POC ZINE PROJECT

Posts tagged archive

ZINE SPOTLIGHT: ‘Hidden Expressions Vol. 1’ (2012), feat. voices of presently or formerly encarcerated transgender & gender non-conforming creators

Hidden Expressions Vol. 1 (2012) - COVER

[DESCRIPTION: Cover of ‘Hidden Expressions Vol .1’] Hidden Expressions Vol. 1 (2012) _ DEDICATION

[DESCRIPTION: Dedication page for ‘Hidden Expressions Vol .1’]

Hidden Expressions Vol. 1 (2012) - EXCERPT[DESCRIPTION: Excerpt ‘Hidden Expressions Vol .1’]

ZINE TITLE: Hidden Expressions Vol .1 

AUTHOR(S): Contributions, wisdom, and creativity of transgender and gender non-conforming people who have been or are currently incarcerated (supported by Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois

RELEASE DATE: January 31, 2012

ORIGIN: Chicago,Illinois, USA

DESCRIPTION: 

The Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois (TJLP) is a collective of radical lawyers, social workers, activists, and community organizers who are deeply committed to prison abolition, transformative justice, and gender self-determination.

Hidden Expressions is an annual ‘zine publication created exclusively with the contributions, wisdom, and creativity of transgender and gender non-conforming people who have been or are currently incarcerated. Submissions can include stories, drawings, “how-to” guides, poetry, guides to surviving prison as a trans person, erotica, recipes, treats, hobbies, writing and art tips, comic strips, and any other expression of resilience and talent.

A digital copy is available for free download on our website, and hard copies are distributed nationally to TJLP’s clients, other incarcerated trans and gender-nonconforming folks, archives, libraries, and organizations that work with trans people and people on the inside. This ‘zine is a tangible expression of our organization’s mission to connect incarcerated trans and gender non-conforming people to their peers, friends, family, allies, and the larger Prison Abolition movement, both inside and outside of prisons and jails. TJLP provides the resources (paper, printing, layout, etc.) and the people-power on the outside to put it together, but the content of the ‘zine is entirely created by transgender and gender non-conforming folks who are currently locked up in facilities across the United States.

This ‘zine is an expression of what is really happening for trans and gender non-conforming folks who are currently imprisoned – including thoughts and strategies for survival. We hope this publication can combat the isolation and silence that the prison-industrial complex inflicts by creating a sense of community through the voices on the page. - tjlp.org

READ NOW

Part of POCZP’s advocacy is helping to make public domain zines such as Hidden Expressions Vol. 1 easy to find, distribute and share. You can now read this zine in our digital library of scanned and e-zines.

Consider making a donation to TJLP

Point of reference: @prisonculture (thank you!)

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WANT MORE?

Read our interview with Tenacious zine editor and prison abolitionist Vikki Law.

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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

For The Archive: Our response to folks who have accused us of being elitist

[originally shared on our Facebook page]

We are POCZP.

We have done events in raw warehouses. In collective housing. In high school classrooms. In university auditoriums. In churches. In living rooms. Outdoors. In gated communities. In neighborhoods that have been historically neglected & oppressed by the government.

We partner with feminists, humanists, geeks, crafty folks, artivists, musicians, academics, punx, anarchists, anti-authoritarians, christians, muslims, atheists, agnostics and people of diverse ethnic & cultural backgrounds. We are working this year on indigenous solidarity with QUESE IMC and how to be more accessible in general in the long term.

Our volunteers are below the poverty line, middle class and also choose not to disclose that info.

It is unwise to make assumptions about how we function or what our priorities are. Emailing us direct questions in a respectful manner is the most effective way to both get your questions answered & to avoid making judgement statements about us before getting your facts straight.

We understand that as we grow, criticism is par the course. But if your intention is to partner with us, please make sure that is your true intention before contacting us. Because if we suspect for a second that your intention is to merely stroke your own ego & attack us at the expense of volunteer time & the focus of our mission, we will stop responding. Plain and simple.

Since this keeps coming up because some folks continue to assume that we are “funded” & therefore “elitist”: We are 100% volunteer and DO NOT have 501(c)(3) status OR a fiscal sponsor.

