POC ZINE PROJECT

Posts tagged Let's talk about

Hey POC Zine Project! We at the Feminist Press love your organization’s blog, and we were hoping you would check ours out. We’re an independent nonprofit dedicated to publishing literature that promotes feminism, activism, and social justice. We’ll be posting book reviews, the latest in gender and sexuality issues, and other exciting news on our Tumblr. Perhaps you could help support us and spread the word to your followers, maybe join in on our discussions? We’d appreciate it! — Asked by thefeministpress

Dear Feminist Press and other entities that are reaching out to us right now solely to help them with things:

Thanks for your message. We appreciate your kind words. As you may have noticed from following our Tumblr (and through info we have shared here), we are in the middle of booking a 20 city tour. We are a 100% DIY, volunteer, unfunded project. As you can imagine, a 20 city tour is a tall order to deliver on when you factor in regular life needs (day job, family, etc.). We need all the help we can get.

With that context, we offer you the following friendly advice/guidance:

1. If it’s your first time reaching out to us, please consider figuring out in advance what sort of support you can offer in return, before asking us to take on additional tasks to further your mission. 

2. We are not a promotional mechanism for publishers. We are a grassroots advocacy platform for POC and deeply consider everything we help signal boost (intention, history of person/org, etc.). If you would like to develop a content sharing partnership, then you must also share what you can provide us in return.

3. If we have never seen you promote our efforts on your digital platforms, why should we consider adding additional tasks in the middle of booking our tour to support you? For example, Feminist Press has not re-blogged or promoted anything from POCZP on their Tumblr for over a week now (that’s as far back as we went to check), but yet contacted us on Tumblr asking for promotion … on our Tumblr. Does that make sense in terms of building goodwill/coalition building? No, it does not.

4. Please consider your various privileges before assuming that we have the space, time and emotional bandwidth to help you with your promotional efforts - especially without offering any support in return.

If you’d like to continue to discuss this (and have considered ways to offer us support so this is a mutually beneficial arrangement), please email poczineproject@gmail.com.

<3

POCZP

Let’s Talk About: Nia King on her ‘punk privilege’

By Nia King, POCZP Contributor

There are a lot of things I hate about punk culture. You can read about most of them in The First 7-Inch Was Better: How I Became an Ex-Punk. But one of the positive things I took away from punk was the knowledge that I could do things myself (whether it was publishing a zine, putting a show together, or cooking a meal for a big crowd at Food Not Bombs with little help and little culinary training).

I’m not saying the zines, shows, or meals were exceptionally well-produced, but as a pink-haired 16 year old, I knew they were all things I could do myself. I didn’t need to ask permission. 

POCZP contributor Nia King (Summer 2013)

[DESCRIPTION: Nia King assembles some of her zines at home (2013). Photo credit: Nia King] 

As I got older, being a punk became less important to me, and identities like “queer” and “woman of color” began to play a bigger role in my life. I took my passion for social justice out of the VFW kitchen, and poured it into campus organizing in college, and after graduation, an entry level job at a terrible non-profit. There I learned that doing things well required years of training, lots of money, and often outside consultants. Little emphasis was put into helping us build the skills we’d need to do things ourselves. A lot of emphasis was put into making sure I didn’t forget to use oxford commas.

Three years outside of college (and one year outside the uber-dysfunctional non-profit), I am thankful for my punk roots. Though I dropped out of art school and still draw at, what I feel, is a high school level, I started a webcomic, which is currently being featured in the Lady Drawers exhibition in Chicago. With very little audio editing experience, I started a podcast. (I record all the interviews on my phone.) And without ever having taken a journalism class, I started writing for magazines. The verdict is still out on how that’s going.

None of the things I made are award-winning, all of them are a little rough around the edges. But I’ve overcome that deep-seated fear of imperfection that comes from the knowledge that as a queer woman of color I have to be a super-overachiever to be given even half the credit I’m due. I’m amplifying the voices of people from marginalized communities (whether it be myself or other queer and trans artists of color) in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to if I’d continue to believe I needed more training and better equipment before I put my foot in the water. Growing up in punk culture and zine culture taught me, “It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to do it.”

I’m sure my privileges as a light-skinned, middle-class, cisgender woman had everything to do with the doors that have been opened for me. Doors were also opened for me by the incredible mentors I had at Mills College and Colorlines Magazine (which is not where I developed my fear of forgetting oxford commas, and was actually an amazingly supportive work environment.)

But punk is where I learned the DIY ethic that taught me I don’t need a ton of schooling or a ton of money to call myself an artist. I just need to make art, self-publish, and hustle to get my work to the audience that matters most to me: other folks from marginalized communities struggling to figure out if they can do it themselves.

Nia King
artactivistnia.com
@artactivistnia

_____________________

WANT MORE?

Read: Let’s Keep Talking About Colo(ur)ism & Share Solutions

Read: Zines in the Classroom: Pros and Cons

Read: The Truth Tour and how to be an ally at POC and Native events

Read: Chaun Webster: ‘I make books… that’s my shit’

_____________________

“Let’s Talk About” is an experimental series by POCZP created to share communal knowledge, resources and reflections on a wide range of topics affecting communities of color.

If you are a person of color—or a white person with a history of supporting POC Zine Project— who wants to contribute to “Let’s Talk About,” submit to poczineproject@gmail.com with “Let’s Talk About” in the subject line. 

All submissions to “Let’s Talk About” will be compiled into a zine (print & digital) that will be released by POCZP in December of 2013.

_____________________

SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT

If everyone in our community gave $10, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2013. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to our 2013 tour, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.

DONATE link via PayPal: http://bit.ly/SHdmyh

ZINE SPOTLIGHT: Tenacious: Art and Writing from Women in Prison (Issue #27)
RELEASE: December 2012
PAGES: 35
ORIGIN: New York City, USA
EDITOR: Vikki Law
DESCRIPTION FROM VIKKI:

Issue #27 includes:
a colorful Spruce Tree Dryad by a woman incarcerated in Alaska
a letter about ongoing conditions in Denver Women&#8217;s Correctional Facility
how prison staff react to holiday spirit
"It Doesn&#8217;t Matter If It&#8217;s Election Time": a response to Marianne Brown&#8217;s piece by a woman incarcerated in Colorado
letters from CeCe McDonald
mental health care in women&#8217;s prisons
living with HIV in a women&#8217;s prison

HOW TO ORDER TENACIOUS
SNAIL MAIL ONLY (for now)! To get a copy, send $3 in well-concealed cash or a check made out to V. Law to: PO Box 20388 New York, NY 10009
Here is all of Vikki&#8217;s contact info.
Be sure to indicate which issue you want (if not #27 or #28) and (if possible) provide an email address so that Vikki can contact you with any questions/requests.
READ AN EXCERPT FROM TENACIOUS #27 ONLINE
With Vikki&#8217;s permission, POCZP has made it possible for you to read an excerpt from issue #27 online, entitled &#8220;Mental Health Care in Prison&#8221; by Jane Dorotik, along with info about WORTH.

