/ by: GuerrillaFeminism

Guerrilla Feminist Focus: Rocky Rivera

Welcome to our weekly column, Guerrilla Feminist Focus, where we feature one badass Guerrilla Feminist!

[Photo credit: Vivian Chen]

Name: Rocky Rivera
Location: Oakland via San Francisco

 1. Tell us a about yourself. What projects are you currently working on?
I’m an artist, writer, activist, and youth organizer.  Right now, I’m currently working on a reader to go with my music – one that has my extensive lyrics from all my projects, essays and curriculum for educators to download for their lectures.  I’m also simultaneously fielding new beats for my next album.

2. What are you passionate about? Why?

I’m passionate about many things, but social justice is my main focus. Intersectional feminism is the ideology I am most known for, but I also challenge police brutality and anti-black sentiment in the Asian-American community.  That being said, I still have a ways to go when it comes to understanding other issues that oppressed people face and I am constantly learning how to be a better ally.

3. What activist efforts are you involved in? What causes do you support?

I organize youth in East Oakland to challenge harmful push-out practices in schools that funnel black and brown youth into the schools-to-prisons pipeline.  The important thing about organizing youth is letting them speak and share their experiences so they are not relying on an adult to enact change.  I also believe deeply in healing forms of art and restorative justice in schools, workplaces, and anywhere that needs connection and conflict resolutions.

4. What do you like most about doing activist work on social media platforms? Why?

I believe that awareness can be spread about the work that you’re doing on social media, but real change happens when you are out in the real world, with the people.  The best thing, though, is having a dialogue with folks outside your community and staying supportive and connected to each other against white supremacists and violently misogynistic trolls, but trolls don’t exist in the real world – they are too scared to show their face.  I also love seeing Black Twitter and women “clap back” at ignorance online.

5. What or who inspires you?

My ancestors and the resilience of the Philippine people is a lifelong source of inspiration.  Staying connected to the past while investing in the future keeps me focused on the end goal, which is liberation and self-determination for all. I also love seeing artists who don’t usually speak out against injustice finally get that a-ha moment and see that art IS activism.  We are creating a new world with our bare hands and there is nothing more revolutionary than that!

6. Since activist burnout is a very real thing, how do you practice self-care?

I smoked a lot of weed in college and am still a frequent user, but now I am interested in the healing properties of all plants and especially the grounding force of nature and being in solitude.  Anxiety runs in my family and so does Alzheimers so cannabis is a healing herb for both, and I can’t wait until its legalized.  But that is still a crutch – to practice preventative self-care I run, box, do yoga, hike, meditate and cut out spiritual vampires!  Counseling and talk therapy are how I heal myself emotionally. I am also on a quest to connect with my spiritual lineage of healers since they come from both sides of my family.

7. Do you have any advice for those wanting to engage in activism (either online or offline)?

Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it.  Start following people whose beliefs or art inspire you.  Notice what triggers you and what sustains you.  Be open to the world around you because oftentimes, the internet can be a vortex of negativity.  I think that if people are balanced in real life (or not), it shows online.  Based on your own life experiences, find a way to turn your trauma into a positive force for others.  That not only heals you, but it heals others in the process and that is a mutual exchange that resonates.

8. Where can people follow you online?

Twitter: @RockyRivera
Instagram: @RockyRivera
Snapchat: Rocky Rivera
Facebook: Rocky Rivera
If you really what to know who I am, listen to and support my music on BeatrockMusic.com and Spotify, iTunes or CD Baby.
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