There were heretics, but thousands of us were thrown on the fire. Most of all our memories were burned. The voice was replaced with paper, and a greater silence came to reign. Any stories that were not in their one Book were banished. Memories of magic, of healing, of speaking with the forest, of our origins, memories of the time when we shared everything and nothing was owned, were suppressed.
This is how they destroyed our roots. And this is why, on May Day, we tell stories. Stories of our lives, of our struggles, of the future we want, of a past we invent because we no longer remember it.
The Witch’s Child
i honestly wish that anarchists put more effort into writing weird stuff like myths. theory gets really boring as the only way that people wanna communicate ideas and i think that storytelling is a really important form of communication which is still present in some ways in what we do but not enough. (via hystericalqueen)
Great comment via POCZP touring member Suzy X <3
POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano would like to add that storytelling - as a conduit for affirming and deconstructing our realities as POC - is a critical component of our past and upcoming Race Riot! tour.
ZINE SPOTLIGHT: ‘Colita de Rana: Love, Identity & Panochas’ and ‘Watermelon: and other things that make me uncomfortable as a black person’
By Cata, POCZP Intern
“Colita de Rana…Love, Identity & Panochas” by Tracy García and company (2012)
This zine opens with a labeled cartoon vagina. Ok, wait. Back story: Colita de Rana = frog tail—it’s from a saying that signifies healing. And: Panochas = Pussy.
The ideas in this zine were loved into pages by anger, angst and ambition. I know this because I saw it’s spirit awake when one of my friends (a co-author) attended a QPOC, Queer People of Color conference back in the day and we took a Panocha workshop. The most powerful experiences, people, books, zines, movies, artwork plant the seeds of future creation. This is the fruit of one of those seeds. In Colita de Rana there are plenty of female anatomy lessons, self-love reminders and a gesture to genetic trauma.
My favorite page is a poem by a lady from Inglewood (my dad’s old stomping grounds). She talks about the domestication of love… “how did love become so scary? was it the moment it got domesticated?” This a powerful question hidden on the third page of the zine.
Seeing this quote through the zine’s title can lead the question: How can we heal from domesticated love? What is that? Certainly it involves government control and production of a certain kind of love.
Page 8 displays a cut-out of a dinosaur called a “clitosaurus” above the prehistoric animal is a quote about the deportation of lesbian undocumented immigrants in the 1990’s. Shit is real. Colita de Rana lets us know.
Disarming dinosaurs still deliver through history. Our history, herstory unknown rather wished erased and gone but still lingers at the bottom of some hearts. This anatomy textbook for the “exploration of love, identity and panochas” is humble but proud. Check yo’ self, she says.
Page 10: heterosexual questionnaire. It’s your turn, straight folks, to have your coming of age story be commodified, died this hue then this shade and retried again and again —tooth combed for possible in-congruencies or untruths.
I love this zine and I hope they keep on the riot. This zine would be a great new friend to all questioning and angry Xican@s. Bring them on.
READ & DOWNLOAD COLITA DE RANA
“Watermelon…and other things that make me uncomfortable as a black person” by Whit Taylor (2011)
I found this gem at zine fest in dc this past July. Really, nothing can beat a fantastic new zine in the dead of summer heat when you think who is so noble and great that they are out promoting their zine? And then, there is someone.
Besides the fortuitous timing Whit Taylor is a great mini story shower/teller. In her zine she is showing us why certain things don’t roll so smooth for her. She keeps the tone light even during more serious topics. Taylor is able to do this because of a dry and even tone through out the story. Her drawings rock. They remind me of the drawings from Tina’s Mouth, another awesome lady comic.
Watermelon can easily find a place among folks working to deconstruct the stereotypes that can plague different communities. Humanizing an experience is a big part of breaking down stereotypes. When you don’t know someone personally its easier to paint them as something their not.. literally. Tayor does a great job at this. In fact my favorite quote from her is: “I love Alice in Chains, which according to my uncle makes me a teenage white boy. I grew up on my parents’ 1960’s & 70’s soul music but became a victim of 90’s suburban life. So sue me.”
Her honesty is fresh. And yet it leaves me wondering about somethings… like what about her cousins in the frame about New Orleans? What kind of comic/zine would they write? Would they agree with her? These are questions that often come up for myself as I and many other creators find pieces of their autobiographies show up in their work…would my family/community agree? How do they see it?
And this is what’s great about Watermelon. This is how Taylor experienced growing up where she did, being who she is. Really that’s all we got: our experience and it’s one that others are either going to learn from or identify with. And zines really open up a space for folks who usually don’t show up in books or magazines to share their version.
Thanks Ms. Whit Taylor, for sharing yours.
Watermelon is a great zine about one girls’ reflections on the stereotypes that live in her world. Specifically this zine helps to thwart the power these stereotypes might have on others by simply humanizing them and breaking them down. After all it did spark a pretty humorous discussion in my house about our own battles with awkward/embarrassing moments striving to straddle the lines between our cultures and the way others see us in our culture.
