POC ZINE PROJECT

Posts tagged Questions

Hi! I'm a qwoc looking to start my own zine, but my zine most likely won't focus mainly on any issues pertaining to that. Would it still qualify here? — Asked by devitojpg

Hi there,

Thanks for your message. My opinion is that you should make a zine about whatever you want. If you don’t want this zine to be about QWOC issues, then write about whatever you’re interested in sharing through the zine medium. 

One of the great things about making a zine is that you have total control over your own voice, message and design/layout. You can look to sources of inspiration like other zines to inform your approach, or you can do it without factoring in anything other than your own imagination (although knowing how to format and assemble a zine certainly helps - there are plenty of tutorials online!).

In terms of you submitting this question to POCZP, I wanted to clear something up (and hope you don’t mind me utilizing your question as the basis for this statement):

POCZP doesn’t exist to police/control zine culture, especially zines created by POC. We don’t value one type of zine created by POC over the next (although many of the zines we have featured do focus on race, gender, immigration, etc.). There are zines covering a wide range of topics in our physical archive and in our digital collection.

There are many QWOC who make zines about what it means to be a QPOC/QTPOC, as well as QTPOC who don’t make zines that focus on that. You are free to make zines about anything, and as long as you aren’t speaking for others/an experience that isn’t yours, there shouldn’t be any problems.

I will clarify that statement by saying that something like a fanzine that celebrates people, places or things are rad. Writing ABOUT others can be done in a way that isn’t exploitative, but you should always try to get permission from the person if they are alive and not a public figure before you do that (not always possible, but it’s good to at least try).

Something like someone writing about black identity/what it “means” to be black who isn’t black, for example, would be problematic. Get what I’m saying? Just use your best judgement and if you have any questions or concerns, I’m happy to share what I know: poczineproject@gmail.com.

And don’t worry about what POCZP thinks about your zine or if we would feature it or not. As a grassroots entity with a rotating cast of volunteers, we do our best to feature ALL the zines people submit. We have a long que, which is a great problem to have! Right now I’m the only one reviewing submissions. We do the best we can with the available time that we have.

To be extra clear: there is no such thing as parameters to “qualify” to be featured on POCZP, other than that it’s a zine made by a person of color. That’s it! <3 

Also, although POCZP does function as a curating mechanism, we don’t exist to make zine celebrities or to elevate one zine over the next. Even if it took months for us to feature your zine (please submit it when you’re done! <3 We’d love to feature it), POCZP’s recognition doesn’t mean anything. We exist to share materiality created by POC and to connect people to resources.

POCZP does have cultural relevancy and social capital within overlapping networks, but that doesn’t mean we are an “authority” or that our opinion should be valued over the next person’s or group’s. We are here to serve.

You creating your own art/materiality is what matters. You feeling good about creating is what matters.

Without people like you having the courage to tell your own stories and share your words, photos, art and more, there would be no reason for POCZP to exist in the first place. So, thank you.

Love,

Daniela Capistrano

Founder, POCZP

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SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT

If everyone in our community gave $10, we would more than meet our goals for 2014. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your gift. All funds go to ongoing advocacy costs, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.

We are rebooting our org structure and operations in 2014 and will be transparent about that process. Stay tuned.

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

Thank you for that response to the researcher's question. As a QWOC and aspiring-researcher myself, I hope to serve my community as humbly as possible and remember that everything, even labors of love, are still labors to begin with. Thank you for always grounding me. — Asked by Anonymous

Thank you for your support, Anon. We’re publishing your comment re: our response instead of the hate mail from cowardly people who think we should just be grateful that researchers contact us to begin with and that we should go out of our way to protect the reputations of people who perpetuate colonial behavior. 

We’ve received messages like this:

I have thoroughly reviewed your website and I can say that the very same racist behavior you claim exists towards POC, exists towards people of non color. I find it disheartening.

ALERT: There is a new category of humans who have no color! And POCZP’s Tumblr apparently contributes to their very real oppression as transparent people!* You heard it here first! 

