Armenian Anon— I am also a first gen queer Armenian-American and I 100% feel everything you wrote about! I am so shocked to hear somebody else articulating what you’ve wrote; it’s like a revelation! Get in contact with me on my blog! I’m mad interested in the zine you’re working on too. (Dear POC Zine Project: sorry for using you as a go-between)
Dear Feminist Press and other entities that are reaching out to us right now solely to help them with things:
Thanks for your message. We appreciate your kind words. As you may have noticed from following our Tumblr (and through info we have shared here), we are in the middle of booking a 20 city tour. We are a 100% DIY, volunteer, unfunded project. As you can imagine, a 20 city tour is a tall order to deliver on when you factor in regular life needs (day job, family, etc.). We need all the help we can get.
With that context, we offer you the following friendly advice/guidance:
1. If it’s your first time reaching out to us, please consider figuring out in advance what sort of support you can offer in return, before asking us to take on additional tasks to further your mission.
2. We are not a promotional mechanism for publishers. We are a grassroots advocacy platform for POC and deeply consider everything we help signal boost (intention, history of person/org, etc.). If you would like to develop a content sharing partnership, then you must also share what you can provide us in return.
3. If we have never seen you promote our efforts on your digital platforms, why should we consider adding additional tasks in the middle of booking our tour to support you? For example, Feminist Press has not re-blogged or promoted anything from POCZP on their Tumblr for over a week now (that’s as far back as we went to check), but yet contacted us on Tumblr asking for promotion … on our Tumblr. Does that make sense in terms of building goodwill/coalition building? No, it does not.
4. Please consider your various privileges before assuming that we have the space, time and emotional bandwidth to help you with your promotional efforts - especially without offering any support in return.
If you’d like to continue to discuss this (and have considered ways to offer us support so this is a mutually beneficial arrangement), please email email@example.com.
Thanks for writing! We don’t mean to pick on you but are the 100th person in the past few months that has asked this (in a similar way), so we are using this question as an example so that we can effectively help folks with similar requests.
1) We are a 100% volunteer group, so when you don’t provide any way to (outside of Tumblr) communicate with you about your requests, it makes it really hard for us to practice the kind of advocacy we want to do within our limited time. Please provide a way to reach you when you first contact us (phone #, email, website, etc.) so that we don’t waste time trying to figure this out.
2) We have repeatedly stated that we are not a distro and our About page outlines what we do/what we offer. We are a 100% volunteer group with no funding source, so when we get general requests to “send zines to X” we really need more information before dedicating time and financial resources to that request.
“Can I get some zines” doesn’t tell us the following:
1) Is this a personal request for yourself? Because if so, we are not a distro. We can point you to POC-run & ally distros to get zines, and we do offer zines when we table on tour, but we are not a distro and it’s not financially smart for us to operate in that manner at this time.
2) Is this a request on behalf of an organization or collective? If so, we need to know the who/what/where/when/why so we can make the best decision based on our resources and time. It also helps to state if the org has funding to compensate us in any fashion - again, we are not a funded group. We are raising $10,000 between now and 2015 for the National Zinester Conference and need to be very careful about how we spend donations and our own funds.
3) What kind of zines are you talking about - what topics specifically do you need addressed, and are you looking for particular titles?
Grassroot efforts like ours do a better job at thriving when people make an effort to communicate efficiently. We are still learning how to be solid communicators, so we definitely understand making mistakes. In the future, please give us more information than “can i get some zines sent to michigan?” so that we can accurately assess if that’s something that is possible. <3
- POC Zine Project
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: ZINE ABOUT SINGAPOREAN CREATIVES LIVING OVERSEAS
From Eden Nova:
After receiving a message from a friend of mine who’s also based in North America and also an artist, I’ve realized that there seems to be elements of a shared experience to being a Singaporean living overseas engaged in creative work. So, naturally, I decided it would be awesome to make a zine project out of this!
I’ve been living in New York City for almost three years now and have had to make so many difficult adjustments. Spending your entire life being raised in a corporate state where you lack the basic rights to freedom of expression and assembly and then suddenly gaining these rights almost overnight is kind of a trip. For me, my entire worldview and self-perception have changed. It’s been a very difficult but mind-expanding couple of years.
I’ve wanted to share some of my experiences because, when I lived in Singapore, I didn’t have any friends who’d done anything similar and who talked about how they changed. I feel like collecting these stories might be an excellent resource for those still living in Singapore and who might want to leave as well as those who’ve already made the move but feel alone in societies where most people have never really had to live without the right to free expression. This zine also might be interesting to others who aren’t specifically Singaporean, but who’ve had to navigate similar issues.
I’m particularly interested in focussing on Singapore-born and raised people who’ve moved to Western democracies: How has your creative practice changed? How did your worldview change? How do you see yourself now? What kind of personal work are you engaged in to change old habits and coping mechanisms that worked well in Singaporean society but not anymore?