Jane is presently incarcerated in Corona, CA. You can write her at the following address (please tell her you found her info through Tenacious &amp; POC Zine Project):
Jane Dorotik
W90870
California Institution for Women, MB 114L
16756 Chino-Corona Road
Corona, CA 92880
COMMUNITY: Please consider purchasing multiple copies of Tenacious to support the series, Vikki&#8217;s important work helping to empower women who are incarcerated and activism through materiality.
&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;-
Q&amp;A WITH VIKKI LAW, EDITOR OF TENACIOUS
By POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano (@dcap)
Recorded on June 16, 2013 at ABC Nio Rio in NYC (part 1 of 4)
FIRST INSTALLMENT: THE MAKING OF TENACIOUS
DANIELA: Tell me about Tenacious issue #27. What is it about, why did you make it and did you have any support through the process?
VIKKI: I’ve been doing Tenacious since 2003&#160;(click here for an interview with Vikki from 2009). It actually wasn’t my idea to start Tenacious, which is a zine of art and writings by and from women in prison about their experiences both in prison and if they continue writing after they get out of prison. It was actually the idea of several women incarcerated in Oregon who were reading zines and magazines written by men in prison , and were seeing that their experiences were not being reflected in men prisoner writings.
They said they weren’t seeing things about dealing with their kids, or child custody issues, or maintaining contact with family, or pervasive sexual harassment they get from staff members inside prisons, so they wanted a publication that spoke about their issues and also spoke to other women so they knew they weren’t suffering these things by themselves.
Being in prison, they didn’t have access to things like stamps, postage - you know - photocopying, access to even the ability to write to other people freely. So they were looking for somebody on the other side and they asked me if I would be the outside person.
DANIELA: How did Tenacious go from an idea to an independent publication/zine?
I just started putting together Tenacious and putting it out. Originally it was me and several other young women who were also interested in supporting women in prison, getting their ideas and voices out. But because zine-making can sometimes be a very solitary experience, and working with people in prison can sometimes be this long extended process in which you don’t feel like you are making much of a difference because you can’t see anything tangible happening, or coming out of it, the other people slowly dropped out &#8230; it is work to sit there and try to figure out how to re-type stuff, or write back and forth with somebody in prison about their piece and how they might possibly make it stronger, because it’s not as well articulated as it could be&#8230;
So right now I am the only person editing Tenacious. And so for the Winter 2012 issue, which is issue #27, I just put out a call for submissions from women in prison - whether it be cisgendered women or transwomen.
DANIELA: How does putting out a call for Tenacious work? How do women in prison find out about this opportunity and how do you collect their stories from the outside?
VIKKI: I put out a call through the network of women in prison I already knew from having done support work in the past. I originally (in the early days of Tenacious) also put out a call through publications that sent free copies to women in prison.
off our backs used to send free copies to women in prison (ceased publishing in 2008). There was also a journal called Sojourner: The Women&#8217;s Forum that closed sometime in the early 2000s that not only sent free copies to women in prison, but also had an actual page or two where women in prison could write in and talk about their experiences. It was the women in prison column. So when they folded, they sent out letters to all of their women in prison readers and said &#8220;we’re really sorry, we’re closing, here are some other alternatives for free publications so you can have something to read and keep up&#8221; and they were willing to list Tenacious as one of the publications you could get free copies of and write for.
Calls for submissions have also been through word of mouth over the years. I’ve seen the people who’ve written for Tenacious shift, and you can kind of trace it to where people are sharing Tenacious in their prisons. So when I first started, I got a lot of writing and art from people incarcerated in Oregon Women’s Prison, because that is where the women were sharing copies of Tenacious.
As they were released, other women who were in other prisons started sharing it. So, for one issue, I might get 50% of my submissions from a women&#8217;s prison in Colorado, and that’s because women get copies and share them around with their friends and are like “hey!”
DANIELA: Tell me a little more about Tenacious #27, which we&#8217;re featuring as a preview in the first installment for our readers. 
Issue #27 is a variety of different writings from women in prison. There’s writings from people in Colorado, Indiana - in there’s a piece by CeCe McDonald, who is an African American transwoman incarcerated in a men’s prison in Minnesota, for defending herself against an attack on the street. There’s a couple of pieces of artwork by a transwoman named Nicky Riley, who has been incarcerated in Texas for several years. There’s a piece on lack of mental health care in California women’s prisons. 
DANIELA: Can you share some info about the history of health care and mental health care in CA? 
Several years ago, people incarcerated in CA actually sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The Supreme Court actually ruled that the lack of health care in California violated the 8th amendment against cruel and unusual punishment and put the entire prison system under what’s called a federal receivership, in which there’s someone who actually overseas how health care is run. So, basically, CDR can no longer neglect people to the extent that they have&#8230;but that doesn’t mean it’s gotten extraordinarily better, it just means that now there’s some federal oversight. 
So one woman actually writes in issue #27 about how mental health care in prison is still really inadequate, especially since there’s so many people who enter prison with mental health issues.
DANIELA: Do you do &#8220;themed&#8221; issues of Tenacious and how do you convey that information? What&#8217;s your process like?
In my call for submissions, there’s a list of experiences and ideas of what I’m looking for, so it’s not just &#8220;anything you’ve written off the top of your head!&#8221; So, specifically, &#8220;how does this relate to your experience in prison?&#8221;
One of the other goals of Tenacious is not just that women inside are able to read about other peoples’ experiences, but that people on the outside who may never have been incarcerated are able to read about experiences inside women&#8217;s prisons.
When they read, I hope they go &#8220;Wait! I never really thought about the fact that when we vote for or support things like mandatory sentencing laws, or Stop and Frisk, or are against the decriminalization of marijuana, etc. that we’re basically sentencing people to not only lose their liberty but to experience all these other atrocious aspects of prison.&#8221;
DANIELA: We&#8217;ll cover this more in the next installment, but how is your call for submissions for Tenacious #29 going?
For the upcoming issue I’ve actually gotten 4-6 pieces by women incarcerated in the women’s prison in Rhode Island, which I’ve sent one person there copies of Tenacious. Apparently she’s been sharing them around, so now I’m getting pieces from the women in Rhode Island even though I don’t have a prior relationship with any of them.
So, you can kind of trace where people are sharing copies and passing them along as something like “hey you should read this.” Also ,I don’t know if they’re encouraging their friends to write or if the women are reading Tenacious and thinking “you know, it’s not an intimidating thing to write something and send it in.”
COMMUNITY: Stay tuned for three more installments from this interview with Vikki Law that will share more issues of Tenacious.
ABOUT VIKKI LAW
Victoria Law is a writer, photographer, and mother. After a brief stint as a teenage armed robber, she became involved in prisoner support. In 1996, she helped start Books Through Bars-New York City, a group that sends free books to prisoners nationwide. In 2000, she began concentrating on the needs and actions of women in prison, drawing attention to their issues by writing articles and giving public presentations.
Since 2002, she has worked with women incarcerated nationwide to produce Tenacious: Art and Writings from Women in Prison and has facilitated having incarcerated women&#8217;s writings published in larger publications, such as Clamor magazine, the website &#8220;Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance&#8221; and the upcoming anthology Interrupted Lives. In 1995, she became involved with ABC No Rio, a collectively run arts center on New York&#8217;s Lower East Side, serving as Board Treasurer from 1997 to 2002. 
In 1997, she organized a group of activist photographers to transform one of No Rio&#8217;s upstairs tenement apartments into a black-and-white photo darkroom for community use. Since then, she has remained actively involved in coordinating (and sometimes co-teaching) free photography classes for neighborhood youth. In addition, she has participated in and curated numerous exhibitions at No Rio&#8217;s gallery, many with themes addressing social and political issues such as incarceration, grassroots efforts to rebuild New Orleans, Zapatista organizing, police brutality, and squatting. 
In 2003, she collaborated with China Martens to create &#8220;Don&#8217;t Leave Your Friends Behind,&#8221; a workshop addressing the specific (and often unacknowledged) needs of parents and children in radical movements; and has co-facilitated discussions in Baltimore, New York City, Providence, Montreal, Minneapolis, Detroit, and Boston. With Jessica Mills and China Martens, she is compiling a handbook for allies of radical parents by the same name.
VIKKI&#8217;S BOOKS
Vikki is a great example of a woman of color who makes zines and other intersectional materiality. 
Don&#8217;t Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities (buy here)
Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women 2nd ed. (buy here)
Som praise for Resistance Behind Bars

"An important contribution to the growing movement to end prisons as we know them."—Michelle Alexander, civil rights lawyer, advocate, legal scholar and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
"Law’s important book illuminates these under reported stories of individual and collective organizing by women in prison and encourages all of us to work in solidarity across prison walls to create a world that no longer includes the prison industrial complex.”—Angela Y. Davis, author of Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prison, Torture, and Empire and Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz
"Written in regular English, rather than academese, this is an impressive work of research and reportage."—Mumia Abu-Jamal, political prisoner and author of Live From Death Row

WATCH VIKKI TALK ABOUT GENDER AND THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

 Watch part 2 of this video here.
——————-
SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT
If everyone in our community gave $1, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2013. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to our 2013 tour, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.
DONATE link via PayPal: http://bit.ly/SHdmyh

ZINE SPOTLIGHT: Tenacious: Art and Writing from Women in Prison (Issue #27)

RELEASE: December 2012

PAGES: 35

ORIGIN: New York City, USA

EDITOR: Vikki Law

DESCRIPTION FROM VIKKI:

Issue #27 includes:

  • a colorful Spruce Tree Dryad by a woman incarcerated in Alaska
  • a letter about ongoing conditions in Denver Women’s Correctional Facility
  • how prison staff react to holiday spirit
  • "It Doesn’t Matter If It’s Election Time": a response to Marianne Brown’s piece by a woman incarcerated in Colorado
  • letters from CeCe McDonald
  • mental health care in women’s prisons
  • living with HIV in a women’s prison

HOW TO ORDER TENACIOUS

SNAIL MAIL ONLY (for now)! To get a copy, send $3 in well-concealed cash or a check made out to V. Law to: 
PO Box 20388 
New York, NY 10009

Here is all of Vikki’s contact info.

Be sure to indicate which issue you want (if not #27 or #28) and (if possible) provide an email address so that Vikki can contact you with any questions/requests.

READ AN EXCERPT FROM TENACIOUS #27 ONLINE

With Vikki’s permission, POCZP has made it possible for you to read an excerpt from issue #27 online, entitled “Mental Health Care in Prison” by Jane Dorotik, along with info about WORTH.

Jane is presently incarcerated in Corona, CA. You can write her at the following address (please tell her you found her info through Tenacious & POC Zine Project):

Jane Dorotik

W90870

California Institution for Women, MB 114L

16756 Chino-Corona Road

Corona, CA 92880

COMMUNITY: Please consider purchasing multiple copies of Tenacious to support the series, Vikki’s important work helping to empower women who are incarcerated and activism through materiality.

————————————————-

Q&A WITH VIKKI LAW, EDITOR OF TENACIOUS

By POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano (@dcap)

Recorded on June 16, 2013 at ABC Nio Rio in NYC (part 1 of 4)

FIRST INSTALLMENT: THE MAKING OF TENACIOUS

DANIELA: Tell me about Tenacious issue #27. What is it about, why did you make it and did you have any support through the process?

VIKKI: I’ve been doing Tenacious since 2003 (click here for an interview with Vikki from 2009). It actually wasn’t my idea to start Tenacious, which is a zine of art and writings by and from women in prison about their experiences both in prison and if they continue writing after they get out of prison. It was actually the idea of several women incarcerated in Oregon who were reading zines and magazines written by men in prison , and were seeing that their experiences were not being reflected in men prisoner writings.

