POC ZINE PROJECT

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Meet Nyky Gomez: POCZP’s 2014 L.A. Zine Fest Tabler and Panelist (4 of 5)

POC Zine Project is tabling and hosting a panel discussion at the 2014 L.A. Zine Fest! Meet one of our five collaborators and zine distro partner, Nyky Gomez, founder of Brown Recluse Zine Distro:

Nyky Gomez, POCZP zine distro partner & #raceriottour member[Description: Nyky Gomez, founder of Brown Recluse Zine Distro and 2013 #RaceRiotTour member. Photo credit: Nyky Gomez]

Nyky Gomez is a fourth generation Mexican-american of Apache and Comanche descent. Nyky writes Skinned Heart Zine, connecting her personal experiences in life to political and social themes in hopes of creating conversation that will lead to big and small change.

Zines have been a vital component of my life for the past 13 years of my life. On more than one occasion reading a zine that was relevant to my experience as a Queer Woman of Color saved me from the depths of despair. The POCZP is such an important component in archiving our very meaningful histories and making them accessible to those of us who need them the most.

I wanted to table with POCZP to continue meeting awesome and inspirational POC zinesters and writers. Traveling with POCZP in October was an experience that triggered a lot of growth, reflection and change. It re-affirmed my belief in POC punks and D.I.Y. Ethics and inspired me to continue on this path that I have chosen.

I met and got to travel with a group of fierce group of Queer People of Color that feel like family to me. There were a lot of challenges on tour as there always will be when getting together a group of fierce people trying to make the world more tolerable. I wanted to table with POCZP at L.A. Zine Fest because I love engaging with challenge and am looking forward to the many challenges and victories that will inevitably be apart of creating a radical network of POC zine writers. - Nyky Gomez

Her writing focuses on her experiences as a Brown women involved in punk and activist sub-culture, relationships, healing from abuse, family, resistance culture, assimilation and feminism. 

Scemes from #RaceRiotTour: Nyky Gomez, Brown Recluse Zine Distro #Arizona #Tucson #zines #poczines

[DESCRIPTION: Nyky tabling with BRZD at the 2013 #RaceRiotTour date at Skrappy’s Youth Collective in Tucson, AZ]

Nyky also currently operates Brown Recluse Zine Distro, a project dedicated to centering zines written by People of Color started in the spirit of visibility.

NOW on #RaceRiotTour: Anna Vo, Nyky Gomez, @inzombia and @animaldyke69 before we depart for #sanfrancisco #zines #poczines

[DESCRIPTION: Nyky Gomez (flower tights) with other 2013 #RaceRiotTour members (left to right) Anna Vo, Mimi Thi Nguyen and Tracey Brown in Los Angeles, CA]

Nyky spends her days making her dreams and visions into mixed media collages, writing Skinned Heart Zine, gardening, spending time in the woods, learning the fine magical art of reading tarot and weaving spells with her water family.

Dominatrix and social worker for pay, creative spirit, warrior, bruja, punkera and feminista by nature. She is a lizard-hearted desert born Tejana currently living in Seattle, Washington with her husband and spirit dog, Wilson.

Scenes from #RaceRiotTour: Nyky Gomez reading at @somarts in #sanfrancisco (founder of Brown Recluse Zine Distro) #zines #poczines

[DESCRIPTION: Nyky Gomez reading at SOMArts in San Francisco, CA, during the 2013 national #RaceRiottour]

Outside of writing zines and running Brown Recluse Zine Distro, Nyky also helps organize the Seattle Anarchist Book Fair with other rad POC folks.

POC Zine Project is sharing tabling space with Nyky/Brown Recluse Zine Distro during the 2014 L.A. Zine Fest. Here is one of the many titles that will be available at the fest through BRZD:

Xicanistas y Punkeristas Say It Loud!: $3.00 Shipping $0.46

This zine is absolutely amazing and inspiring. It is the first I have ever read that exclusively focuses on Xicanas contributions to punk. Written for a college class with the intention of the zine not being appropriate but instead being an accessible text for all people, this zine is floats way above the academy, giving a voice to an often forgotten experience. Brenda writes about her introduction to punk and the impact that those experiences have had on her life. In these collage heavy pages you will find the history of Xicanas in rock ‘n’ roll music as well as several beautifully written pieces about the Punkera experience.