It’s a daily deal, as is shown by Whit Taylor in Watermelon.
ORDER WATERMELON HERE.
LEARN MORE ABOUT WHIT TAYLOR whimsicalnobodycomics.com
COMMUNITY: Do you want to review zines for POCZP? Learn more about POCZP internship & volunteer opportunities here. We are still accepting applications.
If you are interested in POCZP leading a workshop or other event in collaboration with your organization - worldwide - email email@example.com.
Cata is a two-spirit mixed race writer/yogi/graphic novel reader/zine lover in Washington, D.C., originally from the LBC (Long Beach California).
On January 20, 2010, I created the @poczineproject Twitter account and organized a couple of events. That was the start of an experiment in activism and community through materiality that grew into last year’s 14-city Race Riot! tour and the developing Legacy Series.
POCZP is still a 100% DIY, volunteer operation. We are finally at a stage where we can begin collaborating with interns. We are evaluating funding models aligned with our core values and discussing what sustainability for the project will look like after 2013.
It’s pretty incredible how quickly time can fly when you’re pouring your heart and soul into something you believe in. It doesn’t feel like three years — more like the blink of an eye. And there’s still so much more to be done.
So here’s what we’re asking:
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: BE INCLUDED IN OUR 2012 RACE RIOT! TOUR ZINE
We want to hear from you! Tell us what you think about the POC Zine Project (Submit here or to firstname.lastname@example.org).
What about the project speaks to you?
What would you like to see us do in the future?
If you attended one of our events, describe your experience.
If any of the touring members inspire you in some way, share your experience.
These are just some topics you can write about, but we want to leave it open.
DEADLINE: February 28, 2013
MORE WAYS TO HELP
1) Support the 2013 Race Riot! tour by contacting us here (or at email@example.com) and let us know if you’re interested in helping us organize a tour date in your town. We will be traveling through the Southwest (starting in Atlanta) and up the West Coast (ending in Seattle). Final dates TBA soon.
2) Be an intern and/or volunteer. We can offer school credit and accept applications from people who aren’t presently in school. Telecommuting options are available.
3) Make a donation and support our efforts. All funds go toward upcoming event costs and our original zine series. DONATE link via PayPal: http://bit.ly/SHdmyh
Thank you, to all of you who have messaged us in different ways over the years with your zine submissions, questions and offers of support.
A huge thank you to those who have donated their time and resources in both digital and physical realms. You know who you are.
Love and Solidarity,
Founder, POC Zine Project
Hi Anon aka Ingrid!
Thanks for sharing you feedback on our Race Riot! tour finale at DBA! Anyone who attended any of our tour dates and/or participated as a volunteer, performer, zine partner or ally can contribute by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and putting “RACE RIOT TOUR ZINE” in the subject line.
We’re in the middle of figuring out content and format, so as people reach out we’ll group their interests and contribution suggestions by topic and then share the bigger picture with everyone when we’re ready.
Also, we’re psyched to hear you’re going to create your own zine! Please consider submitting it to our archive when you’re ready and letting us know when it’s available so we can help signal boost. <3
- POC ZINE PROJECT
Para liberar nuestras fronteras: Seeing, Feeling, and Finding Community ‘at the Race Riot’
I remember, in fine detail, the exact moment during Meet Me at the Race Riot (editor’s note: read this rad report back) when I finally managed to relax.
I tend to be a nervous public speaker. I’ve gotten compliments on how ‘natural’ and comfortable I seem at readings, and I think that I’ve managed to accept them gracefully. But whatever confidence I seem to project is a mere illusion, and I didn’t even seem to have that on this particular evening. I went to ‘the race riot’ with more than my usual portion of anxiety, carried it right up to the front of the room when I sat down with the other readers, and clung to it for over an hour.
(Jamie’s portion begins at 19:49 into this video.)
Before the last presentation, moderator Daniela Capistrano opened up a general Q&A session by asking if anyone in attendance knew of or was working on zines about the Occupy Movement. Someone in the audience shared that they had been involved in documenting the feminist and queer experience at Occupy Wall Street, and also that they had somehow managed to scam photocopies of this from a major corporation. This was met with murmurs of approval and appreciation, including fellow reader Mariam Bastani’s quiet, but affirmative, “Haaaaii…!”
It was small, but that was the moment. I turned to look at her, and I cracked up. I thought that her response was entirely valid, as I too support any and all conning of corporate entities out of paper and ink. But it was also funny, so I laughed. For the first time that day my shoulders loosened up, I took a deep breath, and I forgot about my anxiety. I stopped wondering what I, who have done ‘basically nothing’ for zine culture, was doing up there with a panel of ‘legit’ readers and started to enjoy being there.