They said they weren’t seeing things about dealing with their kids, or child custody issues, or maintaining contact with family, or pervasive sexual harassment they get from staff members inside prisons, so they wanted a publication that spoke about their issues and also spoke to other women so they knew they weren’t suffering these things by themselves.

Being in prison, they didn’t have access to things like stamps, postage - you know - photocopying, access to even the ability to write to other people freely. So they were looking for somebody on the other side and they asked me if I would be the outside person.

DANIELA: How did Tenacious go from an idea to an independent publication/zine?

I just started putting together Tenacious and putting it out. Originally it was me and several other young women who were also interested in supporting women in prison, getting their ideas and voices out. But because zine-making can sometimes be a very solitary experience, and working with people in prison can sometimes be this long extended process in which you don’t feel like you are making much of a difference because you can’t see anything tangible happening, or coming out of it, the other people slowly dropped out … it is work to sit there and try to figure out how to re-type stuff, or write back and forth with somebody in prison about their piece and how they might possibly make it stronger, because it’s not as well articulated as it could be…

So right now I am the only person editing Tenacious. And so for the Winter 2012 issue, which is issue #27, I just put out a call for submissions from women in prison - whether it be cisgendered women or transwomen.

DANIELA: How does putting out a call for Tenacious work? How do women in prison find out about this opportunity and how do you collect their stories from the outside?

VIKKI: I put out a call through the network of women in prison I already knew from having done support work in the past. I originally (in the early days of Tenacious) also put out a call through publications that sent free copies to women in prison.

off our backs used to send free copies to women in prison (ceased publishing in 2008). There was also a journal called Sojourner: The Women’s Forum that closed sometime in the early 2000s that not only sent free copies to women in prison, but also had an actual page or two where women in prison could write in and talk about their experiences. It was the women in prison column. So when they folded, they sent out letters to all of their women in prison readers and said “we’re really sorry, we’re closing, here are some other alternatives for free publications so you can have something to read and keep up” and they were willing to list Tenacious as one of the publications you could get free copies of and write for.

Calls for submissions have also been through word of mouth over the years. I’ve seen the people who’ve written for Tenacious shift, and you can kind of trace it to where people are sharing Tenacious in their prisons. So when I first started, I got a lot of writing and art from people incarcerated in Oregon Women’s Prison, because that is where the women were sharing copies of Tenacious.

As they were released, other women who were in other prisons started sharing it. So, for one issue, I might get 50% of my submissions from a women’s prison in Colorado, and that’s because women get copies and share them around with their friends and are like “hey!”

DANIELA: Tell me a little more about Tenacious #27, which we’re featuring as a preview in the first installment for our readers. 

Issue #27 is a variety of different writings from women in prison. There’s writings from people in Colorado, Indiana - in there’s a piece by CeCe McDonaldwho is an African American transwoman incarcerated in a men’s prison in Minnesota, for defending herself against an attack on the street. There’s a couple of pieces of artwork by a transwoman named Nicky Riley, who has been incarcerated in Texas for several years. There’s a piece on lack of mental health care in California women’s prisons.

DANIELA: Can you share some info about the history of health care and mental health care in CA? 

Several years ago, people incarcerated in CA actually sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The Supreme Court actually ruled that the lack of health care in California violated the 8th amendment against cruel and unusual punishment and put the entire prison system under what’s called a federal receivership, in which there’s someone who actually overseas how health care is run. So, basically, CDR can no longer neglect people to the extent that they have…but that doesn’t mean it’s gotten extraordinarily better, it just means that now there’s some federal oversight.

So one woman actually writes in issue #27 about how mental health care in prison is still really inadequate, especially since there’s so many people who enter prison with mental health issues.

DANIELA: Do you do “themed” issues of Tenacious and how do you convey that information? What’s your process like?

In my call for submissions, there’s a list of experiences and ideas of what I’m looking for, so it’s not just “anything you’ve written off the top of your head!” So, specifically, “how does this relate to your experience in prison?”

One of the other goals of Tenacious is not just that women inside are able to read about other peoples’ experiences, but that people on the outside who may never have been incarcerated are able to read about experiences inside women’s prisons.

When they read, I hope they go “Wait! I never really thought about the fact that when we vote for or support things like mandatory sentencing laws, or Stop and Frisk, or are against the decriminalization of marijuana, etc. that we’re basically sentencing people to not only lose their liberty but to experience all these other atrocious aspects of prison.”

DANIELA: We’ll cover this more in the next installment, but how is your call for submissions for Tenacious #29 going?

For the upcoming issue I’ve actually gotten 4-6 pieces by women incarcerated in the women’s prison in Rhode Island, which I’ve sent one person there copies of Tenacious. Apparently she’s been sharing them around, so now I’m getting pieces from the women in Rhode Island even though I don’t have a prior relationship with any of them.

So, you can kind of trace where people are sharing copies and passing them along as something like “hey you should read this.” Also ,I don’t know if they’re encouraging their friends to write or if the women are reading Tenacious and thinking “you know, it’s not an intimidating thing to write something and send it in.”

COMMUNITY: Stay tuned for three more installments from this interview with Vikki Law that will share more issues of Tenacious.

ABOUT VIKKI LAW

Victoria Law is a writer, photographer, and mother. After a brief stint as a teenage armed robber, she became involved in prisoner support. In 1996, she helped start Books Through Bars-New York City, a group that sends free books to prisoners nationwide. In 2000, she began concentrating on the needs and actions of women in prison, drawing attention to their issues by writing articles and giving public presentations.

Since 2002, she has worked with women incarcerated nationwide to produce Tenacious: Art and Writings from Women in Prison and has facilitated having incarcerated women’s writings published in larger publications, such as Clamor magazine, the website “Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance” and the upcoming anthology Interrupted Lives. In 1995, she became involved with ABC No Rio, a collectively run arts center on New York’s Lower East Side, serving as Board Treasurer from 1997 to 2002.

In 1997, she organized a group of activist photographers to transform one of No Rio’s upstairs tenement apartments into a black-and-white photo darkroom for community use. Since then, she has remained actively involved in coordinating (and sometimes co-teaching) free photography classes for neighborhood youth. In addition, she has participated in and curated numerous exhibitions at No Rio’s gallery, many with themes addressing social and political issues such as incarceration, grassroots efforts to rebuild New Orleans, Zapatista organizing, police brutality, and squatting.

In 2003, she collaborated with China Martens to create “Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind,” a workshop addressing the specific (and often unacknowledged) needs of parents and children in radical movements; and has co-facilitated discussions in Baltimore, New York City, Providence, Montreal, Minneapolis, Detroit, and Boston. With Jessica Mills and China Martens, she is compiling a handbook for allies of radical parents by the same name.

VIKKI’S BOOKS

Vikki is a great example of a woman of color who makes zines and other intersectional materiality. 

Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities (buy here)

Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women 2nd ed. (buy here)

Som praise for Resistance Behind Bars

"An important contribution to the growing movement to end prisons as we know them."—Michelle Alexander, civil rights lawyer, advocate, legal scholar and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

"Law’s important book illuminates these under reported stories of individual and collective organizing by women in prison and encourages all of us to work in solidarity across prison walls to create a world that no longer includes the prison industrial complex.”—Angela Y. Davis, author of Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prison, Torture, and Empire and Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz

"Written in regular English, rather than academese, this is an impressive work of research and reportage."—Mumia Abu-Jamal, political prisoner and author of Live From Death Row

WATCH VIKKI TALK ABOUT GENDER AND THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

 Watch part 2 of this video here.

——————-

SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT

If everyone in our community gave $1, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2013. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to our 2013 tour, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.

DONATE link via PayPal: http://bit.ly/SHdmyh

SCENE REPORT: POC Zine Project at Allied Media Conference [Pt 2 of 3]: Let’s Keep Talking About Colo(u)rism & Share Solutions

Allied Media Conference 2013 is from June 20 - 23, 2013. This is POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano’s recap from #AMC2013 on Saturday, June 22. Read the first installment.

I have been experiencing eerily interconnected events since I arrived at #AMC2013 and I am not the only one. Time after time since the start of this conference, several attendees have shared with me how they ran into someone they had been meaning to—needing to—connect with back at home, only to have that important conversation here in Detroit.

It’s a beautiful and strange feeling to not only experience this phenomenon, but to observe others experience it. People seeking support or counsel are finding it here. People needing resources for a project or the space to process an idea for a project are finding that space. It’s as if many folks are tapped into a frequency and we’re responding to and sharing support as we dip in and out of that frequency. Spontaneous conversations between strangers lead to epiphanies, healing. 

I am not trying to paint #AMC2013 as this monolithic utopia that everyone experiences in the same ways. I am trying to help you, dear reader, understand that this conference is changing me in ways that are both exhilarating and sometimes a little scary and that I’ve heard stories from several folks who are having the same experience. 

In the spirit of honoring the frequency/interconnectedness at #AMC2013, here is a personal story that I want to share with you…

#selfcare: A moment for reflecting with the orbs at #amc2013

[DESCRIPTION: POCZP founder Daniela’s POV while taking a quiet moment to reflect inside the Student Center at Wayne State University in Detroit on June 22, 2013]

Yesterday I arrived to the conference later than I intended to, so I missed the opportunity to get free acupuncture and a tarot reading. I was feeling overwhelmed and triggered by my personal experiences from the previous day (good things, but still intense), and so I was really disappointed that the wellness/health space was no longer providing services that afternoon. I actually considered leaving—going back to my hotel. I had so many thoughts swimming in my head that I felt like I couldn’t take one more intense conversation.