Please send contributions (words and/or images) or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. (And you can view my other zines here.)
ABOUT EDEN NOVA, ARTIST
I was born and raised in Singapore - an Orwellian island nation in Southeast Asia, where individuality and looking within are strictly prohibited. From my two-and-a-half decades spent there, I learned from firsthand experience and observation about the cultural mechanisms of control and manipulation through violence (physical, spiritual and emotional) that industrial civilization enacts upon humanity, rewarding our worst traits while destroying our best ones.
I came to New York City in 2010 to realize that most of what I observed and experienced in Singapore were global problems: problems of dominator culture that exist in American society and every other society I have visited. I am, however, incredibly grateful for the freedom of expression that I now enjoy in the United States and I have been hugely inspired by the rebellious, beautiful and free creative spirits I’ve encountered here.
As a species, I think many of us very much have it in us to move past our destructive adolescence and understand once more that we are part of a community of life. With my work, I hope to explore, experience and enact this understanding with others. And to muster up the strength and community necessary to get dominator culture to fuck off and stop bothering the rest of us, once and for all.
I am moved by the hidden power of the life principle, love, the wisdom of pain, our allies in the natural world and the oceanic complexity of the unconscious, dreaming mind.
Editor’s Note: We accept all calls for submissions from folks who identify as POC or (as white folks) have demonstrated that they are trustworthy allies through their ongoing efforts to empower POC. We do not review or accept calls for submissions from white folks who solely want to exploit this platform to gain a larger audience. Thanks.
Thank you for writing. My name is Daniela Capistrano and I’m the founder of the POC Zine Project. I am addressing you personally because I want to thank you for sharing your story and for taking on the zine project you described. We would love to help you in any way that we can.
Please send us an email at email@example.com and we can discuss ways to support your project.
You have raised a point that others have brought to our attention online and at our tour events, which is that POC identity and related communities can be defined in very different ways, depending on factors like:
- shared histories/lack of shared histories
- level of education/level of access to education
You have not stated where you are located. I would like to know more about your efforts to engage with POC-led movements and formal/informal groups and how people responded to you.
As someone who identifies as POC but also has skin privilege (people often confuse me for Italian or Jewish), I can (in my own way) relate to this comment you made:
As an Armenian I am stuck in-between being ‘white’ and brown and therefore don’t know if I will be accepted in the POC community.
I can relate to this statement because there was a time in my teens where I wasn’t sure where I fit in. The POC folk I interacted with at the time had different interests from me. I felt stifled and frustrated. However, I’m thankful I was able to determine that one group of POC doesn’t speak for all people of color.
There isn’t one monolithic POC community that you need to worry about being accepted by. You don’t need to pick one group to affiliate yourself with. You can, and should, support and draw strength from as many POC as you can.
As POC, many of us often (unintentionally even) project our own internalized racism and identity issues onto other POC. I don’t know you, so I don’t know if that has anything to do with your situation. But I do know that internalized racism did play a huge role in how long it took for me to create my own POC community that was affirming and inspiring.
If you don’t feel like you have a POC community you can relate to, create one.
Your self-care should be paramount. If you’re feeling isolated, you took a great step by contacting us to function as a sounding board for you. I (and everyone else who is part of POCZP) understand your choice to be anonymous and will not take it personally if you don’t ever email us.
But, if you do, we can share some local options and also online resources that might resonate with you.
There is no “right” or “official” way to “be” a person of color. If you are read as a person of color and identify as a person of color, then that is YOUR experience and it is valid. You have a right to seek community and to feel affirmed.
Don’t let a few bad apples who alienated you keep you from the gift of being an active part of POC communities.
One thing that might be problematic is what you mentioned at the end of your comment:
I want a community where I can seek solidarity w/ people like me but I am alienated from POC and white communities.
Since you didn’t provide additional context, I can only speculate on the few possible factors that informed this statement:
- You would like to be a part of an Armenian-American community, but are having trouble finding a group of people who identify as Armenian-American in the ways that you do to feel affiliated with/affirmed by
- You have already tried to be involved in POC events and groups in your hometown but felt alienated by x actions that resulted in you feeling left out or erased
- You are seeking “solidarity” out of a need to affirm your ethnic heritage
If any of those things apply, I sincerely hope you are able to find other Armenian-American folks to connect with locally and online. There are many ways to go about this.
I don’t know what you already tried or exactly what you are looking for, but all your language points to a person who is determined to find a place where they feel like they belong.
I encourage you to - in the process of finding an Armenian-American group/s to feel affirmed by - consider the value of participating in a broad range of POC groups/events.
Solidarity in POC communities is critical to our liberation and to dismantling institutional racism. I am not going to tell you what this should look like for you, because that wouldn’t be appropriate.
Instead, I’m going to give you a few glimpses into my own process and hopefully that is helpful in some way:
Practicing Solidarity Strategies Every Day = Very Easy Way To Find - And Be Accepted By - MULTIPLE POC Communities
I am not Black. I am Chicana. My partner is Black and I have many Black friends/collaborators, as well as a few Black people in my living family tree (as well as back up in the roots) ;).