Brenda Montano currently is my favorite zine writer. I met her in Oakland when we both attended “This is Not a Step Fest.” She gave me her zines and I devoured them on the drive home from Oakland. I felt immediately inspired about being a WOC who navigates punk spaces and the fact that hey we have been apart of this since the beginning. A solid zine and lady! You can order this online through the Brown Recluse website, through snail mail or at LAZF! - Nyky Gomez

Come by to say hi to Nyky and to purchase a wide variety of zines created by people of color. If you’d like to help BRZD meet their fundraising goal, click here to donate.

BACKGROUND

POC Zine Project tabled at the 2013 L.A. Zine Fest and had a lot of fun. Read the recap here.

As part of our advocacy to support as many POC creators as possible, we’ve partnered with both new and past folks on this year’s events. POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano put out a call for new tabling and speaking partners for the 2014 L.A. Zine Fest, which resulted in our latest lineup. 

Nyky Gomez was a touring member during the 2013 #RaceRiotTour. Her distro, Brown Recluse, is POCZP’s official zine distro partner for 2014.

We will announce panel discussion details on February 12, 2014.

MEET ALL OUR COLLABORATORS

Cihuatl Ce (Founder, Ovarian Psyco-Cycles Bicycle Brigade in Los Angeles, CA)

Ara Christina Jo (Rock Paper Scissors Collective in Oakland, CA)

Dail Chambers (Founder, Yeyo Arts collective in St. Louis, MO)

Nyky Gomez (Founder, Brown Recluse Zine Distro in Seattle, WA)

Tracey Brown (Community Organizer in New Orleans)

ABOUT 2014 L.A. ZINE FEST

L.A. Zine Fest is organized by a collective of zine-enthusiasts dedicated to promoting zine culture as a means to connect the pre-exisiting communities in L.A.–artistic or otherwise. They aim to create opportunities for people to share self-published works and host events that encourage ideas to spill out onto paper in pictures and words. They believe that by embracing the urge to create and sharing ideas there can be a more robust and formidable local zine community that extends beyond bookstores and bedrooms. L.A. Zine Fest is an opportunity for Southern California’s zinesters to come together en masse in order to meet and exchange ideas with those from all over the country.

Join us this year on February 16, 2014, when LAZF welcomes 175+ exhibitors of zines and small press publications to Helms Bakery as zinesters, comics creators and DIY publishers to come together to share their work with each other and with the public at large.

Helms Bakery District Parking Garage
(between La Dijonaise and Vitra)
8703 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

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

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

Meet Cihuatl Ce: POCZP’s 2014 L.A. Zine Fest Tabler and Panelist (2 of 5)

POC Zine Project is tabling and hosting a panel discussion at the 2014 L.A. Zine Fest! Meet one of our five collaborators, Cihuatl Ce, founder of the Ovarian Psyco-Cycles Bicycle Brigade:

Cihuatl Ce (Founder, Ovarian Psyco-Cycles Bicycle Brigade in Los Angeles, CA)

[Photo credit: Steet Lenz Photography]

Cihuatl Ce (pronounced Seewhat Seh) has been spitting truth to power in the form of politically charged feminist inspired, urban indigenous hip-hop for the past decade.

Sharing the stage with underground hip hop heavies such as Dead Prez, Bambu, Broadcast Live, Olmeca, Invincible -to name a few- her high energy performances have won her dedicated support base across the globe. She currently tours in support of her latest album, FEMI9mm: The Fury of a Wombyn, released in early 2012.

POCZP NOTE: Cihuatl Ce will be doing a special live performance during our panel discussion at the 2014 L.A. Zine Fest! Stay tuned for more details.