Something inside of me told me I should take a minute before leaving to “chill out.” I meandered around the campus for a while, looking for a workshop to attend. I had forgotten my conference booklet back in my room, so I had no idea what was going on. Suddenly, I saw POCZP Midwest Coordinator Joyce Hatton entering a building. Without even thinking, I called out “Joyce! are you going to the Understanding Colo(ur)ism in Media session?”

LET’S TALK ABOUT COLO(U)RISM

****TRIGGER WARNING****

I hope that everyone will read this but also understand that discussions about colourism can be very triggering. If you aren’t ready to read about this topic at the moment, now is the opportunity to perhaps bookmark this for later or to make sure you have the time/space to process this safely. It may not be a good idea to read this at work or in a public space where you wouldn’t feel comfortable experiencing a variety of emotions. 

Let’s Talk About: Zines In The Classroom—Pros and Cons

EDIT2: Middle Schooler Liana Velazquez and her zine She named her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand" [DESCRIPTION: Liana Velazquez and her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand” at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy]

Words and photos by Liz Mayorga, POCZP West Coast Coordinator

I met Liana Velazquez while working at KIPP: San Francisco Bay Academy, a charter school. Liana came in to enroll as a 5th grader. She was shy, but her eyes did not miss a detail. She studied the office as well as the people in it. I soon learned that Liana was not normally reserved. She had just moved to San Francisco from Cuba. Liana was about to start school in a new country, where everything - especially the language - felt foreign. She suffered in school because of the language barrier. Not only did she have a hard time understanding the lessons, but she felt alienated from her classmates. Liana spent a lot of time in the office, where I tutored her. I translated some of her assignments and helped her with her English.

Three years have passed. In that time, I have witnessed Liana’s curiosity and persistence grow even more.  

This year, it came through in her writing. Her eighth grade English teacher, Mr. Patrone, encouraged her to continue writing as many stories as possible. He had his students keep a journal, and Liana’s was filled with a series of short stories (both fictional and personal). Patrone and I are good friends, so I always ask him about the kids. He was happy to tell me about Liana’s progress. “It would be awesome to see her and the other kids push their creativity. See where it will take them,” he said.

We brainstormed ways in which to encourage creative freedom, while following the school’s curriculum. I suggested zines. Patrone agreed that a zine workshop would be a perfect way to end the school year, so after the students finished their CSTs, he assigned a zine project. I came in a once a week (for the last three weeks of school) to look through the student’s work and give them feedback. I was impressed by everyone’s projects. They wrote book reviews, song lyrics, created amazing visual art, and told stories about the things that mattered to them. Even the kids who were “too cool” to care became interested in their assignment.

I asked Patrone if I could give one of these kids a zinester spotlight. He checked with the administration to make sure it was okay, and then he told me to look at Liana Velazquez’s zine. I was not surprised to know her zine was phenomenal. What did surprise me was how much her creativity had flourished in such a short amount of time.

Patrone and I set some time aside for me to interview Liana about her zine. Our interview took place on Friday, May 24, 2013.

THE MAKING OF ‘DIFFEGUAJIRA MIXRAND’ ZINE

Liana Velazquez embraces both languages, Cuban Spanish and English, and after three years of living in the United States, dealing with language barriers, and feeling out of place, Liana has gained the confidence she needs to let her creativity shine through.  Liana writes stories about love, family, and her ever-changing identity. 

Her final 8th grade English assignment was to create a zine, and it proved to be the perfect platform to portray the world, as rich and complicated as she sees it.

She named her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand,” and she explains: “Diffe stands for different and where I grew up guajiros are really humble (people). They’re poor, but they’re always going to give something to you. You can always trust them, and they’re my people – the people I grew up with.”

Middle Schooler Liana Velazquez and her zine She named her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand"

[DESCRIPTION: The cover of Liana Velazquez’s zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand”]

Each letter in the title forms a symbol. “Here I drew a little boat,” she points to the D, “because that’s what my dad really likes. He doesn’t have that anymore, since he lives here. We used to live by the ocean, and in Cuba, the ocean is beautiful.” Liana dotted the “I” with a candle light. “The candle protected us from the mosquitos,” she said. She looks at the “A” in “Mixrand,” which resembles a butterfly’s wing and says “The butterfly I put there because my mom loves them. I wanted to represent both my parents. And this…” She points to the bottom of the cover, “This is the address of the house I grew up in. I never forgot it. I forget a lot of stuff, like I forget names, and I always forget my address here, but I never forgot my address in Cuba.”

EDIT: Middle Schooler Liana Velazquez and her zine She named her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand" 

[DESCRIPTION: “Broken Ears,” from Liana Velazquez’s zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand”]

Liana combined all of the things that make up her identity and the daily challenges that come with love, family, and acclimating to a new country as young woman. When Liana first attended KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy, she spent her lunchtime in the office, turning to the only people in the school who spoke Spanish - the custodian, the secretary, and her bilingual peers – to translate her assignments for her. Communication was a struggle.

But three years later, Mr. Patrone (the eighth grade teacher), asked Liana and her classmates to write in their composition books every day, and Liana was surprised to see how much she had to say.

“At first, I thought it was too much,” Liana says. “I have all this homework and then I have to write, and I was afraid I couldn’t handle it. But then I got into it. I started writing down things, and I showed it to my cousin. She thought it was good. I showed it to Mr. Patrone and he encouraged me to write more. And I couldn’t stop. I wanted to keep writing. I would stay up late, until 1, 2, 3 in the morning, but it was worth it.” 

EDIT: Middle Schooler Liana Velazquez and her zine She named her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand"

[DESCRIPTION: “My Admiration is touch,” from Liana Velazquez’s zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand”]

Even though Liana already had a love for words and storytelling, this zine project proved to be particularly liberating. The idea of showing her work to other people also encouraged her to put more thought into each piece, and the visual art motivated her to create something amazing. “I was thinking that color was important,” she says, “In the journal, I was just writing. But here, since it’s a zine I know that people do drawings, but I decided to do this because the colors, the red and blue represent flag. And everything represents Cuba and me and everything that I believe in.”

Middle Schooler Liana Velazquez and her zine She named her zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand"

[DESCRIPTION: Excerpt from Liana Velazquez’s zine “Diffeguajira Mixrand”]

Liana’s “Diffeguajiro Mixrand” is an example of how zines help teenagers express much more than words and break through creative freedom. With a mixed media approach to writing, teenagers also have a visual and tactile way to share their thoughts. The realm of communication expands, and people capture multiple pieces of their reality.

________________________________________________

WHEN ZINE-MAKING IN THE CLASSROOM GOES VERY WRONG

By POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano

Liana Velazquez’s story is a positive example of what a zine-making  classroom experience can be like. Her final 8th grade English assignment at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy was to create a zine and it was clearly an affirming experience for her. I’m happy that POCZP member Liz was in the classroom to support students, as she knows her stuff, when it comes to zine history and contributions by POC in zine & DIY culture.

Unfortunately, this is not every young person of color’s experience when they are first introduced to zine-making, zine culture and history in an academic setting.

During last year’s Race Riot! tour, I listened to—among other things—stories by POC attendees who shared their first introduction to zines. Depending on their age, digital literacy and other factors, feedback ran the gamut of being introduced to a zine by a friend, at a punk show, through Tumblr or as a classroom assignment.

What I noticed was that the younger the person was (23 and younger), the more likely they discovered zines this way:

1) On the Internet (Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, intentionally searching for a specific title, etc.)

2) At a punk/DIY/house show

3) A friend gave them a zine or brought them to a zine event

4) As a (mandatory or optional) class assignment

From these four responses, a mandatory class assignment was the one that raised the most questions—and concerns—for me, and here’s why:

After one of our academic speaking engagements on the tour, a young woman of color approached and asked to speak with me privately. She didn’t want other students to hear her question, so we moved away from the crowd.

This young woman shared that she was experiencing a lot of anxiety around a classroom assignment given to her by a white male professor at the university where I was speaking with POCZP. She was supposed to make a perzine and include personal details about her “culture” and “experiences as a woman.” I didn’t ask her to clarify what the class was about because it didn’t matter—already this whole situation sounded really problematic.

What I did ask her was if her anxiety stemmed from this being a graded assignment, and she said yes. I asked her if divulging personal information about herself and her family for a graded assignment made her uncomfortable, and she said yes.  She looked surprised that I knew these were her biggest concerns, but unfortunately this is not a new story to me.

I then asked her if this was her first time making a zine, and she nodded yes. She leaned forward and whispered, with a nervous look on her face, “How should I make my zine? What should I put it in it?”

That is when I took a deep breathe and gave her a longer and more personalized version of what I am about to share with you all now:

"I am truly sorry that your first introduction to zine-making is through an academic institution. No one should be telling you that there is one set way to make a zine. No one should be requiring you to make a perzine as part of your overall grade.

