POC ZINE PROJECT

Posts tagged activism

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

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

From POC Zine Project:
ALERT: We are looking for folks who can tell us more about LA RAZA: NEWS &amp; POLITICAL THOUGHT OF THE‪ CHICANO‬ STRUGGLE (1975) (see sample issue below):- Where are the founders today? What are they doing?- Where are some of the contributors today? What are they doing?- Which movements were inspired by/relied on this publication?POCZP intern Cata has reached out to some folks but no response so far. Help us do critical ‪#‎legacyseries‬ work by sharing whatever info you have!  Send to poczineproject@gmail.com with subject “LA RAZA”READ NOW

Thanks for the signal boost &lt;3 We really appreciate it. We&#8217;ve received multiple leads from Facebook commenters within the last 24 hours (where we originally shared this inquiry) and are planning our follow up strategy now. This will be a publication we explore in-depth through our Legacy Series. 
You can actually read it right now if you want to (we added it to our public digitized &amp; digital zine library)!

More info coming soon &#8230; &lt;3

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

From POC Zine Project:

ALERT: We are looking for folks who can tell us more about LA RAZA: NEWS & POLITICAL THOUGHT OF THE‪ CHICANO‬ STRUGGLE (1975) (see sample issue below):

- Where are the founders today? What are they doing?
- Where are some of the contributors today? What are they doing?
- Which movements were inspired by/relied on this publication?

POCZP intern Cata has reached out to some folks but no response so far. Help us do critical ‪#‎legacyseries‬ work by sharing whatever info you have!  Send to poczineproject@gmail.com with subject “LA RAZA”

READ NOW

Thanks for the signal boost <3 We really appreciate it. We’ve received multiple leads from Facebook commenters within the last 24 hours (where we originally shared this inquiry) and are planning our follow up strategy now. This will be a publication we explore in-depth through our Legacy Series. 

You can actually read it right now if you want to (we added it to our public digitized & digital zine library)!

More info coming soon … <3

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

Read a F*cking Zine: 50 Zines by Queer People of Color

[Description: page 4 of 4 of our article on Autostraddle.com]

As we noted at the top of this pieces we intentionally released on Autostraddle.com (thanks for your support!), the list is not meant to represent all zines created by QTPOC. Use it as a rabbit hole of sorts on your path toward discovering more queer zines by people of color.

Check the bottom of the last page of the piece for information on how we came up with this list, plus feel free to submit suggestions for the updated list we’ll launch with our official POCZP website in Spring of 2014!

This list would not have been possible without the contributions from - and collaboration with - the following folks:

- Queer Zine Archive Project

- Barnard Zine Library

- POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano & artist/activist Nia King

If you have any questions/concerns/love you want to share via email regarding this piece, send away! —> poczineproject [at] gmail dot com

Please help us fulfill our mission to make zines by people of color easy to find, distribute and share by sharing this curated list. Thank you. <3 - POCZP

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ABOUT AUTOSTRADDLE

Founded in March 2009 and still run by a dedicated team of indentured masochists, Autostraddle is an intelligent, hilarious & provocative voice and a progressively feminist online community for a new generation of kickass lesbian, bisexual & otherwise inclined ladies (and their friends).

Learn more at Autostraddle.com

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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

POC Zine Project wants to see YOUR #POCZINES Collection

What does your ‪#‎poczines‬ collection look like? Send us a photo of your shelf/drawer/area under your pillow/etc. & we’ll feature it in our ‪#‎izm2013‬ reactions post first week of August.

If you only have two zines created by POC, it’s still a collection - even if you made both of them!  

Deadline: August 28, 2013

PLEASE EMAIL: poczineproject@gmail.com (we are only accepting submissions through email, thanks!)

Please be sure to include the following:

- 1-3 max photos of your #poczines collection (please make sure they are as clear as possible) with photo credit info (the higher resolution the better, thanks!)

- your bio

- any links/contact info you want to share

- info about your own zines that YOU make (optional)

- any of your upcoming/current projects that need some signal boost love. We gotchu boo. 

