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Our History

Grassroots Community Building

How did the Auburn Hip Hop Congress get started?

Auburn Hip Hop Congress is about to celebrate its 6th year of existence. With some very grassroots beginnings, the group has been able to accomplish a lot in just 5 years! AHHC started when Co-founders Natalie Pohley and Rocky Zapata were working very closely with the Sacramento Chapter of Hip Hop Congress. They would bring carloads of volunteers from Auburn to help with events and projects in Sacramento. They decided that there might be a need to start something similar in their hometown. That is when Auburn Hip Hop Congress was born. They wanted to bring a positive movement with an artistic culture and new opportunities for people to express themselves. They introduced the idea, 5 years ago, at a “What is Hip Hop?” forum at the Beach Hut Deli. To their surprise approximately 70 people showed up, young and old and from many different backgrounds.  After a successful beginning hosting small events and with Natalie’s background working with youth, the direction of the organization naturally turned to focus more towards teens and young adults in the community. With no venues, awareness or support, they started hosting music workshops in their own living room and graffiti workshops on pieces of cardboard on the porch. The group quickly grew from 4 members to 16+, which was when they decided they needed a bigger space to meet. That is when Auburn opened up its doors to this unique group of young artists, rappers and community organizers! They have found a home with PlacerArts, which has allowed them to grow as an organization and connect to the community in new and exciting ways. We have also hosted programs and events at: Gold Country Fairgrounds, Auburn Recreation District, Boy and Girls Club, Auburn Library, Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center, Round Table Pizza and many more venues in the Auburn area!

Auburn Hip Hop Congress has been successful in engaging youth and bridging generational and cultural gaps by using music and art to bring the community together in positive and meaningful ways.

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