The only way I could ever see this being justified is if you were a design, journalism, or communications major and enrolled in a class called ‘zine-making,’ and you knew that the expectation was that you would be graded on zine-making (within the parameters established by the instructor, which would be clearly spelled out in advance in the syllabus). That zine-making assignment would NEVER be a perzine, because the teacher would know and understand the history and culture of zines, and that grading someone on a perzine is like following a stranger into the toilet and grading the quality of their piss and shit. It is completely inappropriate

I am sorry that you are experiencing anxiety when you think about making this zine for your class. I wish that instead you were feeling excited and inspired to share your stories, art, insights—and to experiment with art and design. It must be really hard to get into a positive headspace about your first zine, when you know you are going to be graded on detailing personal issues about your life for a white male professor, who has no right to make this a requirement for any class, ever.

I think it’s a huge sign of unchecked privilege for a white male professor to require any student to make a perzine and then grade their output. Your private family life and “cultural” details are none of his damn business. Here is a person who is clearly trying to be “hip” without considering the fact that sometimes, a zine assignment is not the best or most appropriate way to connect with your students or articulate a concept. 

So here’s what we know: you’re going to be graded on this zine whether you like it or not. You could fight it—you could take it above his head and explain to the powers-that-be that this teacher has no business requiring you to disclose personal information for a graded assignment, but I’m not going to tell you to do that. You need to do what’s right for you.

But can I make a suggestion about how to approach this, if you do decide to make this perzine for your class to avoid getting a “bad” grade?

Don’t think of this as your first perzine or zine, because it’s not. It’s not really your zine. You are making something for a teacher’s unrealistic and inappropriate expectations. Don’t feel like you have to disclose anything you don’t want to in this zine—think of this like any other assignment you would have in a class where you know that the only way to get a good grade is to do what the teacher thinks is right, and to write that down. 

So, what has your teacher indicated is the “right” way to make a zine? If you’re unclear about format, size and content, there are plenty of tutorials online that detail this information. Ask your teacher to name an example of a perzine that he likes, try to find it (or the general equivalent) and then follow that format. This way, you know what he’s looking for. You can find many examples of perzines athttp://zinelibrary.info/english/personal.

Make sure that there is no way he can slash your grade based on design flaws. Give him something that—from a purely technical point of view—falls under the category of “aesthetically pleasing” and only include the most basic personal information you feel comfortable sharing. Don’t compromise yourself (only you know what that would look like). 

You could even make up an entirely fictional story and call it personal details from your life—that is what I would do, actually. How is he going to know? Let him believe what he wants to believe—he already believes that it’s acceptable for him to assume that everyone is just like him: totally free to share private details about their lives without any consequences, and grade them based on that presumed freedom.

If you don’t feel comfortable calling your teacher out privately or publicly, don’t. Do what make sense for you. Only you can make that call. Do what you need to do to feel safe.

After you turn in that “made in the belly of white privilege” fake zine and you get the A, you should feel free - if you want - to forget you ever made that zine. That wasn’t your first zine. That was the convoluted outcome of a teacher out of touch with his privilege. A zine is not materiality forced out of you by a white male instructor. 

A zine is an extension of yourself. You define that, not him or anyone else.

You don’t have to hate the zine you made for class—you may even end up enjoying the process and the final product. You may decide that this zine does in fact reflect who you are, but don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself if you can’t make up your mind about it immediately.

Take what you can from the experience of what it’s like to make a zine for a class requirement, but don’t feel bad if you don’t like the zine either, or still feel anxiety when it’s done. What you are experiencing is the totally normal cognitive dissonance one feels when someone tries to quantify the value of your inner world through forcing you to make a perzine and then grading it.

Don’t let this experience of making a zine turn you off from the medium itself, or the practice. Imagine what your first zine experience would have been like if you had been sitting at a bus stop, and next to you was a small little photocopied, stapled book, and inside were hand-drawn comics, copies of photos, and personal stories that made you laugh, cry and think. You suddenly found yourself caring for someone you never met — all because you found their zine.

You took the zine home and placed it on a shelf in your room for safekeeping, and that night you dreamt about the zine YOU would make that weekend at home — the one that someone else might discover one day.

If you decide to refuse to make this zine and take your concerns to the administration, or to make it anyway—I support your choice. But don’t let white male privilege in the classroom damage your perception of zine-making or zine culture. It does belong to you, and you get to define what that means for you—not him.”

Educators: Be in tune with what motivates you to introduce zine-making into your lesson plan. Ask yourself these questions:

1) Why do I care about introducing zine-making and zine culture to my students? What relevant information should I be sharing with them about zine culture and history — and how do my own privileges inform how I prioritize this information?

2) Does it make sense for me to only talk about zines made by white people to a classroom full of primarily students of color?

3) Is it really necessary for me to grade the zines—can they simply get a pass or fail based on completing the assignment?

4) What am I leaving out of my retelling of zine history that is silencing and oppressive to my students of color? 

5) If I don’t have much information about zines by people of color, what steps will I take to educate myself BEFORE introducing zines to my students?

COMMUNITY: If you are an educator or youth workshop facilitator who uses zines in the classroom, send us your experiences to poczineproject@gmail.com with “zine teacher” as the subject line. We want to share a wide range of voices on this topic. Also, feel free to leave your comments in a reblog.

Want more? Read POCZP Midwest Coordinator Joyce’s recap of her zine-making experience with an all Native girl scout troop.

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“Let’s Talk About” is an experimental series by POCZP created to share communal knowledge, resources and reflections on a wide range of topics affecting communities of color.

If you are a person of color—or a white person with a history of supporting POC Zine Project— who wants to contribute to “Let’s Talk About,” submit to poczineproject@gmail.com with “Let’s Talk About” in the subject line. 

All submissions to “Let’s Talk About” will be compiled into a zine (print & digital) that will be released by POCZP in December of 2013.

_____________________

SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT

If everyone in our community gave $1, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2013. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to our 2013 tour, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.

DONATE link via PayPal: http://bit.ly/SHdmyh

Let’s Talk About: ‘The Truth Tour and how to be an ally at POC and Native events’

image

By Cata, POCZP East Coast Intern

The Truth Tour consists of folks from the Pine Ridge reservation of South Dakota and allies, traveling to different cities in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic to tell their stories, advocating for a return to matriarchal leadership and raising awareness of the ongoing genocide of their people. The event I attended was a film screening of the documentary “Red Cry,” held in Washington, DC, on April 16th.

Below is an entry point into a continuous conversation, not a rule book. 

A big question that surrounds POC (people of color) events from those outside of the community holding the event is "how can I be an ally?"

A simple answer to these questions is to put your self in service to the community and don’t take up space. 

DC ‘TRUTH TOUR' EVENT RECAP

April 16 – Washington, DC – Metropolitan Community Church of DC – 6:30pm

When the Lakota Grandmothers came to DC in April, my partner and I cooked a meal for an event as an act of support/solidarity. What follows here are my reflections as an audience member/participant in the film screening event.

I write with a strong desire to contribute to a (hopefully) ongoing conversation of allyship. The night of the event in DC there were many important voices and stories shared. The group had come a long way to spread their voices. I am thankful for their journey. I felt blessed to be among these strong travelers and hope to meet them again one day.

However, among the powerful stories offered there were important voices and stories that were missed. Here are some things I observed as I watched the evening pass with a complex interplay of isms and unchecked privileges.

For days afterward I couldn’t get out of my head the Q&A session after the “Red Cry” screening. 

The white anarchist/activist who stood up and said “I don’t know about the rest of the room, but me and my house mates on THIS side of the room- we’re REALLY in SOLIDARITY with you all! REALLY!”

This wasn’t a question; it was a comment offered perhaps to receive an ego stroke from the audience/caravaners and it was distracting.

Then, there was an African-American woman who stood up asking to be part of the Lakota people, referencing her own Native heritage. It was refreshing to see a person of color seeking to honor their indigenous heritage— but the word use: “Can I be a part of you?” made my face scrunch.

Again, this was not a question pertaining to their journey or to the film.

Then, three or four folks raised their hands… again without questions… but instead with gifts. Literally folks were walking up to an elder with shells, books and bags of what? I don’t know.

Weird? Yes. Distracting? Yes. Ego strokes? Yes and yes.

Three-quarters of the way through the event, the main Native male speaker who had been speaking the most and facilitating, acknowledged that the others on his caravan, including most of the women, had not spoken. He suggested that they go down the line and share something.

"Yes, finally!" I thought, time to hear everyones voice. But, wait. One more person in the audience needs the spot light and asks a question/comment…then POOF! Our time is done.

A song is sung and things are wrapped up. There is never time to hear the voices of the other Native folks, most of them women, from the caravan.

NEXT STEPS

As POC organizers we need to reflect:

  • On this Truth Tour designed to advocate a return to matriarchy, how did the Native man facilitating (and the crew as a whole) not realize that his voice was filling the time available at the expense of other (female) voices from the caravan?
  • How do we as POC organizers/activists let inter-communities privileges distract or disappear an important layer in our events or projects? 
  • How did the audience continue on unaware of their distracting behavior?
  • Why did certain audience members(and why do some folks) think it was/is ok to deconstruct their internal conflicts on some one else’s time?

This brings me back to allyship. Here are some ways to be an ally:

1) Be aware of your layers (gender, colourism, class, race, orientation, shyness etc).

2) Take your OWN time to process privilege, settlers guilt etc.

3) Do your service, go home and process in your journal or with other allies about your experience and how to be a better ally next time.

It’s all good. We are all learning here, but to distract from someone else’s event/or project with your own internal conflicts is unchecked privilege. To disappear someone else’s voice or story with your own, no matter if you’re an ally or a member of the community is rude. These patterns disrupt progress.