We know many folks collect zines by authors of diverse backgrounds, so it’s 100% OK/common if you have a mix of POC and non-POC authored zines in your collection. However, for the purposes of this visibility exercise, we only want to see the zines made by POC in your collection (co-authored with non-POC is fine, as long as editor was/is POC).

WHITE FOLKS: Send photos & info about your #poczines collection as well! We wants to see the #poczines on your shelves too.

Please be sure to also include what POC solidarity looks like in your life, both in theory and in practice. 

<3,

POCZP

dczinefest:

Here’s our very exciting poster drawn for us by local artist Kristie Lane Anderson!

POC Zine Project will be tabling at the 3rd Annual DC Zinefest!
DATE: Saturday, July 20, 2013
TIME: 11AM-5PM
LOCATION: St. Stephens Church - 1525 Newton St. NW, Washington, DC, 20010
POC Zine Project will be tabling with some awesome zines: 
The Radical Doula Guide 
Islam Book by Paradise Xerxes Khanmalek
HaiCoup-a fieldguide in guerrilla (po)ethics and ReMix, both by POCZP Midwest Coordinator Chaun Webster
Rocks &amp; Yoga 
Come by our table to explore some of the titles in our archive and to meet the following rad people:
Cata, POCZP&#8217;s East Coast coordinator, who is a two-spirit queer yogi
Laila, a rad biker and organizer
Landis, an art and education shape maker
Each will bring a little something special to the table!Here&#8217;s a message from Cata:

I am tabling on behalf of POC Zine Project because I believe community through materiality is possible &amp; a necessary place for our communities to meet and learn about/from each other. 
See you on Saturday!

DO YOU WANT TO SUPPORT POCZP ON THE EAST COAST?
We need assistance with producing events, contributing to ongoing initiatives and reporting on zine culture through an intersectional lens.
In return, POCZP can offer mentorship, speaker opportunities and access to resources. Leave your information with Cata on Saturday at DC Zinefest or email us at poczineproject@gmail.com.
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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

dczinefest:

Here’s our very exciting poster drawn for us by local artist Kristie Lane Anderson!

POC Zine Project will be tabling at the 3rd Annual DC Zinefest!

DATE: Saturday, July 20, 2013

TIME: 11AM-5PM

LOCATION: St. Stephens Church - 1525 Newton St. NW, Washington, DC, 20010

POC Zine Project will be tabling with some awesome zines:

Come by our table to explore some of the titles in our archive and to meet the following rad people:

Each will bring a little something special to the table!

Here’s a message from Cata:

I am tabling on behalf of POC Zine Project because I believe community through materiality is possible & a necessary place for our communities to meet and learn about/from each other.

See you on Saturday!

DO YOU WANT TO SUPPORT POCZP ON THE EAST COAST?

We need assistance with producing events, contributing to ongoing initiatives and reporting on zine culture through an intersectional lens.

In return, POCZP can offer mentorship, speaker opportunities and access to resources. Leave your information with Cata on Saturday at DC Zinefest or email us at poczineproject@gmail.com.

——————-

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

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: #CAHungerStrike #PelicanBay Awareness

POCZP Donor and Resistance Behind Bars author Victoria Law (who also edits Tenacious zine) will be on the ”Melissa Harris-Perry" show this Saturday, July 13 (show starts at 10am ET), to talk about what is happening at #PelicanBay and other prisons in California. Vikki will be discussing her recent article about the Pelican Bay hunger strikes and the families organizing in support of their demands.

Follow #nerdland on Twitter to view the related conversation during the show.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT #CAHungerStrike

Right now 30,000 prisoners in California are on hunger strike. According to Amnesty International, that is the largest hunger strike in the state’s history, encompassing roughly two-thirds of the state’s inmates.

For additional context on why the strike is happening, check out some of the shocking facts in the infographic below on the conditions of indefinite isolation in California, where more than 3,000 prisoners are held in these high security isolation units known as Security Housing Units (SHUS).

Additionally, The Sacramento Bee reports that the Center for Investigative Reporting found that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals.