We have no agenda accept for our mission and statement of purpose, which is widely available but we’ll state is again:

We are POC Zine Project: an advocacy platform, curation+archive project and resource for independent writers/publishers/artists/activists of color.

Our mission is to make ALL zines by people of color easy to find, distribute and share.

We are an experiment in activism & community through materiality.

Having a consistent source of funding would be rad, by the way. But for the last three years we have intentionally avoided the nonprofit industrial complex & have achieved what we have with very little money, so we’re happy with our choice.

It’s a trade-off and in the process it’s taught us a lot about what communities can achieve without the interference of government oversight & control. It’s also taught us how infighting, institutional racism, egos and mansplaining do a lot in activist communities to DERAIL progress.

We’ll state this one last time until something changes:

We receive NO FUNDING AT ALL except for donations from the public and touring members, plus honorariums we receive when we tour (which is only a portion of the year and 100% goes to the touring budget/reimbursing touring members).

We recently disclosed how much we made via online donations in 2012 on poczineproject.tumblr.com. We hope this update serves to clear up any lingering misconceptions.

All of this info has been shared routinely across our digital platforms, as well as on our ABOUT page and in the updates we regularly make under the tag “POCZP News.

Here is all the information (including financial) we shared at this year’s Chicago Zine Fest about last year’s tour, as we made that public knowledge online as well:

Initially we were sharing this info with the intent to help people learn from our mistakes & to participate in skill sharing. Now we see that our documentation serves another purpose: it helps us to DEFEND ourselves from OTHER POC! Yes! Other POC! That is sad shit y’all. Let’s do better.

If you still have questions, feel free to email: poczineproject@gmail.com. We love questions & are happy to answer them when they are asked with patience and respect.

Thanks for your time and have a great day.

Love,

POCZP

P.S. We have decided to not publicly disclose the names of those who have attacked us and instead focus on our mission. <3 We are not going to give notoriety/attention to people who attempt to derail our progress.

COMMUNITY SUBMISSION: ‘The Life and Times of Butch Dykes’ zine series

The Life and Times of Butch Dykes by Eloisa Aquino (B&D Press) 2009 - present

[DESCRIPTION: Cover of ‘The Life and Times of Butch Dykes: Chavela Vargas,’ Issue 1 Vol. 1 (2009)]

TITLE: The Life and Times of Butch Dykes

AUTHOR: Eloisa Aquino 

RELEASE: 2009 - present

ORIGIN: Montreal, Canada

DESCRIPTION FROM ELOISA: The Life and Times of Butch Dykes is a series of fanzines about the lives and times of amazing women who could be considered icons against heteronormativity, in their very personal and unique ways. They’re from different places/spaces and yet have as a common ground the fact that they’re all accomplished creators, in work and life. They were and are brave people who tried to be authentic and faithful to what they perceived as their true identity.

I self-publish through my micro press in Montreal. Some of the dykes portrayed in the zine are POC, and I am a queer POC.

READ NOW: The magazine No More Potlucks has Chavela Vargas and Claude Cahun online. 

HOW TO BUY: Explore and purchase all print issues on B&D Press’ Etsy shop

ABOUT ELOISA AQUINO

The Life and Times of Butch Dykes by Eloisa Aquino (B&D Press) 2009 - present

[DESCRIPTION: Eloisa Aquino in 2009, at work on the JD Samson issue of ‘The Life and Times of Butch Dykes.’ Source: butchdykes.blogspot.com]

Learn more about Eloisa in this interview from 2012. Here’s an excerpt:

Eloisa Aquino: I used to be a journalist for many years. Then, I moved to Canada to study. I was already in my 30’s. Then, three years ago I decided to make something for an Expozine (an exposition of zines in Montreal). That was super fun and really nice. And I had made zines like twenty years ago, but they were basically like fictional and poetry zines, more like literature zines. When I decided to come back to zines I decided to draw. That’s it! So I don’t really have a background in art.

SAY HI TO ELOISA: eloaquino at gmail dot com

For more great pics, click here to search all Tumblr posts tagged with “Eloisa Aquino.”

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Editor’s Note: Community Submission OR Call for Submissions post is usually from POC folk submitting their own zine or zine call to be featured by POCZP. If you would like to share your zine with the POC Zine Project community, here’s how to do it.