Privileges unchecked and unprocessed hurt ourselves and our communities. Until we learn as how to beware of our layers and hold one another accountable the biggest thing that will come of our events and projects in the eyes of others (and maybe ourselves) is debriefing the distractions.

Distractions are annoying. And, distractions are NOT solidarity. Lets move the focus back.

NYC ‘TRUTH TOUR’ EVENT RECAP

April 8, 2013 – New York City, NY, Judson Memorial Church- 239 Thompson St. (Solidarity/Decolonization Training) – 7:00pm

By Anonymous contributor to POCZP

I attended the Indigenous Solidarity and Decolonizing Training at Judson Memorial Church in hopes of learning more about the Lakota people, their struggles, and what it means to be in solidarity with indigenous communities. I was looking forward to participating in conversations about the meaning of decolonization and how one develops and sustains a political praxis around decolonizing the self in relation to community.

These days I have been thinking a lot about what it means for me, a women of color to challenge the mindset of settler colonialism that is part of my privilege and my immigrant histories. I believe that the complexities of communities of color engaging with native and indigenous communities should not be limited to understand through reading books and watching documentaries, so I went to this event to listen, to learn, to say hello.

I have deep respect the leaders of this training, for their histories and communities, and for the ways in which they walk through this world. However what I experienced last night was triggering, frustrating, and very confusing.

All but one of the Lakota grandmothers was present and the reason for this was never clearly explained or discussed. We began by asking those in the room who have any European ancestry, to stand up. As expected nearly eighty plus percent of the room were of European descent; I was one of few women of color, and perhaps South Asian in the room who did not stand up.

I have a vague understand of the purpose of this exercise, to call attention to the active realities of colonization as part of people’s being, and that as privilege that you cannot erase. However the presenters did not once ask any questions or specifically engage with the people of color in the room to ask why there were present, what it means for people of color to experience colonialism, and how the displacement of communities of color can reinforce colonial oppressions that native peoples face.

Once again white people became the center focus of the discussion, a conversation that I am sick in tired of having.

How can we destroy the constructs of whiteness if we continually reify them in our political spaces through reliving trauma and shaming one another?

There were several instances where the main “teacher” of this “training” used disparaging language against biracial and multiracial people. They outlined the role of elderly women, or the grandmothers in the struggle without giving the elderly women in the room a chance to speak out on their own and share their stories.

There was a moment where a white man was being disruptive and the presenter challenged him on his behavior, but did not ask him to leave the room. Of course this man continued to be disruptive and my friend, a women of color, had to ask him to leave.

I could give further specifics and in detail but I am not interested in calling out the presenter or the organizers of this event. Rather, I write this to raise the question of how can we build solidarity and decolonize together when so many of our political spaces are dominated by the politics of whiteness and by those whom I gender as being male-identified and male-bodied?

What is it going to take for men to recognize their male-privilege and to step down, work together on building true allyship with women in the struggle, and to call each other out?

There is a lot to say about this training. I am vested in having these conversations in person, and with people I hope to build my politics and community with.

However, in sharing this, I hope we can have a more open and honest dialogue about how to challenge spaces that are political defunct in the moment, and how to create something new that has a liberating direction.

Editor’s Note: POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano attended the NYC Truth Tour date and put a call for feedback on the POCZP Facebook page. Subsequently, Daniela spoke with this anonymous contributor, who gave POCZP permission to publish their thoughts under the condition that they remain anonymous. POCZP respects their choice to remain anonymous, as often it can be very difficult and triggering as a POC to question POC-led movements/actions.

MORE ON THE APRIL 8 NYC TRUTH TOUR EVENT

Below are POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano’s thoughts on the NYC Truth Tour event, originally published on the POCZP Facebook page. She also recorded this positive moment at the end of the evening:

[DESCRIPTION: The event leaders asked attendees to participate in a round dance at the end of the event. Couples were placed in the middle circle, while the elders were in another circle around it. After a while, others who weren’t necessarily elders were encouraged to join the outer circle. Native and non-native folks participated in the dance. This video captures about 80% of the round dance duration.]

By Daniela Capistrano, POCZP founder

The event overall was (for folks we spoke to) very triggering and complex. I wish that more female elders spoke, since that is what the tour is about. However, I also understand that there is another related event where female elders will be speaking.

This event wasn’t an “easy” experience. Some folks said there wasn’t enough actual training and that it was more of a blame game. Others did not agree with this assessment at all and said they got a lot out of it.

The event leaders asked everyone at the start of the experience “to listen with your heart.” Some people in attendance had a very had time just listening and there were many privilege issues at play. One white male would not stop interjecting and made it all about him until he was asked to stop. He could not handle that feedback and left.

Another white male took up way too much time singing a “spiritual” song, making the focus about him instead of the elders. A white female spoke on behalf of a black male in attendance without his consent. Many interesting and triggering actions went down last night at this event, a microcosm of bigger issues at play …

Some participants had issues with being put on the spot based on race, class and gender. Another controversial facet of the training was when attendees were challenged to cut up their government IDs as a symbol of their commitment to decolonize. Clearly there are many factors that would inform someone’s decision to participate or not, such as citizenship status in the U.S. and the dangerous ramifications of not having ID while experiencing racial profiling or worse. Race, class and gender were also factors.

One could argue that this act of cutting up an ID meant nothing and was in fact hurtful to undocumented folks in attendance or others in tenuous circumstances. Lots to think about. But I aired on the side of listening with an open mind and staying until the end. I chose to cut up my ID to confront my privileges; to know what it felt like to destroy government issued materiality; and to think about all the privileges that made it so “easy” for me to cut up my ID without any real consequences. I did it for myself, didn’t judge those who didn’t and also doesn’t think that cutting an ID automatically “decolonized” my existence and mental state. For me, it was an act of undoing mental damage tied to identity politics.

I am glad that I did stay until the end of the event, because I was able to meet one of the female elders, who I hope will collaborate with POCZP on the Race Riot tour this fall, as #IdleNoMore is our core focus. 

Because I stayed until the end, I was able to capture the round dance on video, which had a very peaceful and healing affect for many who participated.

In closing, it’s 100% OK to not agree with all facets of a decolonizing event. It’s OK to not agree with the leaders and to walk out when you feel triggered. Several people did walk out. But I am glad that I stayed.

NOTICE: POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano reached out to Truth Tour organizers in April to share feedback and to discuss a possible collaboration for the Race Riot! tour. She also reached out again upon publishing this piece. We are patiently awaiting a response.

COMMUNITY: Help make this a productive conversation by adding your thoughts in your reblog.

RESOURCES

Educate yourself on what the Truth Tour is all about:

"Red Cry" information:

"Red Cry" premiered on April 1, 2013, at the Mother Butler Center in Rapid City, SD in Lakota Territory.  It was shown on consecutive nights in other cities as part of the Lakota Truth Tour.

Limited quantities of the Red Cry DVD are available for free.  If you would like a DVD sent to you, Truth Tour organizers request that you give a donation of $5 or more to cover the costs of shipping and materials.

Please mail your address and a check made payable to “Lakota Solidarity Project” to:

Lakota Solidarity Project
PO Box 881
Asheville, NC 28801

If you would like to show the film in your area, they ask that you download the Organizer Toolkit and use this as a model for how to organize the screening. Contact them if you are interested in screening “Red Cry.”

DONATE to the Lakota Solidarity Project/Truth Tour via PayPal by clicking here.

_____________________

“Let’s Talk About…” is an experimental series by POCZP created to share communal knowledge, resources and reflections on a wide range of topics affecting communities of color.

If you are a person of color—or a white person with a history of supporting POC Zine Project— who wants to contribute to “Let’s Talk About…” submit to poczineproject@gmail.com with “Let’s Talk About” in the subject line. 

All submissions to “Let’s Talk About…” will be compiled into a zine (print & digital) that will be released by POCZP in December of 2013.

_____________________

SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT

If everyone in our community gave $1, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2013. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to our 2013 tour, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.

DONATE link via PayPal: http://bit.ly/SHdmyh

POC Zine Project ‘Let’s Talk About’ column #1: ‘I Make Books…That’s My Shit’

Free Poet's Press website

I Make Books…That’s My Shit: Notes on How I Came to Media Making

By POCZP Midwest Coordinator Chaun Webster, founder of Free Poet’s Press

I make books…that’s my shit.  Love the smell of the pages.  I can recall more than a few embarrassing moments as a child with my head stuck in them as I sat in the library taking deep breaths in.  But more than just the book object, I love reading.  Sci-fi of the order of Octavia Butler, Wild Seed, YES PLEASE!  

Prison Letters from George Jackson, Autobiography by Assata Shakur, Biomythography of Audre Lorde or Maxine Hong Kingston.  I can’t get enough of the magic of language, the dance of the letters on the page as meanings collide in the sometimes challenging, sometimes breathtaking moments.  From Eduardo Galeano, to Ben Okri, to Gloria Anzuldia, I continue to be baptized.  

But more than just reading perhaps it is story that draws me, for I cannot remember my mother ever reading me something that she ever wrote down, but she could tell a story masterfully.  Whether the mysterious, the anecdotal or the epic, she knew how to draw from the powers of her experiences and bear witness.

This is some of the spirit with which I came to my own form of media making, the writing and publishing performing the same gesture that my mother’s storytelling did.  Though I don’t believe she was cognizant of it her stories were a gesture of power, of recognizing that we are here, and that though the legitimate records have criminally left us absent, we will continue to bear witness.  That witness can serve the purpose of balm or explosive strapped to the structures that assault us day to day.  