[DESCRIPTION: This single page infographic by Amnesty International is best viewed in full screen mode to zoom in on sections]

Follow #CAHungerStrike on Twitter to stay informed. 

MORE INFO FROM HOMIES UNIDOS

The California Prisoner’s Hunger Strike started once again on July 8, 2013. The protesters have said that they will not stop until demands are addressed even if that means giving their lives.

Sign the petition: The Petition

Statewide Rally at Corcoran State Prison

Saturday, July 13, 3:00 PM

Bus and carpool leaves from Los Angeles at 8:30 AM, 

From: Chuco’s Justice Center,1137 E. Redondo, Inglewood

THE FIVE DEMANDS 

The inhumane conditions inside CA dungeons, particularly in isolation - a form of torture -, brought prisoners together across racial, geographic, and political lines. They united to end hostilities and fight for changes in SHU conditions. These men have suffered injustice and torture for decades. Governors, wardens, courts, and media have disregarded all previous attempts to change conditions. As a result, the hunger-strikers have placed their lives on the line and developed five core demands: Link for Flier

  • End Group Punishment & Administrative Abuse: Hold people accountable for their individualactions,rather than punishing everyone. Collective punishment is a fascist practice!
  • Abolish the Debriefing Policy, and Modify Active/Inactive Gang Status Criteria: The ‘debriefing’ policy is known as “snitch or die” - since the only way out of the SHU is to debrief (inform on another prisoner). In some cases, people have been in the SHUs since the ’60s or ’70s for political beliefs or jailhouse lawyering. 
  • End Long-Term Solitary Confinement. Comply with 2006 US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons. International human rights organizations recognize sensory deprivation is psychological torture. 
  • Provide Adequate and Nutritious Food, adequate medical care, and access to natural light.
  • Expand and Provide Constructive Programming and Privileges for Indefinite SHU Status Inmates. People in SHUs aren’t released, since there’s no constructive program available with which to qualify for parole.

Join the Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition and bring in your school, union, community or coreligionists. Hunger Strike Solidarity So Cal Coalition (in formation) includes families, ex-prisoners & others. To get involved, 213-858-3486 or hungerstrikesolidaritysocal@gmail.com

For more information about the Five Core Demands, please visitprisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com  

Facebook Invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/672950029398476/

In October 2012 incarcerated people in the hunger strike came to an agreement to end all hostilities against each other, the agreement can be found here: 

http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/short-corridor-collective-calls-for-statewide-end-to-hostilities/ 

ADDITIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE

Photos of Protesters Against Solitary Confinement - LA Daily News Media 

http://photos.dailynews.com/2013/07/photos-protesters-against-solitary-confinement/?utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=buffere54e5&utm_medium=twitter#3

 Los Angeles Times:

Spanish Interviews:
Maria and Jesus Aguirre speak of their struggles with their loves in prison and the hunger strike. starts at 47 minutes.

http://archive.kpfk.org/mp3/kpfk_130709_213030vocesdelibertad.MP3

Spanish interview on Telemundo with Delia Rodriguez on the Hunger Strike:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4476878340187&set=o.520666777981595&type=2&theater 

Spanish coverage of the Hunger Strike:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4476560252235&set=o.520666777981595&type=2&theater 

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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

June 30 is POC Zine Project’s One Year Tumblr Anniversary!

On June 30, 2012, The POC Zine Project Tumblr was “born” at Hive Learning Network NYC's Summer Code Party Pop-Up with Tumblr and Mozilla at DCTV. Not only did we receive help from Tumblr staff in setting up this Tumblr, POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano was able to share information in real time about POCZP at the event (see image from that day below) with attendees!

image

 

Since June of 2012, POZCP has shared information about zines by people of color and intersectional projects with the Tumblr community. We brought you daily recaps from our first-ever Race Riot! Tour last fall because it was important to us to keep you informed.

