Mare Ralph grew up in greater Chicagoland and began playing guitar at age fourteen. Like many LGBTQ youth, they struggled throughout adolescence – with depression, substance abuse, and other self-destructive behavior. Music was a lifeline and a way to express and process those difficult feelings.
Mare’s life revolved around playing music and touring until their band was in a van accident in 2009. While recovering, music took a backseat as they discovered other passions and graduated from DePaul University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education.
They moved to Louisville KY in 2014 and fell in love with girls rock camps, recognizing that their teenage experience makes them completely, uniquely qualified to support girls, trans youth, and gender-nonconforming youth in finding their creative selves and feeling whole. Mare organized with Girls Rock Louisville since its founding in a variety of roles. While in Louisville, they also worked with disconnected youth as a teacher, advocate, and restorative justice facilitator.
Mare is currently a pursuing a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy at UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. They are excited to be back home and able to gain new skills organizing with Girls Rock! Chicago.They believe that music is a tool of community building through creative expression and that joy is a revolutionary force.