Please make sure to include pertinent info for CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: deadline, submission info/email/tumblr, related links, your own bio, etc.

As long as the zine was created/co-created by a person of color, we will always share Community Submissions. Enjoy!

POCZP also accepts anonymous submissions and zine donations from POC. Click here for submission guidelines.

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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

COMMUNITY SUBMISSION: Islam Book, a zine exploring Islamic identity 

TITLE: Islam Book
RELEASE: April 20, 2013
ORIGIN: Vancouver, Canada
AUTHOR: Paradise Xerxes Khanmalek
ABOUT ISLAM BOOK, BY PARADISE:

Islam Book is zine about voice, appropriation, and an assertion of a complex racial and sexual identity. With Islam Book, I am attempting to complicate the reader&#8217;s perception of what exactly an Islamic identity is in order to assert the inclusion of Queerness, weirdness, varying languages, and general humanity. 
I am also trying to reclaim middle eastern pattern and calligraphic aesthetic from the visual appropriation I observe in mainstream visual media. I have included a lot of poetry written with farsi letters that spell out english words that attempt to investigate my own Islamic queer identity and call to action other queer POC to engage in a critical dialogue about the body and internalized racism.

WHERE TO BUY: Email lillymalek@yahoo.com or follow hifrog.tumblr.com and submit your interest as a question. Paradise will take it from there!
POCZP will be offering a few copies of Islam Book at this year&#8217;s DC Zinefest.
ISLAM BOOK IS NOW IN THE POCZP ARCHIVE!
Paradise is one of many POC who have donated copies of their zines to the POC Zine Project archive. Donations are critical to our work, as we are a 100% volunteer organization and rely on direct donations to function outside the nonprofit industrial complex. We purchase zines directly from POC whenever we can, but donations are especially appreciated.
Click here for info on how to donate your zine to POCZP.
Here is Paradise&#8217;s donation statement for 14 copies of Islam Book:

My name is Paradise Xerxes Khanmalek. I&#8217;m submitting my zines to the POC Zine Project because making zines is one of the only mediums I have felt comfortable enough to challenge extremely pressing and personal racial issues. I have felt a dire need to engage with other POC about issues I find important, and the most successful way I have found is creating and distributing my own zines.

Hopefully by submitting Islam book and my other zines to the POC Zine Project, I can create a larger dialogue, engage in more discussion, and reach the eyes of more POC.
 
The POC zine project was really exciting to learn about because I feel a constant lack of support for POC in my community and my body and the POC Zine Project seems to be a real, active, force that challenges white power, and connects and strengthens people of color. 
 
I created the zine Islam Book as a blatant assertion of my own queer Muslim identity in order to complicate the perception of what it means to be muslim, Jewish, middle eastern, or queer. I also intend the book to reclaim middle eastern pattern aesthetic from the appropriation I feel present in media coming from white voices and associate the aesthetic with my own queer muslim voice.
 
I do these things by creating digital patterns from photos I took, writing poetry that mix the english and farsi language, and layering symbols to subvert stereotypical associations. Some of the poetry and patterns focus on the body; perceived middle eastern facial character traits, internalized racism, self-hate, and language I feel manifests from these phenomenon. I also focus on the body from a gender queer perspective.
 
I speak about queerness in farsi and call out for a general embrace of ugliness with regards to hetero normative white beauty standards prevalent in myself, my Iranian identity, my family, and the Iranian community surrounding me. I by no means aim to shame Iranian people who decide not to &#8220;embrace being ugly&#8221;, as I have put it, but rather express my own experience becoming critical with internalized racism and create a dialogue with people who might benefit from this discussion.
 
Many of the images in the digital patterns are of locations in Los Angeles, where I was born and raised. I find it important to remind the viewer that this discussion is happening within a context, I am experiencing these things within the immense colonial ideological presence of the united states.
 
I have a lot to say about this book, about Los Angeles, the united states, the appropriation of certain middle eastern visual arts aesthetic, and internalized racism with regards to the body and being queer.


