Earlier this year, I had joined a punk rock social site and through reading some posts by different users, I have gotten to know a few of them a little and really enjoy learning cool stuff about them. One of these people is a girl named Kelly Griggs. Kelly is a 15 year old punk – as in punk rock, not “you punks get off my lawn!”. Kelly & some friends had a social club and they were being harassed by some of the local people who prefer not to understand people, but rather to try and extinguish the different. They wanted to try to promote the club to help people understand a little better what they were about and they had trouble finding a place to put a show together, so eventually the club just stopped meeting together – I can only assume through frustration and a feeling of defeat. Now, many adults at this point would’ve just thrown in the towel, but Kelly didn’t. She let this be drive she needed to try harder.
At 14 years old, Kelly decided to start her own organization called Punks For Tolerance. You see, Kelly has had issues with bullying and just general assholery because people have a tendency to be dicks sometimes and would rather attack someone for being different rather than get to know the awesome things about them that make them different. So, PFT is her way of fighting fire with flowers. She organized her first rock show on July 10th. She pulled together 6 local Seattle bands to play the show (Manson’s Girls, Dies Drear, Pizzacat, Jefferson Deathstar, Poke Da Squid & Mind Candy). She organized it as a potluck which I think is pure fucking genius – free food can never be a bad thing – and to top it all off, she raised $240 that they split between 2 local charities: $120 to the West Memphis 3 Defense Fund and $120 to a Seattle local youth homeless shelter. I know in the grand scheme of things $120 doesn’t seem like much, but for a first run right out of the gate, I think she did a damn good job and I’m sure those kids at the shelter thought so too when they didn’t have to go hungry for another few more days.
Kelly has told me that she is trying to pull together some merchandise to sell to help raise more money for things like these and she is trying to organize another show in January at a Seattle club called The Morgue. I wish I could be there for it so I could shake her hand personally. I think what she is doing is admirable and I really wish more kids today had the initiative to work at something positive, rather than just trying to get the next cool fight video uploaded to Youtube.
You can check out the Punks For Tolerance Facebook page >here< or the home page >here< and if you’re in the Seattle area, please keep an eye out for PFT events and show some support. After all, there are less positive ways that people can deal with harassment and bullying.