Cihuatl’s reach is not confined solely to the lyrical realm of resistance. For the past 15 years she has been a fervent youth advocate and community organizer.

image

[Visit Cihuatl Ce at cihuatlce.comtwitter.com/CihuatlCe]

In 2010 she founded the first all womyn of color cycling collective Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade and was the driving force behind landmark events such as LA’s first ever Clitoral Mass -attended by close to 300 womyn - as well as other initial rides addressing  the health disparities specific to womyn of color and at risk communities.

As a mother driven to reach young women with a message of hope, rebellion, and defiance against relics of tradition and patriarchy, Cihuatl Ce is committed to bringing consciousness beyond just the music, unapologetically creating change and leaving fans and casualties in her wake.

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BACKGROUND

POC Zine Project tabled at the 2013 L.A. Zine Fest and had a lot of fun. Read the recap here.

As part of our advocacy to support as many POC creators as possible, we’ve partnered with both new and past folks on this year’s events. POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano put out a call for new tabling and speaking partners for the 2014 L.A. Zine Fest, which resulted in our latest lineup. 

Cihuatl Ce hosted some 2013 #RaceRiotTour members during our California dates, which led to this latest collaboration.

MEET ALL OUR COLLABORATORS

Cihuatl Ce (Founder, Ovarian Psyco-Cycles Bicycle Brigade in Los Angeles, CA)

Ara Christina Jo (Rock Paper Scissors Collective in Oakland, CA)

Dail Chambers (Founder, Yeyo Arts collective in St. Louis, MO)

Nyky Gomez (Founder, Brown Recluse Zine Distro in Seattle, WA)

Tracey Brown (Community Organizer in New Orleans)

ABOUT 2014 L.A. ZINE FEST

L.A. Zine Fest is organized by a collective of zine-enthusiasts dedicated to promoting zine culture as a means to connect the pre-exisiting communities in L.A.–artistic or otherwise. They aim to create opportunities for people to share self-published works and host events that encourage ideas to spill out onto paper in pictures and words. They believe that by embracing the urge to create and sharing ideas there can be a more robust and formidable local zine community that extends beyond bookstores and bedrooms. L.A. Zine Fest is an opportunity for Southern California’s zinesters to come together en masse in order to meet and exchange ideas with those from all over the country.

Join us this year on February 16, 2014, when LAZF welcomes 175+ exhibitors of zines and small press publications to Helms Bakery as zinesters, comics creators and DIY publishers to come together to share their work with each other and with the public at large.

Helms Bakery District Parking Garage
(between La Dijonaise and Vitra)
8703 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

______________

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

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

ZINESTER SPOTLIGHT: Celina Williams, Zinester & Librarian in Virginia

Some of Celina Williams' zines: POC zinester and librarian in Richmond, VA

[DESCRIPTION: Some of Celina Williams’ own zines. Photo credit: Celina]

By Cata, POCZP East Coast Intern/Coordinator

Celina Williams is a zinester, a librarian of special collections and a Richmond Zine Fest organizer for 5+ years. You can visit Celina and a zine collection within the James Branch Cabell Library in Richmond, VA.

Check out Richmond Zine Fest, happening this year on October 5th! Find out more at richmondzinefest.org. Richmond Zine Fest has been going strong in Richmond, VA, since 2007.

From Celina:

Richmond Zine Fest registration for workshops and tablers is open… if you know of any folks who’d be available/interested to participate Saturday Oct. 5th, I’d be happy to answer any questions.

POCZP’S Q&A WITH CELINA

POCZP: How long have you been making zines?

CELINA: Consciously, for the past 6+ years. When I was a kid I would play around with the stapler and make little books—those are zines right!?

POCZP: Nice! What kind of zines do you make currently?

CELINA: I make poetry and photo zines. My latest issue is Mean Girls and it’s about being told I look mean because I don’t smile. So it got me thinking about the mean/nice binary. Also, being a black and Hispanic woman, I am used to people commenting about my demeanor and look, they often say “what are you?”

POCZP: Any ideas for future zines?

CELINA: Actually, yes!! A friend and I were walking and noticing how trees often have these beautiful designs that often look look like vaginas, so a collaboration zine soon to be made will be called In the Tree’s Vagina.