That lil’ joke was to help everyone understand why we will archive the rest of the hate mail but we won’t spread it. There will be no more space given to problematic white folks on POCZP’s platforms who are so quick to cry “reverse racism” (not a thing that exists in reality - something people in the academy should know, right?) as a way to detract from what is really bothering them:

1) POCZP doesn’t exist to make white people feel safe.

2) People of color supporting other POC and standing up for POC isn’t reverse racism, as much as some white folks wish that were true … because how convenient would that be as a tool of oppression, right? 

“When whites talk about reverse discrimination, I feel that they are making a silly argument, because what they really want to say is that we, people of color, have the power to do to them what they have done to us from the 13th century,” said Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, professor of sociology at Duke University and author of Racism Without Racists, a book which examines how racism has evolved since the collapse of the Jim Crow era.

….“We do not control the economy,” Silva added, “we do not control politics — despite the election of Obama. We don’t control much of this country.” - TheGrio

Thankfully, our white supporters with a history of being in our corner aren’t offended when we speak out against problematic behavior perpetuated by other white people and don’t make it about them.

And it’s interesting how some white folks will come for POCZP (anonymously) when there is a discussion about colonial behaviors in the academy or in community spaces, but have nothing to say when we need support … yet claim to be supporters.

Here it is again for anyone reading this: We aren’t here for white people. We have white supporters/collaborators who we love, yes, but we are not here for white people.

We are here for people of color.

It’s OK to say that. 

Anon who sent us the message we are responding to now: Please let us know when you have projects to share so we can help signal boost.

Love,

POCZP

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SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT

If everyone in our community gave $10, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2014. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to ongoing advocacy costs, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.

We are rebooted our org structure in 2014 and will be transparent about that process. Stay tuned.

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

*sarcasm

Hello, I am a researcher from Wichita, KS. I am researching and writing my master's thesis about DIY Feminism and Zines in the Midwest. I am looking for collections that represent Midwest issues and activism as opposed to the plethora available on coastal affairs and activism. Do you believe you have anything that might help me please let me know! Thank you so much! Lorelei Lockner, lorelei.lockner@gmail — Asked by Anonymous

Dear Lorelei,

We’re confused as to why you are asking POC Zine Project to help you with your research for your master’s thesis - specifically, why you are contacting an advocacy platform for people of color and asking people who aren’t presently being paid to do this advocacy … to take on additional free labor for you.

Yes, asking POCZP to suggest zine collections that represent Midwest issues and activism for you IS labor. It involves research, curation and emailing you a detailed response. But the bigger problem with your question is that it’s entirely self-serving … at our expense.

Your request doesn’t include any offer of mutual support. It is a perfect example of the problematic requests we receive from grad students (usually white folks) all the time: ”Please research something for me for free or give me access to your institutional knowledge so that I can use it in my master’s thesis. I’m not going to offer you anything in return, but would be really grateful if you took on additional labor to help me with this thing I’m working on that doesn’t center POC. okbai!”

Since we’re taking the time to respond to this publicly, and others will see this response, we will also take the time to mention how easy it would have been to Google “midwest zines by people of color.” One of the top results is Joyce Hatton. You didn’t specify you were looking for zines by POC anyway, but since that is who we serve, we’ll recommend two POC zinesters from the midwest who collaborate with POCZP:

1) Joyce Hatton, POCZP Midwest Coordinator (yup, same person you would have found through a simple web search)

2) Chaun Webster, POCZP Midwest Coordinator & founder of Free Poet’s Press 

If you want to contact them directly, they can decide for themselves if they want to help you. We can’t and won’t speak for them. If you are serious about finding zines that represent Midwest issues and if you care about including POC voices (you didn’t indicate if you did), these are two people you should feature.

