause and punk spikes supported by hair gel. The amazing stylists from Mina’s Studio provided an array of fresh styles to our team, including Rape Prevention Education Coordinator Rachel Valentine, Rebecca Honeycutt (wife of Crisis Response Coordinator Joey Honeycutt), Education & Finance Coordinator Alexis Kralic’s family, StartStrong Intern Amanda Baldiga, the Ruiz-Perez family, and Heather Wegerzyn.
In accordance with the punk DIY mentality, the night became more unceremonious as the gifted stylists left, leaving Rachel and myself with a pair of buzzing clippers and a flock of nervous volunteers. Community members began an impromptu “live auction,” offering to shave their heads for funds raised on the spot for the Center. The punk cuts performed by yours truly turned out “just fine” even if a little sloppy, and I was even able to get my own hair all punked out by Rachel. It felt incredible, not only to feel the summer breeze on the sides of my head, but also to feel the overflowing sense of love and gratitude among all the folks involved.
Some might wonder why Rachel would plan a fundraising event around the notion of cutting hair. Besides the obvious “because getting a messy haircut by an amateur friend using clippers for the fifth time is fun,” we wanted to emphasize the radical anti-racist, anti-oppressive tradition alive within punk subculture that aligns with the mission of the Center.
Rachel put it best when she said:
In my philosophy of community engagement, fundraising is an activation activity; an effort to raise awareness of the urgent issue at hand, but also the inspiring fact that everyone has some badass in their life who is willing to go to extreme lengths to act upon their passion for ending sexual violence. That’s the kind of community I want to live in. Punk Cuts to End Rape is the kind of activity that pushes forward the social and cultural change that must happen for sexual violence to end.
Of course, this night would not have been possible without the support of this wonderful community who showed up, danced around, and offered up donations. Overall, Punk Cuts to End Rape raised over $4,200 for the Orange County Rape Crisis Center!
Many, many thanks to our event organizers, fundraisers, punk participants, stylists, venue hosts, donors, and supporters! The talented hair stylists Jackie Monday and Erin Acosta from Mina’s Studio both did a phenomenal job in a non-traditional setting. We also want to thank the Orange County Social Club for allowing us to use their space and spill the hair of sixteen courageous individuals on their floor.
Interested in giving your locks for the cause? The Punk Cuts to End Rape Benefit will be back next summer just in time for you to get your own punk look! In the meantime, view more photos on the OCRCC Facebook page.
Alex Stewart is our brand-new Administrative Services Coordinator. In addition to managing our office and providing integral staff support, she offers amazing media production skills to the Center.