POCZP: Awesome. Man, I can think of a lot of trees that would be perfect for your zine haha! Switching gears a bit, why do you think making zines is important?

CELINA: Well, I am a librarian and I view zines as creating a kind of archive for yourself. I see zines like that. But it’s an archive that you share. For example my mom bought me a diary when I was younger; but it felt weird to write and not share.

POCZP: Wow!! I love that because it makes me think of one of my favorite quotes “an untold story is the greatest burden” by Alice Walker.

CELINA: Right! And self-publication in zines is cool because in academia there is this rigid way you have to be—and that just doesn’t exist in zines.

POCZP: Any other things your working on?

CELINA: Yes! I am reorganizing the zine collection at our library (yes we have a zine collection!) and after this interview I will be finding out a way to tag and measure POC representation in our collection.

POCZP: That’s awesome! Let POC Zine Project know if you need any support! Any last exciting things happening in your community?

CELINA: Thank-you! and yes…Shout out to Richmond Zine Fest Co-organizers!! Which I’ve been a part of for the past 5+ years. Also, it was just international zine month so don’t forget to check out new zines!!

POCZP: Thank you!

</end>

CONTACT CELINA

celinanicoledoes.tumblr.com

Twitter.com/celinanicole

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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

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.

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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

This Zine Was Made Entirely On A Mobile Phone

From POCZP founder Daniela:

What if—while processing an idea or enjoying an event—you could fairly quickly & easily make a zine about what you were experiencing on your phone and then share it that same day?

This zine experiment was inspired by real-time news gathering practices and young people. It didn’t work out exactly as I had planned, but it was exciting to explore different possibilities. In part one of this series, I’ll share one of three methods I uncovered: Here is the experimental perzine I made using my mobile device called “Cat Genie Vol. 2: Chola Fruitz“:

[DESCRIPTION: Chola Fruitz is an experimental perzine and a dream-like reflection on group travel, subverting Chola identity tropes, Queer Chicana identity and the evolution of self. Daniela made it in an hour while sitting on her couch, using images she edited within her phone using two mobile apps]

Learn how to make your own zine using just your phone on Daniela’s Lair, plus access her thoughts on the pros and cons to mobile device zine-making workflows. 

Excerpt from the full guide:

3) The Lazy Artist Factor: Part of the fun and empowerment of making a zine by hand (and offline) is that you can explore your creativity and develop your design skills. Experimenting with layouts, collages and other techniques as part of a print zine workflow can be a really satisfying experience. You miss out on that experience by just using the provided templates in apps, to a significant degree. If everyone used the same zine-making templates, all zines would start to look the same, which would be a bummer.

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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.

_____________________

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

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

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

_____________________

SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT

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

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

"I’m also really eager to see what People of Color (POC) Zine Project is bringing. They’re based out of the Bronx and do really important work in bringing non-whites to the forefront of zine communities. This is something that AZF Is highly lacking, and I really appreciate their presence this year."—Amanda Mills, co-founder and organizer of Atlanta Zine Fest

Source: clatl.com

Atlanta Zine Fest 2013

POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano will be tabling on behalf of POC Zine Project at the inaugural Atlanta Zine Fest on June 8 and 9. The table will feature a selection of POCZP zine partner titles, as well as some zines, art and jewelry by local ATL zinesters of color. <3

Be sure to stop by the POCZP table to purchase a fresh copy of Mixed Up! A zine about Mixed-Race Queer & Feminist Experience (you can read and download here for free as well), selections from Free Poet’s Press and be sure to get your issue of masConsumption before we run out of copies!

We’ll also have limited edition POCZP buttons for sale/trade! <3

Judith (see her latest call for submissions to Tom Girl zine here), a local POC zinester, will be tabling with POCZP in Atlanta.

Judith Jones is a writer, blogger, zinester and feminist. She contributes to the online magazine Inconnu and she blogs at Simple But Chic. She can be contacted at pigsthatfly.tumblr.com or simplebutchic247@gmail.com.