For the past year, we’ve appreciate your submissions, reblogs and feedback. Prior to the launch of the POCZP Tumblr in 2012, we were actively “listening” on Tumblr through private accounts since 2007 — tracking “zine”-tagged posts, observing how folks of color from all walks of life use Tumblr, how zinesters were using Tumblr and figuring out what our short and long term goals are for this space <3

We hope that we help make your Tumblr explorations a fun, inspiring and informative experience. If you’ve benefitted in any way from our efforts on Tumblr, please consider making a donation of any amount to POC Zine Project.

We are in the process of planning our second Race Riot! Tour and must raise $14,000 to cover the costs of a 20 city national tour, which will take place in October and November of 2013. We’ve expanded the tour to include cities in the midwest and a date in Mexico. We know we can do it but we need your help. <3 Thanks for your support.

- POC Zine Project

P.S. If you don’t have any funds—we hear ya! POCZP is a grassroots organization and we are all volunteers. We have operated without 501(c)(3) status the past three years for a reason: to stay as free as possible, so we can move as quickly as possible. Help the cause by forwarding this link to friends on your social accounts, email and by reblogging. We appreciate the love.

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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: How to Stage a Coup [NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE AND FOR DISTRO]

image

Earlier this year Helen Luu donated her original flat for How to Stage a Coup: An Insurrection of the Underground Liberation Army (2000) to POCZP, which we scanned just in time for POCZP’s participation at Allied Media Conference in Detroit.

Yes, it’s here!!!

READ & SHARE ‘HOW TO STAGE A COUP’

POCZP’s mission is to make zines by people of color easy to find, distribute and share. We are thrilled to share this legacy zine with the world in digital form and will be providing (sliding-scale priced) print copies at all Race Riot! tour events this fall.

HTSAC will be free for all POC attendees at Race Riot! tour events.

***This zine is best viewed online or via mobile in full-screen mode***

TITLE: How to Stage a Coup: An Insurrection of the Underground Liberation Army 

EDITOR: Helen Luu

PUBLISHED: 2000

DESCRIPTION BY POCZP TOUR MEMBER MIMI THI NGUYEN IN 2000:

Helen Luu recently edited a compilation zine called How To Stage A Coup, aimed at creating a dialogue among people of color involved in subcultural pursuits (including punk rock) around race, racism and politics. Contributors like Lauren Martin (You Might As Well Live, Quantify), Lynn Hou (Cyanide), Celia Prez (I Dreamed I Was Assertive), Elizabeth Martinez (Colorlines) and Vincent Chung address a wide variety of issues from organizing and identity politics, to activist dynamics and punk rock betrayals. What does it mean to look at the photographs of Third World suffering on the covers of grindcore records? What does it mean to talk about “pride”? Where was the “color” in Seattle/WTO? What comes first – “being brown or being famous”? The contributors to this compilation ask important questions that need asking, again and again, and Helen Luu brings it all together. 

Click here for the rest of Mimi’s interview, and check out Helen’s DJ projects as MissRuckus.

DO YOU WANT TO DISTRO ‘HOW TO STAGE A COUP’?

We announced on our Facebook page that we have two digital downloads available:

1) Print version

This version was made from a scan of the original flat. It was created with the intention of sharing with folks for distribution of the print version.

2) Read-version

This is the online-friendly version you can see in the embed above. This file is best viewed in e-readers or printed with the expectation that it will be page by page and not the same as the flat.

HOW TO ACCESS HTSAC FILES

We’re raising funds to make 200+ print versions of How to Stage a Coup to give away during tour, so we’re asking folks interested in gaining access to either files to email poczineproject@gmail.com with information about how they plan to use it.

Based on that info (and our relationship with that person/collective), we will ask for a sliding scale donation in exchange for access to a secure file.

We will be providing free access to both downloads on a case-by-case basis. In the meantime, enjoy the read-only version above.

We look forward to seeing more copies of How to Stage a Coup in circulation and on shelves in venues/zine libraries/archives worldwide! 

Please note that, per Luu’s donation statement, "This zine and the parts within it are not to be used for profit (paying for expenses is okay though)."

We’ll have more details about who follows up to distro and archive How to Stage a Coup in the coming weeks and months. 

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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: 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.

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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.

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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