If only I’d let myself enjoy more of it. Jordan Alam, Osa Atoe, and Mariam told us how they had come to zine culture and also how they had become conscious of issues of race, class, gender, and identity, and Mariam and Osa spoke at length about their experiences with punk and hardcore. All three were genuine, thoughtful, and entertaining. Jordan spoke with candor about the therapeutic value of talking to herself, and using those conversations to write zines. Mariam read to us from a piece that addresses the issue of white punks’ aversion to the “expression” ‘people/persons of color’, and explains “what’s really up” with punk and race with her uniquely goofy, yet tough voice. Osa read an unpublished zine contribution from artist and veteran punk Vaginal Creme Davis about her mother’s involvement with a criminal lesbian separatist organization.
But I listened to all of this as if from just outside the classroom’s door, and watched as if through a window: straining to hear and see all of it, and distracted by my longing to be in the room with everyone. I sat there wanting to be and feel present, wanting to forget the personal problems I had tried to leave at home when I frantically ran out the door and to the train station earlier that day. But it isn’t always so easy to do that.
My anxiety about this event began before I even agreed to participate. Co-organizer and respected colleague Kate Wadkins e-mailed me a month in advance to ask I’d like to read at an event about zinesters of color, with the likes of Osa Atoe and Mimi Thi Nguyen. Fully aware of their work and their impact, I almost declined. I didn’t feel like I belonged on the bill. The idea of reading with them scared me.
So I told Kate that I would be happy to read. If something scares you, that means you should do it, right? And if someone offers you this type of opportunity, you should take it as a compliment, and trust her judgment, right? I accepted Kate’s invitation, and decided that this would be just the motivation I needed to help me finish the zine that I’d been planning all summer. I spent the next month hard at work on writing, layout, and ultimately unsuccessful ‘anxiety management’.
I’m pretty sure that I utterly failed to manage my anxiety because I didn’t know its source, and didn’t recognize its until the night of the reading. When the event began, I looked out into the audience and realized that none of the friends I’d asked to be there had arrived. I saw about 100 attentive, engaged faces (…as well as some great hair and really cute tops), but few of them were familiar. I’d struggled to think of people to invite to the event, and then struggled some more with feeling guilty for asking them to take time out of their lives to support me. When the few people I did ask didn’t show, it made me feel incredibly alone.
To fully understand this, you need to know that my parents, who were very supportive of everything I did, are both dead. One of them died less than 18 months ago. I have no siblings, and no family nearby, and I’ve been busy with grief and being the executor of an estate, and I’ve felt distant and removed from most of my friends. I’ve needed them and their help, but some have made it clear that they can’t or don’t want to, and it’s made it hard for me to trust everyone around me. Feeling ‘really alone’, and afraid that I will always feel that way, has been my central issue for the past year. Wishing I could talk to my parents, and missing their reassurances, is something that I have to deal with regularly.
Grief is isolating. It draws borders around you, and it can make you feel like you aren’t capable of moving forward or liberating yourself. It can colonize you, and convinced you of your inferiority. Isolated, and occupied by those intense, miserable emotions, is how I felt when the reading started.
Fortunately, it’s not how I felt afterwards. Some of my friends did make it in time to hear me read, and I will forever be grateful to them for it. I read about my misadventures in teaching, and what I’d learned from trying to incorporate my post-colonial politics into my interactions with my students. I managed to get through my reading without fainting, and I couldn’t help but feel grateful for that, as well.
It clicked into place during that fateful Q&A, though. The people who had come to listen to us asked questions about the work we do, the identities we perform, and the obstacles we’ve faced, and told us their stories about their experiences with punk, zine culture, oppression and resistance. Listening and watching as these dialogues opened up and progressed around me made the zine community feel tangible. The consistent use of conscientiously feminist, anti-racist, anti-classist language made the space feel positive and safe. Being able to listen to this, and feeling free to laugh with Mariam in the middle of all of this made me feel safe.
Mimi Thi Nguyen’s final presentation closed the evening, appropriately enough, with her ideas on people of color and their place within punk, zining, and activist communities. She read from a critique of recent Riot Grrrl nostalgia and inquiry, which notes how women of color are framed as a “big downer” within these narratives. Women of color are so often reduced to just that — they are asked to provide a sort of ‘women of color’ commentary, and rarely treated as full participants and creators. Women of color are an ‘intervention,’ rather than a legitimate part of the thing itself.
Which might not sound terribly uplifting, but I know that it inspired me to take more control of my own narrative. It reminded me that in both my shaky personal life and my uneven life as a zinester of color, I am more than an intervention or a ‘downer’, that I’m an active contributor to something bigger, to a culture and community that matters to me.
Participating at Meet Me at the Race Riot: People of Color in Zines from 1990 — Today didn’t solve my problems or fix my life. I won’t pretend that ‘community’ is a substitute for family, friends, or other close relationships, because it isn’t. Community’s value is distinct and not easily quantified. It has a unique way of assuaging feelings of loneliness — if you seek it out, and if you let it.
Editor’s note: Jamie Varriale Vélez was on the first “Meet Me At The Race Riot: People of Color in zines from 1990-Today” panel held in collaboration with POC Zine Project, Barnard Zine Library and For the Birds Collective in November of 2011.