Peace, love, unity and respect are as fundamental to dance music culture as the music that defines it. Since its origins in 1990, the concept of PLUR has become something truly greater than itself—a motto to live by, and a mission to heed.
This year, a group of Southern California dance music enthusiasts decided to take it a step further. Having started out as a Facebook page meant for connecting ravers and discussing events, the group began taking part in charitable events and internal activities meant to extend the PLUR lifestyle across the community.
We caught up with Johnzie, the PLUR Foundation’s founder, after a successful group meetup at Nocturnal Wonderland 2016. Below, Johnzie gives us details on the group’s origins, initiatives and future, as well as information for those wishing to take part in its growth.
What is PLUR Foundation?
PLUR Foundation is a nonprofit organization with the mission to bring PLUR to the world by helping those in need, volunteering to better our communities, and encouraging people to pursue their passions. We participate in random acts of kindness, pay-it-forward activities, and monthly group volunteering events.
How did the idea for PLUR Foundation come about?
I went to my first rave in 1997 and learned about the notion of PLUR at a young age. My rave big brothers and sisters took me in and showed me what a community of Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect was all about. It didn’t matter where you came from or what you looked like—you were accepted.
Fast-forward to the present: After a few years of running a large Facebook group called Insomniac Ravers, a decision was made to do something proactive with our membership. We wanted to differentiate ourselves from simply being a group discussing upcoming festivals. We started actively promoting PLUR on the group wall and led the community by example. Examples included taking people grocery shopping if they needed it, buying event tickets for people who demonstrated PLUR, and giving gifts to help people pursue their passions. Before long, one of our members, Cynthia, threw out the idea to feed the homeless together. We supported the idea and organized it as our first official volunteer event. By the end of that day, we managed to distribute over 500 lunch bags, 300 hygiene packs, countless water bottles and sodas, and 10 big boxes of clothes. It was an incredible experience, and from that moment forward, PLUR Foundation was born.
How did you first go about gathering support and members, and how do you spread your reach now?
The Insomniac Ravers Facebook group was created to gather people wanting to meet new friends at events. Two and a half years after its creation, the group has grown to over 7,000 members.
We post our volunteer events in this group and in the newly created PLUR Foundation Facebook group. These groups and our social media reach have been helping us connect with people and gather volunteers.
Can you describe a few of the projects you’ve begun/taken part in? Any you’re thinking about beginning?
We have three initiatives we’re currently working on:
1. Random Acts of PLUR: Similar to random acts of kindness, this project encourages our members to help people, should there be a need or to brighten someone’s day.
2. PLUR It Forward Fridays: Every Friday, we encourage people to go out and do something PLUR for someone and post their experiences. If you want to participate, use this hashtag so we can find you! #pluritfwd
3. Group Volunteering: Once a month, we organize a group-volunteering day where we gather and do something for the community. These events have included feeding the homeless, hanging out with seniors, planting trees, assembling military care packages, working with kids, delivering presents during the holidays, and more. The idea is to change it up each month and give our volunteers a different experience each time. Perhaps with the variety of opportunities, some members may discover their passions in life!
PLUR Foundation had a meetup at Nocturnal Wonderland. Have you had other meetups at festivals, and/or are you planning any upcoming ones?
At Nocturnal, we organized a sober raver meetup, and for many who joined, it was their first time being sober at a festival. It was an awesome, eye-opening experience. With good people around and the amazing atmosphere Insomniac provides, taking drugs isn’t necessary—it’s more of a hindrance than enhancement. Time doesn’t fly by, and you can remember every moment!
Our next meetup will be at Escape, and we plan to organize meetups at all Insomniac festivals. Anyone is welcome to join!
What challenges are you running into?
The big thing for us is getting people to post about PLUR. A lot of people do good deeds out there and don’t care about getting attention or “likes.” While that is understandable, in order to win the fight against negativity, the world needs more evidence of PLUR. By posting positive stories or experiences, we can inspire the people around us. It starts with you and me: PLUR inspires PLUR.
What’s the future look like for PLUR Foundation?
The future is very bright, and we’re organizing our upcoming volunteer events as we speak. On September 24, we will be planting trees at a local park, and on October 15, we will be assembling military care packages for deployed troops overseas. Currently, we operate in Southern California, and the plan is to grow and organize group volunteer events across the country.
Where are you in your process of becoming an official 501c?
We recently established our board of directors (Elyse Petersen, Juan Carlos Grajales, and myself), and our paperwork is currently being processed by the state of California. Once that’s completed, we’ll be filing our 501(c)3 with the IRS. We expect to be an officially registered nonprofit organization by the end of the year!
What’s the best way for people to get involved?
Go to plurfoundation.org. It currently leads to our PLUR Foundation Facebook group, where we discuss future events and organizational things. People wanting to volunteer or come to our meetups should join the group. We’re also currently looking for a photographer/video/editor to capture our volunteer events and develop our YouTube channel. If anyone wants to help, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those who wish to donate, we have a PayPal setup at email@example.com. We are all volunteers, so 100 percent of donations go toward funding our projects and events.
To our new friends reading this, we look forward to meeting you! Let’s show the world that PLUR exists.