It’s important for us to state this publicly: It’s incredibly problematic that you didn’t mention Joyce or Chaun in your message (clearly a generic copy/paste inquiry you sent to multiple sources), which implies you didn’t do any real research on POCZP before contacting us. It would have been as simple as checking our TEAM page.

At this point we’re unfortunately used to grad students like you assuming we have the time to do the work you should be doing on your own.

We understand that in responding to you, we are helping you. But hopefully we are also sharing more evidence of how people in the academy are often completely oblivious to how their “innocent” requests for help are actually a form of colonial behavior.

Instead of just looking for collections - a pile of data to sift through - you should also be looking for PEOPLE in the midwest: zine librarians, zine fest organizers, and people like Joyce and Chaun. PEOPLE can help you find the zines you are looking for. 

You could have found Joyce and Chaun (midwest folks who make zines) on your own if you had taken two seconds to do your own research on POCZP before contacting us. 

This question was submitted over a month ago, so perhaps you already found what you are looking for. But hopefully this response helps you think first before you contact a POC-led org to do free labor for you without any offer of support in return.

- POCZP

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SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT

If everyone in our community gave $10, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2014. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to ongoing advocacy costs, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.

We are rebooted our org structure in 2014 and will be transparent about that process. Stay tuned.

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

Just some sweet and simple anon love: thank you for existing. — Asked by Anonymous

Hi Anon,

Thanks so much for the love. We have been busy! In 2013 (among other initiatives) POCZP led multiple free workshops across the country, presented at Allied Media Conference, Chicago Zine Fest and L.A. Zine Fest to share knowledge, tabled at multiple zine fests in solidarity with local POC, curated & wrote a list of 50 zines by QTPOC, organized & executed a national #RaceRiotTour traveling community experiment, coordinated a massive donation of zines by POC to multiple libraries, continued our Legacy Series work to share influential materiality by POC, provided mini-grants to 20 creators of color, and worked with over 50 volunteers across the country - all as a volunteer entity.

As the recipient of this year’s Long Arm Stapler Award and with our name being dropped in mainstream publications (thanks, Kathleen Hanna!), we are doing our best to graciously navigate public recognition.

Endorsements are great, but what we really need is the resources to be able to continue our important work in 2014 and beyond as a grassroots nonprofit. We consider our work important because we exist to empower people of color to share their stories and to build community. 

We also collaborate with - and disrupt - academic spaces with the intention of being a third space resource.

If you are reading this and believe in POCZP, please donate what you can so that we can continue operations. We aren’t supported by a fiscal sponsor and don’t have an operating budget, and yet we were about to achieve so much this year because we are people-powered. We defy limitations by daring to believe in community.

But we need your help — now more than ever. If you would like to be a part of POCZP’s restructuring phase in 2014, email poczineproject@gmail.com. Help us create a sustainable funding model and access resources.

Please reblog this post and share the donation link with friends. Thank you <3

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

P.S. We are nothing without you, so thank YOU for existing.

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SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT

If everyone in our community gave $10, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2014. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to ongoing advocacy costs, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.

We are rebooted our org structure in 2014 and will be transparent about that process. Stay tuned.

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

Hi! First of all - this project is awesome. I just wanted to ask: do you have any zines written by South Asian/desi authors? — Asked by Anonymous

Hi Anon,

Thanks for your question. We aren’t a distro but we can recommend checking out Gaysi Zine and MOONROOT - the folk who run these projects can certainly recommend more zines by South Asian/desi authors.

Additionally, Jordan Alam, creator of As[I]Am, is a zinester we know of through the Barnard Zine Library in NYC. She tabled at one of our #RaceRiotTour events in 2012 and has supported POCZP through her work with Jenna Freedman, one of our allies. 

TextaQueen makes the zine harshbrowns and is based in Australia.

Check out this thread on We Make Zines, which has a focus on non-US South Asian punk zines.

Please let us know what you find elsewhere so we can help spotlight.

HELP US HELP YOU <3

If this information was helpful, please consider making a donation to support our online & IRL advocacy efforts. We are a grassroots nonprofit without an operating budget.