In my journey with books I would read the record of David Walker and his Appeal, make my own connections to that account and Nat Turner’s rebellion. There was a sense I came to about the interrelation of culture and resistance. Whether it was with this narrative or the work of Ida B. Wells, Lewis Michaux, Dudley Randall or Haki Madhubuti and their respective presses or bookstores, there was something to be said about culture and movement-making.

How do we imagine what has happened or what is possible? What force shapes the way we desire or negotiate and even dare to undermine the structures that govern, if not a cultural force?

Knowing of these stories and of their power was what made me so perplexed by “zinesters” who located that practice in something that was most often raced white and gendered male. The idea of DIY as chic, or a form of branding, misses the substance of the politically performed practice of enslaved Afrikans for whom writing was made illegal. Those same Afrikans who wrote anyway to bear witness that we were here, and will remain. It omits the work of the Black and Brown women who have held the traditions together and whose words work as mortar and sledgehammer.

I make books because there was something humanizing in seeing Jessica Care Moore’s Moore Black Press. It’s power signified something local in knowledge production, that that act was not always external.

I make books because there is a space between oppression and resistance that culture occupies, because cultural revolution is the weapon and because I intend to be fully armed.

_____________________

image

Free Poet’s Press is a small publishing company started in 2009 by Chaun Webster (POCZP Midwest Coordinator) with the intent of empowering Black and Brown artists to control their own images. 

_____________________

"Let’s Talk About…" is an experimental series by POCZP created to share communal knowledge, resources and reflections on a wide range of topics affecting communities of color.

If you are a person of color—or a white person with a history of supporting POC Zine Project— who wants to contribute to “Let’s Talk About…” submit to poczineproject@gmail.com with “Let’s Talk About” in the subject line. 

All submissions to "Let’s Talk About…" will be compiled into a zine (print & digital) that will be released by POCZP in December of 2013.

_____________________

SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT

If everyone in our community gave $1, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2013. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to our 2013 tour, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.

DONATE link via PayPal: http://bit.ly/SHdmyh

SCENE REPORT: MidWest Zine Fest 2013

On April 13, 2013, POCZP Midwest Coordinator Joyce Hatton attended MidWest Zine Fest for herself and on behalf of POCZP. She created this report back as part of POCZP’s advocacy to help address safer space issues and to encourage more communication/outreach between white zine fest organizers and POC in the community where the event is taking place.

image

As a result of Joyce’s recap, we have been directly in touch with MidWest Zine Fest organizers. Our advocacy is about building relationships and sharing resources—with the focus always being on the liberation of POC.

We understand the utility of call out culture but we prefer to directly address issues with people one on one. We have found this leads to more tangible positive change than simply reading someone/an entity online (although sometimes it is needed!).

Enjoy the recap and let us know what you think!

————-

MidWest Zine Fest 2013: The Awesome and the Not-So-Awesome

By Joyce Hatton

Joyce Hatton and Mimi Thi Nguyen at Midwest Zine Fest  2013

Joyce Hatton and POCZP member Mimi Thi Nguyen at MidWest Zine Fest 2013 (photo by Joyce Hatton)

On April 13th, 2013, I attended MidWest Zine Fest in Urbana, IL.

There were two speakers: Joe Coyle, and Kevin Hamilton. There were 21 tablers listed on the schedule, but a few more attended than were listed- myself included. I met some really interesting people and left with a huge pile of zines. I was really glad I went.  Other events that I didn’t attend included a photo scavenger hunt, a stencil workshop, a film screening, and a punk show.

THE AWESOME

  • When I walked in I saw several people wearing “radical librarian” name tags.  I <3 librarians, especially radical librarians.
  • I was delighted to see Georgi Johnston there, because I had just ordered the zine “Erik Satie was a Punk” through the mail. I was excited to read one zinester’s analysis of “punk” in a decidedly non-punk context (Satie was born in 1866 and and punk broke in 1977, as Georgi points out in the zine).  I talked briefly with Georgi and we ended up doing a zine trade.
  • Joe Coyle gave an excellent talk titled “Young People, the Prison Industrial Complex, and Writing” about work at a writing program based out of the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center. 

Joe said: 

"The voices of young people are often neglected in discussions about the justice system and other social issues. This talk showcases some creative work by detained young people that critically addresses these topics and imagines alternatives.”

A view of the crowd during Joe Coyle's talk at Midwest Zine Fest 2013

A view of the crowd during Joe Coyle’s talk at MidWest Zine Fest 2013 (photo by Joyce Hatton) 

Coyle commented that sometimes even auxiliary prison workers get flack for being a part of the broken system that is the PIC.  As we talked we agreed there is value in the efforts of working through the system to improve the lives of incarcerated people, and value in working for radical change of the system.

Joe Coyle and Becca Sorgert at Midwest Zine Fest 2013

Joe Coyle and Becca Sorgert tabling at MidWest Zine Fest 2013 with zines made by incarcerated youth and adults (photo by Joyce Hatton)

Joe and Becca Sorgert tabled zines written by incarcerated youth and adults as a fundraiser for the Beat Within thebeatwithin.org, an nonprofit magazine that publishes works by incarcerated youth.

  • Kevin Hamilton spoke about the process of making the zine “A Place in Time: Two Paths to a Television Broadcast.” 

Kevin Hamilton speaking about the zine making process at Midwest Zine Fest 2013

Kevin Hamilton (on stage) speaking about the zine making process at MidWest Zine Fest 2013 (photo by Joyce Hatton)

Kevin’s talk was a bit hard to hear because there was no microphone and zine fest was very busy at that time.  Fortunately I was able to borrow a copy of “A Place in Time,” and I really enjoyed reading it.

Kevin was motivated to make it after seeing a video of the 1967 TV show “Public Broadcasting Lab.” In the zine, images from one of the broadcasts were used to recap a discussion amongst students and faculty talk about racism on campus. Black students are very anxious to talk about it, and the white students and faculty much less so.

[POCZP Editor Annotation]

image

FROM LAST YEAR: Chicagoian Jonas of “Cheer the Eff Up” zine tabling at MidWest Zine Fest in 2012 (in the black hat and hoodie)

Photo Source: Nicole on WeMakeZines

Update via Jonas on FB:

The final 2 issues of Cheer the Eff Up will be available this year! #5 will be finished in time for The Portland Zine Symposium in August. Issue #6 will be done in early November! 

In the meantime, you can get issues #1-3 at a few cool distros on the internets. The most recent issue #4 can be found through Mend My Dress Press or Portland Button Works

Please support those distros, because they are run by some of my favorite zinesters on the planet. But, hell, I’m not going to lie to you: if you write me a letter asking for a zine or 2, I’ll probably just mail you stuff for free. Meh. I’m a sucker for mail. Message me privately for the P.O. Box addy. 

Later gators,
-Jonas

[/POCZP Editor Annotation]

A view of the zine tablers at Midwest Zine Fest 2013

A view of the zine tablers at MidWest Zine Fest 2013 (photo by Joyce Hatton)

Participants during the stencil workshop at Midwest Zine Fest 2013

Participants during the stencil workshop at MidWest Zine Fest 2013 (photo  by Joyce Hatton)

COMMUNITY & ALLIES: Here is where Joyce raises some very important concerns that we hope sparks an ongoing and collaborative conversation between white folks who organize events and POC in the communities where they hold these events. If we don’t address these issues, POC will continue to feel unwelcome, unsafe and shut out from community. We cannot abide this. <3 Let’s change the game.

THE NOT-SO-AWESOME

  • Both Joe Coyle and Kevin Hamilton, the only two speakers, were white men.

Joe spoke for incarcerated youth, which due to the institutional racism of the justice system, many were people of color. Kevin’s zine spoke to racism on University of Illinois campus during the 1960’s and in my opinion, serves as a reminder that at any moment any one of us could be an individual that shapes history.

I appreciated Joe’s talk, and Kevin’s zine very much, but I always feel uncomfortable when white people speak about racism to a white audience (there did not appear to be people of color sitting in the audience of either talk.)

I appeared to be one of two people of color tabling zines there. There were some people of color who attended the event, which I was very glad to see. But I think it’s very important for POCs to have an active role in events, to have an active voice in presenting information. It seems like a distraction to talk about issues of race out there when your own space isn’t integrated.

I spoke with event organizer Jeanie about the lack of POCs at the event. Jeanie said that some zinesters of color were planning on coming from Chicago, but were unable to at the last minute. We talked for a bit about the need for more representation of POCs at zine events, and discussed barriers and solutions to making that happen.

POCZP stopped by Urbana-Champaign last year and put on an event at the Independent Media Center where Midwest Zine Fest was held. A few people commented to me that they had attended. While it was exciting to hear that, it was a little discouraging hear at an event with so few POCs tabling zines at MidWest Zine Fest.

  • There was a zine there about “ghost hunting” and it included an image of a “proud Native American.”

The zine said that ghosts followed Natives around, and encouraged ghost hunters to follow Natives around in order to hunt ghosts. I asked the tablers of the zine about it in and they said “it’s just a joke” and offered to give me my money back.

I told them I hadn’t bought the zine, I had just noticed it while flipping through it. They repeated “it’s just a joke,” a few times, and eventually one person said “oh, you know, our friend made that joke. She’s a member of United Tribes.”