POCZP always loves to hear how folks find out about us. Here&#8217;s Paradise&#8217;s story:

I&#8217;m really exited about what the POC Zine project does. I went to New Orleans [in early 2013] and bought a copy of Shotgun Seamstress from Maple St. Book store. I later googled the zine and it led me to the POC Zine Project.
I&#8217;ve made three different series of zines and Islam Book is my most racial and my favorite. I like the page where I wrote red hot chilli pepper lyrics out in Farsi. I printed around 20 copies so I could send it to you guys. 

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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

COMMUNITY SUBMISSION: Islam Book, a zine exploring Islamic identity 

Islam book (2013) by Paradise Xerxes Khanmalek

TITLE: Islam Book

RELEASE: April 20, 2013

ORIGIN: Vancouver, Canada

AUTHOR: Paradise Xerxes Khanmalek

ABOUT ISLAM BOOK, BY PARADISE:

Islam Book is zine about voice, appropriation, and an assertion of a complex racial and sexual identity. With Islam Book, I am attempting to complicate the reader’s perception of what exactly an Islamic identity is in order to assert the inclusion of Queerness, weirdness, varying languages, and general humanity.

I am also trying to reclaim middle eastern pattern and calligraphic aesthetic from the visual appropriation I observe in mainstream visual media. I have included a lot of poetry written with farsi letters that spell out english words that attempt to investigate my own Islamic queer identity and call to action other queer POC to engage in a critical dialogue about the body and internalized racism.

WHERE TO BUY: Email lillymalek@yahoo.com or follow hifrog.tumblr.com and submit your interest as a question. Paradise will take it from there!

POCZP will be offering a few copies of Islam Book at this year’s DC Zinefest.

ISLAM BOOK IS NOW IN THE POCZP ARCHIVE!

Paradise is one of many POC who have donated copies of their zines to the POC Zine Project archive. Donations are critical to our work, as we are a 100% volunteer organization and rely on direct donations to function outside the nonprofit industrial complex. We purchase zines directly from POC whenever we can, but donations are especially appreciated.

Click here for info on how to donate your zine to POCZP.

Here is Paradise’s donation statement for 14 copies of Islam Book:

My name is Paradise Xerxes Khanmalek. I’m submitting my zines to the POC Zine Project because making zines is one of the only mediums I have felt comfortable enough to challenge extremely pressing and personal racial issues. I have felt a dire need to engage with other POC about issues I find important, and the most successful way I have found is creating and distributing my own zines.
Hopefully by submitting Islam book and my other zines to the POC Zine Project, I can create a larger dialogue, engage in more discussion, and reach the eyes of more POC.
 
The POC zine project was really exciting to learn about because I feel a constant lack of support for POC in my community and my body and the POC Zine Project seems to be a real, active, force that challenges white power, and connects and strengthens people of color. 
 
I created the zine Islam Book as a blatant assertion of my own queer Muslim identity in order to complicate the perception of what it means to be muslim, Jewish, middle eastern, or queer. I also intend the book to reclaim middle eastern pattern aesthetic from the appropriation I feel present in media coming from white voices and associate the aesthetic with my own queer muslim voice.
 
I do these things by creating digital patterns from photos I took, writing poetry that mix the english and farsi language, and layering symbols to subvert stereotypical associations. Some of the poetry and patterns focus on the body; perceived middle eastern facial character traits, internalized racism, self-hate, and language I feel manifests from these phenomenon. I also focus on the body from a gender queer perspective.
 
I speak about queerness in farsi and call out for a general embrace of ugliness with regards to hetero normative white beauty standards prevalent in myself, my Iranian identity, my family, and the Iranian community surrounding me. I by no means aim to shame Iranian people who decide not to “embrace being ugly”, as I have put it, but rather express my own experience becoming critical with internalized racism and create a dialogue with people who might benefit from this discussion.
 
Many of the images in the digital patterns are of locations in Los Angeles, where I was born and raised. I find it important to remind the viewer that this discussion is happening within a context, I am experiencing these things within the immense colonial ideological presence of the united states.
 
I have a lot to say about this book, about Los Angeles, the united states, the appropriation of certain middle eastern visual arts aesthetic, and internalized racism with regards to the body and being queer.