Love,

POCZP

______________

SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT

If everyone in our community gave $10, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2014. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to ongoing advocacy costs, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.

We are rebooted our org structure in 2014 and will be transparent about that process. Stay tuned.

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

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

fuck yes i just discovered your project. can i get some zines sent to michigan? — Asked by Anonymous

Hi Anon,

Thanks for writing! We don’t mean to pick on you but are the 100th person in the past few months that has asked this (in a similar way), so we are using this question as an example so that we can effectively help folks with similar requests.

1) We are a 100% volunteer group, so when you don’t provide any way to (outside of Tumblr) communicate with you about your requests, it makes it really hard for us to practice the kind of advocacy we want to do within our limited time. Please provide a way to reach you when you first contact us (phone #, email, website, etc.) so that we don’t waste time trying to figure this out.

2) We have repeatedly stated that we are not a distro and our About page outlines what we do/what we offer. We are a 100% volunteer group with no funding source, so when we get general requests to “send zines to X” we really need more information before dedicating time and financial resources to that request.

“Can I get some zines” doesn’t tell us the following:

1) Is this a personal request for yourself? Because if so, we are not a distro. We can point you to POC-run & ally distros to get zines, and we do offer zines when we table on tour, but we are not a distro and it’s not financially smart for us to operate in that manner at this time.

2) Is this a request on behalf of an organization or collective? If so, we need to know the who/what/where/when/why so we can make the best decision based on our resources and time. It also helps to state if the org has funding to compensate us in any fashion - again, we are not a funded group. We are raising $10,000 between now and 2015 for the National Zinester Conference and need to be very careful about how we spend donations and our own funds.

3) What kind of zines are you talking about - what topics specifically do you need addressed, and are you looking for particular titles?

Grassroot efforts like ours do a better job at thriving when people make an effort to communicate efficiently. We are still learning how to be solid communicators, so we definitely understand making mistakes. In the future, please give us more information than “can i get some zines sent to michigan?” so that we can accurately assess if that’s something that is possible. <3

- POC Zine Project

Hello POC Zine Project! First up, I want to say keep up the excellent work: I've been able to find really inspiring zines here that I can really relate to (and that's been motivating my own projects). And so, I was wondering if you could please reblog my call for submissions to signal boost? I want to make a zine about Singaporean creatives residing overseas: Tumblr won't let me link to it here, but it's the latest post on my blog. Thanks! — Asked by endless-inside

Hi Eden Nova! Thank you so much for your kind words. We can definitely help you signal boost your call for submissions:

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: ZINE ABOUT SINGAPOREAN CREATIVES LIVING OVERSEAS 

From Eden Nova:

After receiving a message from a friend of mine who’s also based in North America and also an artist, I’ve realized that there seems to be elements of a shared experience to being a Singaporean living overseas engaged in creative work. So, naturally, I decided it would be awesome to make a zine project out of this!

I’ve been living in New York City for almost three years now and have had to make so many difficult adjustments. Spending your entire life being raised in a corporate state where you lack the basic rights to freedom of expression and assembly and then suddenly gaining these rights almost overnight is kind of a trip. For me, my entire worldview and self-perception have changed. It’s been a very difficult but mind-expanding couple of years.

I’ve wanted to share some of my experiences because, when I lived in Singapore, I didn’t have any friends who’d done anything similar and who talked about how they changed. I feel like collecting these stories might be an excellent resource for those still living in Singapore and who might want to leave as well as those who’ve already made the move but feel alone in societies where most people have never really had to live without the right to free expression. This zine also might be interesting to others who aren’t specifically Singaporean, but who’ve had to navigate similar issues.

I’m particularly interested in focussing on Singapore-born and raised people who’ve moved to Western democracies: How has your creative practice changed? How did your worldview change? How do you see yourself now? What kind of personal work are you engaged in to change old habits and coping mechanisms that worked well in Singaporean society but not anymore?