This is even more troubling when put in the context of the still-active controversy surrounding University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s recently retired mascot Chief Illiniwek.

  • Dan from leaveyourbookmarks.com was wearing a tshirt that said “Chicago ain’t no sissy town.”

I approached him and had a brief conversation with him about the fact that “sissy” is a very loaded word that might make some people feel unwanted at the event, particularly given that he was tabling, which gives him the appearance of a person with power over the event. Dan was extremely polite, and offered to put on his sweatshirt to cover the shirt up.

We traded a couple of emails about our discussion a week or so later, and I think our interactions were very positive and educational for both of us.

I was very impressed with Dan’s immediate willingness to accept a new perspective, and complete lack of defensiveness.

I appreciate all the hard work the organizers did to host MidWest Zine Fest. I do not want to detract from the awesomeness of the event. What I wanted to do is give my honest perspective so that MidWest Zine Fest can grow to the be inclusive event that we all want it to be.

[/END]

——

THOUGHTS FROM POCZP

POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano reached out to MidWest Zine Fest organizer Jeanie Austin this week after Joyce requested support.

Jeanie has been one of the organizers for the three MidWest Zine Fests, is a zine librarian with the UC-IMC Radical Librarians, goes to school for library science, and works with youth through Mix IT UP!

Here is the thread from our convo with Jeanie:

JOYCE’S EMAIL

Hi Jeanie and Daniela,
Jeanie, Thanks for your email.  I apologize for my lack of response.  I appreciate that you shared your concerns and experiences with me, but I was really unsure how to respond to information that I was supposed to keep secret- not just off the POCZP tumblr, but from Daniela and others. I think that growth and accountability can only happen in an open, transparent environment.  
If you do have any comments or notes that you want to go with the blog post, please let us know.  
Thanks,
 
Joyce

To her credit, Jeanie responded in a very honest way that frankly we rarely see from white zine fest organizers after this kind of interaction:

JEANIE’S RESPONSE

joyce -

i totally understand.  i felt yucky as soon as i sent that e-mail.  sorry to put you in that position.  
i think that i would add this as an addendum to the notes "if i were to offer a word of advice to organizers who want to maintain safer spaces (which we do), there needs to be a lot of talk about what that looks like in action, including a patrol team that looks around and is ready to ENFORCE safer spaces (even if it means kicking folks out)."

PART OF POCZP’S RESPONSE

Hi Jeanie,

Thanks so much for weighing in. POCZP does not use call out culture tactics because (although we understand when it is needed), we find it more productive to focus on solutions directly with folks we’re addressing. So we really appreciate your response and will include your note in the write up later today. 
I would also like to suggest the possibility of us all brainstorming by google hangout later this week or next week ways to collaborate in the midwest moving forward, with Joyce being a part of that in ways that make sense for her/work with her schedule. <3 Let me know what you think.
Warmly,
Daniela

POCZP founder Daniela and Jeanie are in touch about ongoing collaborations. Daniela, Jeanie and Joyce will be speaking about issues that came up at MidWest Zine Fest in more detail in the coming weeks so that resulting solutions can be shared publicly.

Jeanie is like many zine fest organizers—a person with a lot of other stuff going on who is passionate about building community. She reached out to us earlier in 2013, in fact, to present at MidWest Zine Fest. She also approached POCZP about a possible collaboration with a juvenile detention center in Urbana, IL and made an introduction on our behalf with Joe Coyle, who oversees the writing project.

This post isn’t about “calling out” Jeanie or anyone else at MidWest Zine Fest. We are about building community and making safer spaces for POC. 

COMMUNITY: Think about Jeanie’s comment:

to maintain safer spaces (which we do), there needs to be a lot of talk about what that looks like in action

This hits close to home for POCZP. We made our own mistakes during our first tour last year that we will not make again this year. We discussed these mistakes at Chicago Zine Fest and you can find all details within our prezi.

Despite POCZP being founded by a person of color, and being made up of POC and allies, we still made mistakes during last year’s tour that negatively affected some attendees. Some of our partner venues wouldn’t let people under 18 in, some of the venues were not wheelchair accessible and and we never created a Safer Space Policy for our volunteer event coordinators.

Even as POC, we need to examine our various privileges and how that informs the way we produce events.

So even as we ask the MidWest Zine Fest organizers to examine what went wrong and how to produce more inclusive events in the future, we continue to identify our own mistakes so that we can learn from them and then share that knowledge.

MidWest Zine Fest DID create a safer space policy. The challenge is (one that many event organizers face) how to make sure that everyone is adhering to that policy and whether or not everyone is one the same page about what the policy means

These conversations about accessibility, inclusivity and white privilege can be awkward, yes. But we need to keep having them. All the time. That is the only way positive change can occur. We need to all be a part of the solution.

Another factor to consider when assessing how the same mistakes keep happening over and over is volunteer organizer turnover rates. If there isn’t a handoff of information and a training component to onboarding new volunteers, critical information doesn’t get transferred. 

In the case of MidWest Zine Fest, there is talk that the festival may not event continue after this year (not confirmed). Jeanie herself will no longer be involved with planning the fest after this year, due to moving out of state.

But even if MidWest Zine Fest doesn’t continue, it’s likely that the past organizers will continue to create community in other ways and in other spaces. We encourage these organizers to think about how their various privileges informed their decisions that resulted some of the problematic realities of this year’s fest so that they can ensure that their next event is genuinely a safe space for POC attendees.

Check out Joyce’s roundup of zine fest posters that includes a note about MidWest Zine Fest’s problematic poster choice. 

Again, we aren’t interested in simply calling out issues and walking away. We appreciate the time and energy it takes to organize zine fests and would like to partner with MidWest Zine Fest (if it’s still around) in the future.

For additional context, here is a very positive review of MidWest Zine Fest written by a white male attendee. Here is another very positive review published by The Daily Illini.

Zine fest attendees can have very different experiences, even while being at the same event together. This is something to keep in mind when discussing what true inclusivity looks like.

COMMUNITY: How can we create a praxis - a constantly evolving framework - for zine fest organizers to reference as they build toward a goal of producing an event that is truly inclusive? We should all be sharing resources. Send us your ideas: poczineproject@gmail.com.

Also, feel free to reblog this recap and include your own thoughts and links to resources. We’ll be sure to find them and share <3

- POC Zine Project

airhornoftruthandlove:

I thought I noticed a trend regarding images of people on zine fest posters, so I googled “zine fest poster” and here is what I feel is an accurate sampling of what I saw:
Midwest Zine Fest   Appears to be a white woman.
One of the LA Zine Fest posters.  Appears to be a white woman.
Paper City in Melbourne.  Appears to be a white young woman.
One of the Brooklyn Zine Fest posters.  Appears to be a white woman.
Birmingham Zine Fest  Appears to be a large community of exclusively white people.
Belgium Feminism Fest?  Appears to be women of color represented equally with white women.
I’m not a fan of putting people on posters, for many reasons. It sends unintentional messages that often alienate people.
When a decision is made to use images of people on posters, I appreciate when there are alternate, person-free posters used as well. If I want to support the project by taking a couple of flyers or posters to give to friends, I want to be able to give them one I don’t have to apologize for. And if images of people are used on posters, I do like it when it’s cartoony, rather than representational. The picture here, from Chicago Zine Fest 2011, is adorable. It shows people somewhere with many skin tones, even purple! And all the people in this fanciful place are the same. Whether they are young or old, purple or orange, they have the same love for reading zines! 

Excellent analysis by POCZP Midwest Coordinator Joyce Hatton &lt;3
We&#8217;d love to see more white folks who organize events factor in how representations of people at their events on materiality (physical and in digital form) both welcome and alienate POC.
A facet of white privilege is just assuming everyone is OK with an entire event being represented by a white person on a poster. That is no bueno. If you want more POC to attend your events, make your promotional materials more inclusive.

airhornoftruthandlove:

I thought I noticed a trend regarding images of people on zine fest posters, so I googled “zine fest poster” and here is what I feel is an accurate sampling of what I saw:

Midwest Zine Fest
Appears to be a white woman.

One of the LA Zine Fest posters.
Appears to be a white woman.

Paper City in Melbourne.
Appears to be a white young woman.

One of the Brooklyn Zine Fest posters.
Appears to be a white woman.

Birmingham Zine Fest
Appears to be a large community of exclusively white people.

Belgium Feminism Fest?
Appears to be women of color represented equally with white women.

I’m not a fan of putting people on posters, for many reasons. It sends unintentional messages that often alienate people.

When a decision is made to use images of people on posters, I appreciate when there are alternate, person-free posters used as well. If I want to support the project by taking a couple of flyers or posters to give to friends, I want to be able to give them one I don’t have to apologize for.

And if images of people are used on posters, I do like it when it’s cartoony, rather than representational. The picture here, from Chicago Zine Fest 2011, is adorable. It shows people somewhere with many skin tones, even purple! And all the people in this fanciful place are the same. Whether they are young or old, purple or orange, they have the same love for reading zines!

Excellent analysis by POCZP Midwest Coordinator Joyce Hatton <3

We’d love to see more white folks who organize events factor in how representations of people at their events on materiality (physical and in digital form) both welcome and alienate POC.

A facet of white privilege is just assuming everyone is OK with an entire event being represented by a white person on a poster. That is no bueno. If you want more POC to attend your events, make your promotional materials more inclusive.