Posts tagged media


"She’s strong, she’s foxy, and she uses the power of words to combat the evil Dominant Narrative. And she rocks a hot afro."


Meet Helvetika Bold, a new kind of superhero. The Opportunity Agenda worked with New York Times bestselling author and artist Gan Golan and Betsy Richards, Senior Creative Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda, to create Helvetika Bold, who represents an alignment between a traditional advocacy approach and creative social justice strategies.  

"Helvetika’s story begins at a time where people’s minds are blocked by Mindset, a powerful and shadowy figure who delights in closing and locking people’s minds. 

His weapon:  the dominant narrative, which focuses people away from the true causes of inequality by laying blame on the people most affected by it.  

We first meet Helvetika’s alter ego, Ariel Black, a passionate and hardworking social justice advocate.  Ariel’s work is continually thwarted by the dominant narrative - and the media’s complicity in advancing it. 

Her frustration leads her on an adventure that culminates with the unleashing of Helvetika Bold, a new kind of super hero who battles Mindset and the dominant narrative with stories of inspiration and hope.”

The Opportunity Agenda states that Helvetika actually resides in everyone who wants progressive change.  She stands for each of our powers to inspire hope, amplify voices, and uphold the values we all share and cherish.


You can download it here, thanks to The Opportunity Agenda, or you can flip through it now via POCZP founder Daniela’s ISSUU page:

Go behind the scenes on AFROPUNK.COM - our point of awareness for this comic.


Through active partnerships, The Opportunity Agenda synthesizes and translates research on barriers to opportunity and corresponding solutions; uses communications and media to understand and influence public opinion; and identifies and advocates for policies that improve people’s lives. To achieve their mission, they focus on racial equity, immigration, economic opportunity, reproductive health and rights, and African-American men and boys.

"We have it in our power as a nation to expand opportunity for all.  Doing so requires working to turn our beliefs and aspirations into public support for fundamental change. Read our newest brochure to learn more about us.”

The Opportunity Agenda is a project of Tides Center



POCZP hopes you had a great summer! We’ve been working on ways to remain sustainable in the long term while individually practicing #selfcare. In the meantime, you can support the cause by sending us a gift of any amount. All funds go to ongoing advocacy costs, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.

If everyone in our community gave $10, we would more than meet our fundraising goals for 2015.

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Queer Zine Archive Project

- Barnard Zine Library

- POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano & artist/activist Nia King

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

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



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

Learn more at Autostraddle.com



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

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.



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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

- POC Zine Project

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



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



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

Yes, it’s here!!!


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

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

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

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

EDITOR: Helen Luu



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

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


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

1) Print version

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

2) Read-version

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Free Poet's Press website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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



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

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

POC Zine Project and Tonya L. Jones respond to Portland State Vanguard's article on zines


On November 12, 2012, Portland State University student Robin Crowell published an interview with Tonya L. Jones on PSU University’s Vanguard site. Tonya, the founder of the Women of Color Zine Workshops (and WOC Zine Symposium) based in Portland, OR, shared her thoughts with Robin on how “zines give voice to social justice” (what was used in the original headline).

POC Zine Project read the interview and — having a relationship with Tonya — suspected that some details didn’t make the edit. Also, Tonya and another person were misquoted.


We definitely don’t want to discourage campus publications from covering poc zine-related topics. We are not about bashing student journalists. People make mistakes.

However, it is important to us that editors make it a priority to (when possible) include comments by interviewees addressing their experiences with racial inequality.

It’s also equally important for writers to have the ability to assess when edits to their work compromise the piece in ways that spread misinformation, or prevent important information from being shared.

We don’t know who made the final call on what did or didn’t get published, but we do want to raise awareness about two very important errors:

EXAMPLE #1: Tonya emailed this to Robin as part of her email interview, but it didn’t make it in the piece:

Some of us use our zines to write about our experiences as WOC and to deconstruct oppression in their lives. But, just like other zinesters, we like to talk about our different interests (e.g. music, knitting, cooking, traveling, pets etc.). We are no different (as artists) in many ways, yet we do offer unique history/stories to share as WOC.

Anyone involved in zine culture should have work by WOC zinesters in their collection.

Why were these two paragraphs cut? This information - in our opinion - seems like the heart and soul of Tonya’s motivations, and these facts should have been included in the article.

EXAMPLE #2: It’s important to be correct about things such as accurately publishing quotes. This is how history is unintentionally revised and people are misrepresented.

Sugene Yang-Kelly was misquoted. Here is the excerpt from the piece: 

Sugene Yang-Kelly views making a zine as a “self-indulgent” activity.

“It’s just a fun, personal outlet, and I’m not trying to reach a wide audience or impress anyone or change people’s minds,” Yang-Kelly said. “It’s a bonus if other people want to read my zines and have a conversation about it.”

Here is what she really meant, directly from Sugene:

I did not say that I thought zines were a self-indulgent activity, I said that it was self indulgent for ME. And I did not write an article that got censored, it was a different article that got censored. And we did NOT end up publishing and distributing the article ourselves. And that is not when I started a zine either. I’m glad that the group got some press, but I’m PISSED OFF that things that I said were either taken out of context or were factually untrue.

Considering this is a student publication (meaning more flexibility about things like word count and time to fact check), the article would have been more accurate and informative if some of Tonya’s comments had not been omitted. We also hope that incorrect quotes are addressed asap.

We thank Robin for interviewing Tonya for Vanguard and hope that Robin continues to follow the Women of Color Zine Workshops’ growth in Portland and beyond.


Sometimes news articles and interviews don’t include everything you need to know. We followed up with Tonya Jones to get additional context to share with our community.