Please send contributions (words and/or images) or questions to endlessinside@gmail.com. (And you can view my other zines here.)

ABOUT EDEN NOVA, ARTIST


imageI was born and raised in Singapore - an Orwellian island nation in Southeast Asia, where individuality and looking within are strictly prohibited. From my two-and-a-half decades spent there, I learned from firsthand experience and observation about the cultural mechanisms of control and manipulation through violence (physical, spiritual and emotional) that industrial civilization enacts upon humanity, rewarding our worst traits while destroying our best ones.


I came to New York City in 2010 to realize that most of what I observed and experienced in Singapore were global problems: problems of dominator culture that exist in American society and every other society I have visited. I am, however, incredibly grateful for the freedom of expression that I now enjoy in the United States and I have been hugely inspired by the rebellious, beautiful and free creative spirits I’ve encountered here.

As a species, I think many of us very much have it in us to move past our destructive adolescence and understand once more that we are part of a community of life. With my work, I hope to explore, experience and enact this understanding with others. And to muster up the strength and community necessary to get dominator culture to fuck off and stop bothering the rest of us, once and for all.

I am moved by the hidden power of the life principle, love, the wisdom of pain, our allies in the natural world and the oceanic complexity of the unconscious, dreaming mind.

————-

Editor’s Note: We accept all calls for submissions from folks who identify as POC or (as white folks) have demonstrated that they are trustworthy allies through their ongoing efforts to empower POC. We do not review or accept calls for submissions from white folks who solely want to exploit this platform to gain a larger audience. Thanks.

Hi, I am a first-gen Armenian-American and I identify as a West Asian/ POC. I am working on a Zine to try to identify the undefined racial/ethnic/cultural Armenian/American identity. However, as an Armenian I am stuck in-between being "white" and brown and therefore don't know if I will be accepted in the POC community. I am visibly not white and my struggles are not either. I want a community where I can seek solidarity w/ people like me but I am alienated from POC and white communities. — Asked by Anonymous

Hi Anon,

Thank you for writing. My name is Daniela Capistrano and I’m the founder of the POC Zine Project. I am addressing you personally because I want to thank you for sharing your story and for taking on the zine project you described. We would love to help you in any way that we can.

Please send us an email at poczineproject@gmail.com and we can discuss ways to support your project.

You have raised a point that others have brought to our attention online and at our tour events, which is that POC identity and related communities can be defined in very different ways, depending on factors like:

- geography

- shared histories/lack of shared histories

- gender

- level of education/level of access to education

You have not stated where you are located. I would like to know more about your efforts to engage with POC-led movements and formal/informal groups and how people responded to you.

As someone who identifies as POC but also has skin privilege (people often confuse me for Italian or Jewish), I can (in my own way) relate to  this comment you made:

As an Armenian I am stuck in-between being ‘white’ and brown and therefore don’t know if I will be accepted in the POC community.

I can relate to this statement because there was a time in my teens where I wasn’t sure where I fit in. The POC folk I interacted with at the time had different interests from me. I felt stifled and frustrated. However, I’m thankful I was able to determine that one group of POC doesn’t speak for all people of color.

There isn’t one monolithic POC community that you need to worry about being accepted by. You don’t need to pick one group to affiliate yourself with. You can, and should, support and draw strength from as many POC as you can.

As POC, many of us often (unintentionally even) project our own internalized racism and identity issues onto other POC. I don’t know you, so I don’t know if that has anything to do with your situation. But I do know that internalized racism did play a huge role in how long it took for me to create my own POC community that was affirming and inspiring.

If you don’t feel like you have a POC community you can relate to, create one. 

Your self-care should be paramount. If you’re feeling isolated, you took a great step by contacting us to function as a sounding board for you. I understand your choice to be anonymous and will not take it personally if you don’t ever email me.

But, if you do, I can share some local options and also online resources that might resonate with you.