From Judith:
I will be bringing issue one and two of Tom Girl and artist trading cards. Also, I’ll bringing a few pieces of my dad’s jewelry to sell. It’s handmade. I’m  also bringing various button rings and earrings that I made by myself. 

POCZP will also be joined by Chantelle Kodua, an environmental enthusiast who enjoys working on various DIY projects in her spare time. When she isn’t out saving the world, by digging recyclables out of trash cans, she can be found spending copious hours on tumblr. She can be contacted at chantellephone.tumblr.com.

Daniela is attending Atlanta Zine Fest on behalf of POCZP to connect with the zine community and local zinesters/writers/publishers/artists of color in preparation for the POCZP tour date in Atlanta in October.

POCZP is sharing tabling space with local zinesters of color, as part of our advocacy to make zines by people of color easy to find, distribute and share.

If you are interested in collaborating with POCZP in Atlanta, contact poczineproject@gmail.com. We are especially interested in hearing from artists/zinesters/activists of color and white folks interested supporting POCZP’s efforts.

_____________________

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

There were heretics, but thousands of us were thrown on the fire. Most of all our memories were burned. The voice was replaced with paper, and a greater silence came to reign. Any stories that were not in their one Book were banished. Memories of magic, of healing, of speaking with the forest, of our origins, memories of the time when we shared everything and nothing was owned, were suppressed.

This is how they destroyed our roots. And this is why, on May Day, we tell stories. Stories of our lives, of our struggles, of the future we want, of a past we invent because we no longer remember it.

The Witch’s Child

i honestly wish that anarchists put more effort into writing weird stuff like myths.  theory gets really boring as the only way that people wanna communicate ideas and i think that storytelling is a really important form of communication which is still present in some ways in what we do but not enough. (via hystericalqueen)

—-

Great comment via POCZP touring member Suzy X <3

POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano would like to add that storytelling - as a conduit for affirming and deconstructing our realities as POC - is a critical component of our past and upcoming Race Riot! tour.

Meet POCZP&#8217;s West Coast Coordinator Liz Mayorga!
Part of POC Zine Project’s advocacy is empowering new and seasoned zinesters of color in the U.S. (and soon worldwide) to share their stories while supporting other POC. Liz is the second official regional coordinator for POCZP (meet Joyce, our Midwest Coordinator, here). We are excited to share developments as this part of our experiment in activism and community through materiality unfolds. 
LIZ, IN HER OWN WORDS
Liz was born in Los Angeles, California, but moved back and forth between Mexico and LA throughout her childhood. She is the youngest of three and the only female in a traditional, Catholic, Mexican-American family. 
Though her brothers taught her how to throw a good punch, she was often confused by the strict gender roles in rural Mexican society, which told her to be passive and meek. Luckily, Los Angeles was a place where contradiction could exist, a place where you could an aggressive girl, and a Mexican Punk. LA and the influence of popular culture gave Liz an identity she could be proud of.
She moved to the Bay Area for school, but ended up falling in love with SF Zine Fest, and community of artists. They pushed her to pursue her passion for Art and Literature. 
Liz now writes fiction and non-fiction, makes comics (check out Inked), and is a working illustrator. Her inspiration comes from her crazy family and Chican@ Pop Culture. She is the Co-Director of San Francisco Zine Fest (SFZF) and is now happy to be a part of the POC Zine Project.
See Liz in action at a recent POCZP Youth Zine workshop in San Francisco, where she led activities with assistance from POCZP intern Itoro Udofia.
Liz hopes to expand and connect the DIY West Coast community and serve as a resource. She wants DIY projects (and zines) by people of color to be especially accessible to youth, because she needed community this open and empowering as a teenager. 
It is also a goal of hers to promote multi-media as a part of zine/DIY culture and expand the limits of what a zine could be, because artists, especially artists with a story to tell, need to be more visible.
Learn more about Liz here: lizmayorga.com
COMMUNITY: Join us in welcoming Liz. We are excited to support zine culture and POC storytelling on the West Coast! We will have several events in this region during the 2013 Race Riot! tour. Stay tuned for details …
DO YOU WANT TO BE A COORDINATOR LIKE LIZ?
If you want to support POCZP with Liz, other coordinators, interns and our touring members, let us know! 
We are also looking for representatives in every state, as well as regional  support, as we build toward the National POC Zinester &amp; Ally Conference/Convergence. Ideally you have some experience with organizing events and building community, but experience is not required. All are welcome. Priority will be given to people of color who apply but allies are definitely welcome.
Contact poczineproject@gmail.com for more details with “regional coordinator” as the subject line.
If you are outside the U.S. and want to be a part of our emerging POCZP Global Ambassadors program, email poczineproject@gmail.com as well to stay informed as opportunities arise.
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