POCZP always loves to hear how folks find out about us. Here’s Paradise’s story:

I’m really exited about what the POC Zine project does. I went to New Orleans [in early 2013] and bought a copy of Shotgun Seamstress from Maple St. Book store. I later googled the zine and it led me to the POC Zine Project.

I’ve made three different series of zines and Islam Book is my most racial and my favorite. I like the page where I wrote red hot chilli pepper lyrics out in Farsi. I printed around 20 copies so I could send it to you guys. 

——————-

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: BROS FALL BACK (2013)
RELEASE: May 2013
ORIGIN: Philly, PA
AUTHOR: &#8220;The Secret Society of Femmes&#8221;
HOW TO BUY/ACCESS: Contact antieverythingshows@gmail.com directly for instructions on how to get a copy of the print version.
READ BROS FALL BACK NOW!
This is the print view version (only one available online) so it&#8217;s best viewed in full-screen mode.

POC ZINE PROJECT REVIEWS BROS FALL BACK
By Suzy X, POCZP touring member
Hi zinesters! Last month I had the pleasure of reading at Ladyfest Philly, where I read/performed from my middle school diaries. I was in great company, and many laughs (and tears) were shared.
But being the only author of color at the reading left me a little confused; there are actually plenty of POC doing radical, D.I.Y work in Philadelphia alone, and not enough of them were at this event! Hopefully next year&#8217;s zine reading can be a better reflection of that.So on that note, a new zine that I&#8217;m absolutely enamored with is BROS FALL BACK, a zine recently written by some QPOC based in Philly known as &#8220;The Secret Society of Femmes.&#8221;
Rather than resorting to the classic declaration of &#8220;girls to the front!&#8221; BROS FALL BACK takes a more intersectional approach to combating hetero-patriarchy in D.I.Y. and punk spaces. This shift in focus allows more room for those who are not &#8220;girls&#8221; nor &#8220;bros,&#8221; but are still fair game under white male supremacy.
The zine also delves into the racist and capitalist dynamics within punk culture, illustrating the slippery slope that starts with a new DIY space and ends with gentrification.
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[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Suzy X holds her copy of BROS FALL BACK. Photo credit: Suzy X]
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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: BROS FALL BACK (2013)

RELEASE: May 2013

ORIGIN: Philly, PA

AUTHOR: “The Secret Society of Femmes”

HOW TO BUY/ACCESS: Contact antieverythingshows@gmail.com directly for instructions on how to get a copy of the print version.

READ BROS FALL BACK NOW!

This is the print view version (only one available online) so it’s best viewed in full-screen mode.

POC ZINE PROJECT REVIEWS BROS FALL BACK

By Suzy X, POCZP touring member

Hi zinesters! Last month I had the pleasure of reading at Ladyfest Philly, where I read/performed from my middle school diaries. I was in great company, and many laughs (and tears) were shared.

But being the only author of color at the reading left me a little confused; there are actually plenty of POC doing radical, D.I.Y work in Philadelphia alone, and not enough of them were at this event! Hopefully next year’s zine reading can be a better reflection of that.

So on that note, a new zine that I’m absolutely enamored with is BROS FALL BACK, a zine recently written by some QPOC based in Philly known as “The Secret Society of Femmes.”

Rather than resorting to the classic declaration of “girls to the front!” BROS FALL BACK takes a more intersectional approach to combating hetero-patriarchy in D.I.Y. and punk spaces. This shift in focus allows more room for those who are not “girls” nor “bros,” but are still fair game under white male supremacy.

The zine also delves into the racist and capitalist dynamics within punk culture, illustrating the slippery slope that starts with a new DIY space and ends with gentrification.

——————-

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Suzy X holds her copy of BROS FALL BACK. Photo credit: Suzy X]

——————-

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: Gaysi Zine Volume 2 Is Coming Soon! [READ VOL 1]

Earlier this month the folks at Gaysi announced the winning submissions for Gaysi Zine Volume 2, coming this August.

Gaysi was formed in 2008 to “provide a voice and a safe space to desis who identify as LGBT.”

[DESCRIPTION: Gaysi’s first promotional video featuring Desi Queer Media Bytes. Released on July 2, 2013]

With Gaysi Zine, first released in 2011, Gaysi hope to “reach more gaysis and show them that it really does get better and that one day you’ll be laughing at how silly you were to think that you were alone!”