Tonya’s comment prefacing her statements that she emailed to POC Zine Project:

I am disappointed that the article didn’t mention the fact that POC/WOC HAD to start alternative forms of media because of white oppression/racism. It wasn’t just a fun hobby!

I did talk about Ida B. Wells and her work with a black newspaper that wrote articles about the lynching of black people. I also talked specifically about the work of the WOC group and our zine collective, which is all about our perspective as living as WOC in Portland which is almost 80% white, and how we have to navigate racisms in a state that has a history of oppression against POC.

These are the answers Tonya submitted to Robin via email, without any editing:

2) Define a zine.

There is a long history on what zines are about, where they started etc. In order to encourage WOC to get involved in making zines/DIY culture, I tend to use the words of a Portland activist I admire (PSU Black Studies professor Walidah Imarisha).

She was once a guest speaker at one of our workshops. She noted that as POC (people of color) we have always had to use alternative forms of media to get our voices heard. Creating our own newspapers, books, journals, etc., self-publishing is a part of our history as WOC. We look at women like Ida B. Wells, who was a journalist and wrote for a black newspaper to speak out about the racist injustices against Black people (lynching).

These were atrocities that were not acknowledged by the mainstream media. POC/WOC have had to write our own stories otherwise we were/are invisible in mainstream society. That is how I define zines, an opportunity for us to continue the legacy of telling truth of our experiences.

3) What made you decide to dedicate a workshop to women of color?

After attending the Portland Zine Symposium (years ago), I noticed a lack of diversity. I really wanted to connect with other WOC zinesters. The following year, I lead a workshop at the PZS called “Women of Color: Writing and Activism.” I received such good feedback from the attendees. I decided to host workshops monthly. It’s how the workshops started and the rest is history!

4) What should people know about zines by and about women of color?

I would like people to know that WOC have always been part of the zine community. You have wonderful long time WOC zinesters like Osa (creator of Shotgun Seamstress a zine dedicated to AfroPunk/Black people in punk), Daniela Capistrano (the founder of the POC Zine Project in NYC and creator of the zine Bad Mexican), Sugene Yang-Kelly (creator of All This is Mine zine), and more that have been out there being creative, self-publishing, lecturing, attending symposiums, etc.

Some of us use our zines to write about our experiences as WOC and to deconstruct oppression in their lives. But, just like other zinesters, we like to talk about our different interests (e.g. music, knitting, cooking, traveling, pets etc.). We are no different (as artists) in many ways, yet we do offer unique history/stories to share as WOC.

Anyone involved in zine culture should have work by WOC zinesters in their collection.

5) What does creating a zine mean to you?

It’s an outlet to purge my feelings about the racism I deal with as a Black woman. I love the freedom of creating a zine. It’s my own project I can return to when I feel up to it or when there are racist issues affecting Black women and I feel I should speak out about it

6) What is the title of your zine and could you tell me a little more about it?

My personal zine is called “See Me: Issues that Affect Our Lives, Acts of Resistance against Oppression and Black Feminist Thought.” I focus on issues of Black women (e.g. racist images in Hollywood, Black motherhood, etc.) with a feminist twist.

The WOC Zine group makes a zine collective called “Women of Color: How to Live in the City of Roses and Avoid the Pricks.” We discuss navigating Portland as WOC (e.g. racism, gentrification, resisting mainstream beauty standards, the arts, etc.).

We are currently working on our 4th issue. It will focus on POC and Housing in Portland (e.g. the displacement of the Black community from Alberta & Mississippi neighborhoods, etc.)

Any further comments?

Last summer (2011), the WOC Zine group applied for a project grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Our project proposal was to host a Women of Color Zine Symposium. We won the grant and hosted Portland’s first WOC Zine Symposium. It was in June of this year. The purpose of the event was to provide a space for WOC artists in Portland to come together while sharing their creative work with the larger community.

The day consisted of tabling of zines, raffle prizes, an open mic (with a reading from our WOC Zinester Scholarship winner writer/poet, Jamondria Harris), a workshop lead by long-time WOC zinester LaMesha Melton (She is the creator of Coco/Puss which a perzine about black women and sexuality discusses being a single mom, sex, racism, feminism, birth control, sex workers, and other topics). and the day ended with a performance with local all-female/multicultural hip-hop group, RoseBent.

We had a great time and looking at ways to host this event again next year. Keep a look out for it!


IMPORTANT: We are NOT directing these comments at Robin or implying we know anything about her motivations or freedoms re: her final piece.

Here are our top three points:

1. Sometimes white privilege plays a role in how journalists report on a story. Since racial inequality isn’t typically a white person’s experience, it may not feel necessary to include details directly speaking to racial inequality.

It’s important to be mindful of how your privilege affects what you write about and how you write about it.

2. Interviews via email usually eliminate the possibility of misquoting someone, but sometimes it doesn’t (although we prefer doing interviews in person, with a recorder!). It is up to the journalist to follow up with their subjects to clarify any questions or concerns.

Make sure that the quotes you plan to include are accurate. Take the time to check in advance.

3. It’s generally a good idea for a journalist to email the link for the article (once it’s live) to their interview subjects and inform them that if anything looks fishy, to let them know immediately so they can address it. This takes two seconds. Unfortunately, not everyone does this.

Some journalists excuse themselves by saying that they don’t want their work compromised, but to that we say “BUUUUUULL SHIT!” Making sure that your details are factually correct should not compromise your work.

Here are some additional thoughts, providing by the Women of Color Zine Workshop in their original event listing on Facebook for the 2012 Symposium, that we think are relevant to this dialogue: 

The image people have of Portland is mainly based on the white majority who live here - 76.1 % of the population, according to the 2011 U.S. Census. But the other 23.9%, the other Portland, they have a voice too. And the Women of Color Zine (WOC) group is one of the ways …that other voice can be heard.