Meet POCZP’s West Coast Coordinator Liz Mayorga!

Part of POC Zine Project’s advocacy is empowering new and seasoned zinesters of color in the U.S. (and soon worldwide) to share their stories while supporting other POC. Liz is the second official regional coordinator for POCZP (meet Joyce, our Midwest Coordinator, here). We are excited to share developments as this part of our experiment in activism and community through materiality unfolds. 

LIZ, IN HER OWN WORDS

Liz was born in Los Angeles, California, but moved back and forth between Mexico and LA throughout her childhood. She is the youngest of three and the only female in a traditional, Catholic, Mexican-American family.

Though her brothers taught her how to throw a good punch, she was often confused by the strict gender roles in rural Mexican society, which told her to be passive and meek. Luckily, Los Angeles was a place where contradiction could exist, a place where you could an aggressive girl, and a Mexican Punk. LA and the influence of popular culture gave Liz an identity she could be proud of.

She moved to the Bay Area for school, but ended up falling in love with SF Zine Fest, and community of artists. They pushed her to pursue her passion for Art and Literature.

Liz now writes fiction and non-fiction, makes comics (check out Inked), and is a working illustrator. Her inspiration comes from her crazy family and Chican@ Pop Culture. She is the Co-Director of San Francisco Zine Fest (SFZF) and is now happy to be a part of the POC Zine Project.

See Liz in action at a recent POCZP Youth Zine workshop in San Francisco, where she led activities with assistance from POCZP intern Itoro Udofia.

Liz hopes to expand and connect the DIY West Coast community and serve as a resource. She wants DIY projects (and zines) by people of color to be especially accessible to youth, because she needed community this open and empowering as a teenager.

It is also a goal of hers to promote multi-media as a part of zine/DIY culture and expand the limits of what a zine could be, because artists, especially artists with a story to tell, need to be more visible.

Learn more about Liz here: lizmayorga.com

COMMUNITY: Join us in welcoming Liz. We are excited to support zine culture and POC storytelling on the West Coast! We will have several events in this region during the 2013 Race Riot! tour. Stay tuned for details …

DO YOU WANT TO BE A COORDINATOR LIKE LIZ?

If you want to support POCZP with Liz, other coordinators, interns and our touring members, let us know!

We are also looking for representatives in every state, as well as regional  support, as we build toward the National POC Zinester & Ally Conference/Convergence. Ideally you have some experience with organizing events and building community, but experience is not required. All are welcome. Priority will be given to people of color who apply but allies are definitely welcome.

Contact poczineproject@gmail.com for more details with “regional coordinator” as the subject line.

If you are outside the U.S. and want to be a part of our emerging POCZP Global Ambassadors program, email poczineproject@gmail.com as well to stay informed as opportunities arise.

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: ‘Colita de Rana: Love, Identity & Panochas’ and ‘Watermelon: and other things that make me uncomfortable as a black person’

By Cata, POCZP Intern

"Colita de Rana…Love, Identity & Panochas"  by Tracy García and company (2012)

"Colita de Rana" (2012) by Tracy García and company

This zine opens with a labeled cartoon vagina. Ok, wait. Back story: Colita de Rana = frog tail—it’s from a saying that signifies healing. And: Panochas = Pussy.