READ GAYSI ZINE VOLUME 1 

ABOUT GAYSI

Gaysi - the Gay Desi (founded in 2008)
A safe online space for the Queer Desi.

A space where the Desi-Gay community comes together and shares personal stories, their triumphs and failures, their struggles and their dreams, their hopes and despair. And in doing so, gives other gaysis a sliver of hope too.

CONTACT GAYSI

http://gaysifamily.com

gaysifamily@gmail.com

http://twitter.com/gaysifamily

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gaysifamily/

http://instagram.com/gaysifamily

Here is the original call for submissions for Gaysi Zine Volume 2:

There are people who keep journals, and pen down episodes of their lives. Episodes that make them laugh uncontrollably, fill the nights with tragedy, those of ‘I wish / Only if’ ones, troubles, raunchiness, love , betrayal,… We can learn something from it if we want. It can change our perspective if we allow. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you!

Some say it’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. We at Gaysi feel “It’s history. It’s poetry”.

The Gaysi Zine is inviting you to participate in this movement of “CREATING” Queer History. Of reshaping the landscape of queer literature. And you know what ? This is the only immortality we can share…

Do you want to participate?
Want to see your name in print next to your creation?
Want to be part of a publication that fuels the VOICE of the queer community?
Or just want to share a sentiment with the world?

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE!

We are inviting all kinds of mediums of expression. Short stories, poetry, comics, memoirs, prose, art, illustration.
LAST DATE 15-June.
email : gaysifamily@gmail.com

The content of this Zine is also a delicious fodder for the moving image artists. We are looking at responding to the written word, & to take the ideas and characters into the realm of moving image & animation. Get in touch to produce the never-heard-of stories in your own unique style!

POC Zine Project is having copies of Volume 1 reproduced for the archive. <3

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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: ‘The First 7-inch Was Better: How I Became an Ex-Punk’ by Nia King (2008)

TITLE: The First 7-inch Was Better: How I Became an Ex-Punk (2008)

AUTHOR: Nia King

RELEASE: 2008

PAGES: 20

ORIGIN: Denver, CO

DESCRIPTION BY STRANGERDANGERZINES.COM:

Nia (Angry Black-White Girl and Borderlands) comes forward to declare her status as an ex-punk. She criticizes anarcho-punk and many activist scenes for its ignorance and the lack of inclusion of folks of color, women and queers. Nia refuses to leave a part of herself at the door in order to adjust to the whiteness and maleness of a musical scene that she once truly enjoyed. The zine also includes a pull-out portion in which you can take along to your next show in order to challenge yourself, your friends and other bystanders.

SOURCE: QZAP.ORG

Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP) is responsible for scanning and making Nia’s zine file available online. POCZP helped to “liberate” this publication as an embeddable file for International Zine Month #IZM2013.

READ NOW (OR DOWNLOAD FOR FREE):

THE MAKING OF ‘THE FIRST 7-INCH WAS BETTER’

Excerpt from POZCP touring member Osa Atoe’s interview with Nia in 2009 for Maximumrocknroll:

Osa: Come on! You’re at a punk house right now hanging out with a girl that we both just randomly happen to know through punk… Just admit it you’re still kinda punk!
Nia: [laughs] BUSTED! Well, I don’t feel punk. I feel really alienated in punk spaces. Lo Mas Alla, where Luisa and some of my other friends live, feels kind of different. Most of the people who live there may still have love for punk culture, but they also view punk with a critical lens. At some point, most of them have told me they are growing out of punk. I could try and defend it further but it feels silly. I am staying with punks at a punk house. Fact. Am I a punk? No.
Osa: Yeah, well the point I’m trying to make is half-silly and half-serious. I do feel strongly about the fact that people of color end up relinquishing so much to white people just because white people take up all that space. I mean, how many times have you talked to another black girl who’s like, “I’m not a feminist because I feel like feminism is for white women”? And I’m thinking that feminism is an important tool, just like punk is for me, and I’m definitely not going to let white people define what it means to be punk or feminist. I’m going to use those words, those tools, in ways that benefit me.
Nia: I feel that, but defending punk and feminism can be a lot of work, and a lot of the criticism I’ve heard of both is valid. I guess trying to hold space for POCs in punk is exhausting, not because they’re not already there taking up (some) space, but because being the only POC in a room is fucking exhausting in my experience. I wanted to retreat to spaces where I didn’t feel like I had to fight for visibility or have to call people on their shit all the time, and for me punk was not that. Not that I was the lone voice of reason or the lone POC, but often enough, it felt like it. I have nothing but respect for women of color who hold it down in punk rock and call shit out, and make records and write zines, but it’s not for me anymore. Orat least I’m a lot pickier about the ways I engage with it and the situations I put myself in. You feel me?
Osa: Yeah I do. I think that’s why it’s so important to have this conversation because I can see how we’re coming at it from such different perspectives even though both are valid. I totally relate to feeling drained to the bone by being in predominantly white “progressive” spaces. And it wasn’t just punk. Going to college for women’s studies with all those well-meeting white liberal feminists almost gave me an aneurysm. At the same time, for me, it’s not about defending punk or feminism. I just am those things in my daily life. I feel like I did give up fighting for visibility and correcting ignorance and oppressive dynamics in punk scenes. But that just meant that I spent more time hanging out with the brown kids and cultivating those relationships.

Read Osa’s full interview with Nia here.

ABOUT NIA KING

Nia King is a queer art activist of color from Boston, Massachusetts. She currently resides in Oakland, California where she runs the podcast We Want the Airwaves: QPOC Artists on the Rise.

Nia King

artactivistnia.com

@artactivistnia

—————————————

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

#IZM2013 ZINE MUST-READ: FIRE!! Devoted To Younger Negro Artists (1926)

Today’s International Zine Month suggested activity is to reread your favorite zines and remind yourself why you love them so much. Here’s a favorite from our archive: 

In the spirit of #IZM2013, we are excited to announce that the first zine in POC Zine Project’s Legacy Series, FIRE!! Devoted To Younger Negro Artists (1926), is now available to read online, for free:

POCZP helped to liberate this groundbreaking zine by people of color from 1926 in collaboration with firepress.com

ABOUT FIRE!! Devoted To Younger Negro Artists

In November of 1926, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Wallace Thurman, Aaron Douglas, Richard Bruce Nugent, Gwendolyn Bennett and John P. Davis released FIRE!!.

Excerpt from description on harlemsreflection.tumblr.com:

Fire!! was conceived with the notion of expressing the Black experience during the Harlem Renaissance in a modern and realistic fashion, using literature as a vehicle of enlightenment. The authors of this magazine wanted an arena to express the changing attitudes of younger African Americans and used Fire!! to facilitate the exploration of issues in the Black community that were not in the forefront of mainstream African American society such as homosexuality, bisexuality, interracial relationships, promiscuity, prostitution, and color prejudice within the Black community itself.

The publication was so named, according to Langston Hughes, “to burn up a lot of the old, dead conventional Negro-white ideas of the past … into a realization of the existence of the younger Negro writers and artists, and provide us with an outlet for publication not available in the limited pages of the small Negro magazines then existing.” Ironically, the magazine’s headquarters burned to the ground shortly after releasing its first issue.

We’re kicking off our Legacy Series initiative next week by celebrating and analyzing FIRE!! in a series of multimedia posts (read our original Legacy Series announcement).

Stay tuned for more coverage, but in the meantime, enjoy and share this digital version of FIRE!!

- POC Zine Project

——————-

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: Skinned Heart Quatro, reviewed by Nia King

EDIT: Skinned Heart Quatro by Nyky Gomez (2012)

TITLE: Skinned Heart Quatro

AUTHOR NAME: Nyky Gomez

RELEASE DATE: 2012

PAGES: 32

ORIGIN: Seattle, WA, USA

DESCRIPTION ON DORISDORISDORIS.COM

About recovering from an emotionally and physically abusive relationship - some of the details of it. I am always so proud when  people have the ability to write about what exactly was the abuse,  because emotional abuse is so commonly not recognized when we’re in it, and it can really help to see other people’s experiences - to be able to say “yes! That is what it was like for me too!”