There is no “right” or “official” way to “be” a person of color. If you are read as a person of color and identify as a person of color, then that is YOUR experience and it is valid. You have a right to seek community and to feel affirmed.

Don’t let a few bad apples who alienated you keep you from the gift of being an active part of POC communities.

One thing that might be problematic is what you mentioned at the end of your comment: 

I want a community where I can seek solidarity w/ people like me but I am alienated from POC and white communities.

Since you didn’t provide additional context, I can only speculate on the few possible factors that informed this statement:

- You would like to be a part of an Armenian-American community, but are having trouble finding a group of people who identify as Armenian-American in the ways that you do to feel affiliated with/affirmed by

- You have already tried to be involved in POC events and groups in your hometown but felt alienated by x actions that resulted in you feeling left out or erased

- You are seeking “solidarity” out of a need to affirm your ethnic heritage

If any of those things apply, I sincerely hope you are able to find other Armenian-American folks to connect with locally and online. There are many ways to go about this.

I don’t know what you already tried or exactly what you are looking for, but all your language points to a person who is determined to find a place where they feel like they belong.

I encourage you to - in the process of finding an Armenian-American group/s to feel affirmed by - consider the value of participating in a broad range of POC groups/events.

Solidarity in POC communities is critical to our liberation and to dismantling institutional racism. I am not going to tell you what this should look like for you, because that wouldn’t be appropriate.

Instead, I’m going to give you a few glimpses into my own process and hopefully that is helpful in some way:

Practicing Solidarity Strategies Every Day = Very Easy Way To Find - And Be Accepted By - MULTIPLE POC Communities

I am not Black. I am Chicana. My partner is Black and I have many Black friends/collaborators, as well as a few Black people in my living family tree (as well as back up in the roots) ;).

Does this mean I only go to events for Chican@s/Latin@s? No.

Does this mean I think that I have a right to identify as Black, or to think that all Black spaces are/should be open to me? No.

I address opportunities and conflicts on a case by case basis.

Solidarity for me (in relation to the struggles and aspirations of Black people worldwide), and as part of my process to affirm my partner, is to support Black(and folks of varying backgrounds from the African diaspora) groups/movements in the following ways:

* With my physical presence at events where it is appropriate for me to be there (I don’t ask to attend Black-only events that are intended to be private and affirming experiences for Black-identified people).

* By donating my time and funds to support Black-led events

* By making it a priority to involve Black folks in POC Zine Project initiatives

I lose nothing by standing in solidarity with my Black brothers, sisters and allies. I gain so much by making myself available in the ways that I can.

I apply this solidarity strategy to multiple communities of color I interact with. Just last fall, I volunteered my time with CAAV, bringing them food to distribute to Sandy victims in NYC.

CAAAV works to build grassroots community power across diverse poor and working class Asian immigrant and refugee communities in New York City.  

Am I Asian? No. Did I feel like I didn’t have a right to support CAAV because I’m not Asian? No! Did CAAV reject my support because I’m not Asian? No, of course not!

Since then and moving forward, I will always feel comfortable attending CAAV events and supporting their efforts in any way that I can. I don’t have to Asian to understand what they are doing. I don’t have to be Asian to feel like I can be a part of their community in ways that make sense for me. 

You said ”.. therefore I don’t know if I will be accepted in the POC community.

I can guarantee you that if you are practicing solidarity strategies with POC groups of any background, and supporting their efforts, you will DEFINITELY feel accepted. It is rare for people to reject love and support.

I encourage you to think about whether or not you feel like you can only feel “authentic” solidarity with other Armenian-Americans and how structures built on the back of White Supremacy and Institutional racism MIGHT (only you know) be warping your view about what your level of comfort is when you’re around other POC who aren’t exactly like you.

… I think my world would be much smaller if I ONLY associated with Chican@s/Latin@s, as it would make intersectional analysis of our overlapping struggles as POC very difficult to process.

Again, POC community is not this monolithic member-based organization where everyone follows the same rules. We all have similar goals, but we also have conflicts, as POC, with each other, for reasons informed by geography, class, gender, etc.