The ideas in this zine were loved into pages by anger, angst and ambition. I know this because I saw it’s spirit awake when one of my friends (a co-author) attended a QPOC, Queer People of Color conference back in the day and we took a Panocha workshop. The most powerful experiences, people, books, zines, movies, artwork plant the seeds of future creation. This is the fruit of one of those seeds. In Colita de Rana there are plenty of female anatomy lessons, self-love reminders and a gesture to genetic trauma.

My favorite page is a poem by a lady from Inglewood (my dad’s old stomping grounds). She talks about the domestication of love… “how did love become so scary? was it the moment it got domesticated?” This a powerful question hidden on the third page of the zine.

Seeing this quote through the zine’s title can lead the question: How can we heal from domesticated love? What is that? Certainly it involves government control and production of a certain kind of love.

Page 8 displays a cut-out of a dinosaur called a “clitosaurus” above the prehistoric animal is a quote about the deportation of lesbian undocumented immigrants in the 1990’s. Shit is real. Colita de Rana lets us know.

Disarming dinosaurs still deliver through history. Our history, herstory unknown rather wished erased and gone but still lingers at the bottom of some hearts. This anatomy textbook for the “exploration of love, identity and panochas” is humble but proud. Check yo’ self, she says.

Page 10: heterosexual questionnaire. It’s your turn, straight folks, to have your coming of age story be commodified, died this hue then this shade and retried again and again —tooth combed for possible in-congruencies or untruths.

I love this zine and I hope they keep on the riot. This zine would be a great new friend to all questioning and angry Xican@s. Bring them on.

READ & DOWNLOAD COLITA DE RANA

"Watermelon…and other things that make me uncomfortable as a black person" by Whit Taylor (2011)

Watermelon...and things that make me uncomfortable as a black person (2011) by Whit Taylor

I found this gem at zine fest in dc this past July. Really, nothing can beat a fantastic new zine in the dead of summer heat when you think who is so noble and great that they are out promoting their zine? And then, there is someone.

Besides the fortuitous timing Whit Taylor is a great mini story shower/teller. In her zine she is showing us why certain things don’t roll so smooth for her. She keeps the tone light even during more serious topics. Taylor is able to do this because of a dry and even tone through out the story. Her drawings rock. They remind me of the drawings from Tina’s Mouth, another awesome lady comic.

Watermelon can easily find a place among folks working to deconstruct the stereotypes that can plague different communities. Humanizing an experience is a big part of breaking down stereotypes. When you don’t know someone personally its easier to paint them as something their not.. literally. Tayor does a great job at this. In fact my favorite quote from her is: “I love Alice in Chains, which according to my uncle makes me a teenage white boy. I grew up on my parents’ 1960’s & 70’s soul music but became a victim of 90’s suburban life. So sue me.”

Her honesty is fresh. And yet it leaves me wondering about somethings… like what about her cousins in the frame about New Orleans? What kind of comic/zine would they write? Would they agree with her? These are questions that often come up for myself as I and many other creators find pieces of their autobiographies show up in their work…would my family/community agree? How do they see it?

And this is what’s great about Watermelon. This is how Taylor experienced growing up where she did, being who she is. Really that’s all we got: our experience and it’s one that others are either going to learn from or identify with. And zines really open up a space for folks who usually don’t show up in books or magazines to share their version.

Thanks Ms. Whit Taylor, for sharing yours.

Watermelon is a great zine about one girls’ reflections on the stereotypes that live in her world. Specifically this zine helps to thwart the power these stereotypes might have on others by simply humanizing them and breaking them down. After all it did spark a pretty humorous discussion in my house about our own battles with awkward/embarrassing moments striving to straddle the lines between our cultures and the way others see us in our culture.

It’s a daily deal, as is shown by Whit Taylor in Watermelon.

ORDER WATERMELON HERE.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHIT TAYLOR whimsicalnobodycomics.com

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

If you are interested in POCZP leading a workshop or other event in collaboration with your organization - worldwide - email poczineproject@gmail.com.

ABOUT CATA

Cata is a two-spirit mixed race writer/yogi/graphic novel reader/zine lover in Washington, D.C., originally from the LBC (Long Beach California).

http://agraphiclens.wordpress.com/

http://uchueca.tumblr.com/