And it is also so good to read about her becoming herself again - learning to have confidence, taking care of herself, her current healthy relationship, still caring  about the world and people.

Also about Assimilation and Resistance, living away from her family  and longing for her cultural roots (living in Seattle instead of the South West), family history and that feeling of living in dual  realities, and assimilation being hard to stop. 

WHERE TO BUY: http://www.dorisdorisdoris.com/zines3.html

$3.65 u.s., $4.25 canada and mexico, $5.25 international

POCZP REVIEWS SKINNED HEART QUATRO

By Nia King

EDIT: Nia King holds Skinned Heart Quatro by Nyky Gomez (2012)

[DESCRIPTION: Nia King holds up her copy of Skinned Heart Quatro by Nyky Gomez. Photo edit by POCZP]

Nyky breaks the silence about a lot things in Skinned Heart Quatro: seasonal depression, emotional and sexual abuse, chronic medical problems, and estrangement from her culture of origin.

The zine starts with a short essay called Northwest State of Mind, which talks about moving from the Southwest to the Northwest: the differing physical environment, cultural norms, and lack of sunshine. Nyky goes on to detail the journey of being in an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship: realizing it was abusive, gradually prying herself free, and slowly healing. (I appreciated the trigger warning for this section.)

The next story, Mi Cuerpo es Mio, describes her struggle with an ongoing medical crisis: having chronic bladder infections for unexplained reasons, eventually being diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, and being forced to adopt a healthier lifestyle (all without insurance).

The last essay, Chasing the Dream, is a reflection on the intergenerational impact of assimilation: being fourth generation Mexican-American, feeling estranged from Brown culture, and being “shown up” by white girls who speak better Spanish.

Excerpt from Skinned Heart Quatro by Nyky Gomez (2012)

[DESCRIPTION: A page from Skinned Heart Quatro by Nyky Gomez]

Nyky’s writing is poignant, insightful, and sharp. I love the way that she melds being earnest and vulnerable and being punk rock/cursing like a sailor so seamlessly. For example, reflecting on her time in Seattle, she says, “I’ve met some fucking awesome people and I’ve met some weird people and I’ve met some real shitheads, and I’m constantly learning how to communicate with different people different ways that are still me.” She makes it look easy to put words to the feelings so many of us identify with but struggle to articulate. For example, reflecting on her abusive relationship, she notes, “Love can cloud your perception and confuse your emotional alarms sometimes.”

Much of her reflection and analysis will resonate with anyone who has been in a shitty relationship or been involved with punk/anarchist communities. One of this zine’s greatest strengths is drawing attention to the way punk and radical feminism make women feel like they have to be tough and strong, even at the expense of their own emotional well-being. This is an important work by a great writer and well worth the three dollars.

- All photos provided by Nia King

ABOUT NIA KING

Nia King is a mixed-race artist, activist, writer, and filmmaker from Boston, MA who is proud to call Oakland home.

Nia is a contributor to ColorlinesInterrupt Mag, and Youngist. Her writing about race, gender, and sexuality has also been published in Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory and the book Zines in Third Space: Radical Cooperation and Borderlands Rhetoric. She has presented her undergraduate thesis, “Mangos with Chili: Life-Sustaining Performance Art for and by Queer and Transgender People of Color,” at Stanford University, UC Riverside, and the University of Arizona.

Her filmThe Craigslist Chronicles, has screened at the National Queer Arts Festival, Queer Women of Color Film Festival, York University, University of Toronto, and NYU. Her comics have been published by ColorlinesQWOC Media Wire, and Interrupt Mag. Her most recent project is a podcast where she interviews emerging queer and transgender artists of color. She currently works as a freelance journalist, videographer, and comedy writer. She is also available for speaking engagements and film screenings.

You can contact Nia directly at niaking AT zoho DOT com.

Learn more about Nia’s zine-making history here.

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COMMUNITY: Do you want to review zines for POCZP? Learn more about POCZP internship & volunteer opportunities here. We are still accepting applications. 

If you specifically want to help review zines, email poczineproject@gmail.com with “zine reviews” in the subject line. We reserve the right to prioritize applications from people of color.

If you are interested in POCZP leading a workshop or other event in collaboration with your organization - worldwide - email 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

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.

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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.

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