In your journey to gain affirmation and support from POC communities, consider your own role in affirming and supporting other POC. If you are not giving anything back, then it’s no suprise that you feel “alienated” which can often be confused with “feeling left out.”

Again, I don’t know you or what your experience has been like. I can only go by what you shared. But I hope you will consider how much personal power you possess and how you can use it to create and participate in your ideal POC community.

We hope to hear from you soon!

I’m thrilled about your zine idea and would love to help you find a distro and promote its release, at the very least. Depending on the content, we can also discuss tabling with it during our tour.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Here are some responses from our Facebook community:

Spectra Speaks said: Queer Women of Color Media Wire - QWOC Media Wire publishes so much commentary about nationality/ethnicity/non-western ideologies about identity. You are so totally welcome to submit there! I also agree with commenter above — I never fit either, and though it’s hard sometimes, my voice and writing affirms that other people don’t have to either.http://www.qwocmediawire.com/

And this:

Evan Pivazyan said: Armenian Anon, who are you? -A fellow Armenian-American who knows exactly what you’re talking about and wants to talk about it.

And this, which just came through our Tumblr right now: 

Armenian Anon— I am also a first gen queer Armenian-American and I 100% feel everything you wrote about! I am so shocked to hear somebody else articulating what you’ve wrote; it’s like a revelation! Get in contact with me on my blog! I’m mad interested in the zine you’re working on too. (Dear POC Zine Project: sorry for using you as a go-between)

You are not alone.

Thank you again for having the courage to reach out and good luck finding the community that works for you.

Warmly,

Daniela Capistrano

Founder, POC Zine Project

Any plans for a distro so who can't make it to the events can get zines? — Asked by Anonymous

Hello Anon,

POC Zine Project is not a distro and we do not intend to function as a distro in the foreseeable future. We are an advocacy platform and are focused on, among other initiatives, supporting POC-run distros.

When we produce live events, we do table with some relevant POC and ally materials, including POC-authored/edited zines. We also curate a traveling zine exhibition, which has been growing over time (but those aren’t available for purchase, as they are duplicates representing what is in our archive).

We also table at other orgs’ live events and provide supplemental materials for sale and trade. We like to provide the service of making it easy to (at these events) access independently published materials by POC as part of our advocacy platform’s goals.

However, maintaining a distro is hard work — ask anyone who distros. We are a 100% DIY and volunteer entity and 90% of our work is unfunded. The little funding we do get is by donation and goes directly back to touring and other related costs. Many of our collaborators contribute their own funds.

There are pros and cons to being so unhindered from nonprofit/corporate funding bureaucracy and censorship. One of the pros is that we do what we want, when we want to. That is very liberating.

One of the cons is that we don’t have a consistent source of funding at this time. That will change in the future, as that is part of our long term strategy. But right now we are scrappy, and we like it that way.

So, we have chosen to focus our efforts as an advocacy platform for now and will evaluate incorporating a distro if/when we have the resources to do something like that.  

We are also not a sole source for, or ultimate authority on, zines by POC. When we spotlight zines or share community submissions, it’s to point you to the creators directly — to place orders and to engage with them. But there are many other POC out there making zines.

Our mission is to make zines by people of color easy to find, distribute and share. We are a project — a POC zine-focused project — and within our paradigm we accomplish a lot with very few resources. We know we can make a greater impact in the long term being true to who we are, vs. feeling obligated to function as a POC distro. We’re happy with our progress so far and know there’s a lot more work to be done.

All of the zines we table with are through our zine partners, who are presently SlushPilePress, For The Birds Collective and Maximumrocknroll. You can get most of the same zines we table with directly from them via snail mail and also in person at events (if you are near them). 

We continue to receive this distro question despite having published this answer repeatedly, so to make sure everyone has this information, we’re adding it to our About page. Thanks for your support!

- POC Zine Project