Does this mean I only go to events for Chican@s/Latin@s? No.
Does this mean I think that I have a right to identify as Black, or to think that all Black spaces are/should be open to me? No.
I address opportunities and conflicts on a case by case basis.
Solidarity for me (in relation to the struggles and aspirations of Black people worldwide), and as part of my process to affirm my partner, is to support Black(and folks of varying backgrounds from the African diaspora) groups/movements in the following ways:
* With my physical presence at events where it is appropriate for me to be there (I don’t ask to attend Black-only events that are intended to be private and affirming experiences for Black-identified people).
* By donating my time and funds to support Black-led events
* By making it a priority to involve Black folks in POC Zine Project initiatives
I lose nothing by standing in solidarity with my Black brothers, sisters and allies. I gain so much by making myself available in the ways that I can.
I apply this solidarity strategy to multiple communities of color I interact with. Just last fall, I volunteered my time with CAAV, bringing them food to distribute to Sandy victims in NYC.
CAAAV works to build grassroots community power across diverse poor and working class Asian immigrant and refugee communities in New York City.
Am I Asian? No. Did I feel like I didn’t have a right to support CAAV because I’m not Asian? No! Did CAAV reject my support because I’m not Asian? No, of course not!
Since then and moving forward, I will always feel comfortable attending CAAV events and supporting their efforts in any way that I can. I don’t have to Asian to understand what they are doing. I don’t have to be Asian to feel like I can be a part of their community in ways that make sense for me.
You said ”.. therefore I don’t know if I will be accepted in the POC community.”
I can guarantee you that if you are practicing solidarity strategies with POC groups of any background, and supporting their efforts, you will DEFINITELY feel accepted. It is rare for people to reject love and support.
I encourage you to think about whether or not you feel like you can only feel “authentic” solidarity with other Armenian-Americans and how structures built on the back of White Supremacy and Institutional racism MIGHT (only you know) be warping your view about what your level of comfort is when you’re around other POC who aren’t exactly like you.
… I think my world would be much smaller if I ONLY associated with Chican@s/Latin@s, as it would make intersectional analysis of our overlapping struggles as POC very difficult to process.
Again, POC community is not this monolithic member-based organization where everyone follows the same rules. We all have similar goals, but we also have conflicts, as POC, with each other, for reasons informed by geography, class, gender, etc.
In your journey to gain affirmation and support from POC communities, consider your own role in affirming and supporting other POC. If you are not giving anything back, then it’s no suprise that you feel “alienated” which can often be confused with “feeling left out.”
Again, I don’t know you or what your experience has been like. I can only go by what you shared. But I hope you will consider how much personal power you possess and how you can use it to create and participate in your ideal POC community.
We hope to hear from you soon!
I’m thrilled about your zine idea and would love to help you find a distro and promote its release, at the very least. Depending on the content, we can also discuss tabling with it during our tour.
Here are some responses from our Facebook community:
Spectra Speaks said: Queer Women of Color Media Wire - QWOC Media Wire publishes so much commentary about nationality/ethnicity/non-western ideologies about identity. You are so totally welcome to submit there! I also agree with commenter above — I never fit either, and though it’s hard sometimes, my voice and writing affirms that other people don’t have to either.http://www.qwocmediawire.com/
Evan Pivazyan said: Armenian Anon, who are you? -A fellow Armenian-American who knows exactly what you’re talking about and wants to talk about it.
And this, which just came through our Tumblr right now:
justaguywitharrows asked you:
You are not alone.
Thank you again for having the courage to reach out and good luck finding the community that works for you.
Founder, POC Zine Project
POC Zine Project is not a distro and we do not intend to function as a distro in the foreseeable future. We are an advocacy platform and are focused on, among other initiatives, supporting POC-run distros.
When we produce live events, we do table with some relevant POC and ally materials, including POC-authored/edited zines. We also curate a traveling zine exhibition, which has been growing over time (but those aren’t available for purchase, as they are duplicates representing what is in our archive).
We also table at other orgs’ live events and provide supplemental materials for sale and trade. We like to provide the service of making it easy to (at these events) access independently published materials by POC as part of our advocacy platform’s goals.
However, maintaining a distro is hard work — ask anyone who distros. We are a 100% DIY and volunteer entity and 90% of our work is unfunded. The little funding we do get is by donation and goes directly back to touring and other related costs. Many of our collaborators contribute their own funds.
There are pros and cons to being so unhindered from nonprofit/corporate funding bureaucracy and censorship. One of the pros is that we do what we want, when we want to. That is very liberating.
One of the cons is that we don’t have a consistent source of funding at this time. That will change in the future, as that is part of our long term strategy. But right now we are scrappy, and we like it that way.
So, we have chosen to focus our efforts as an advocacy platform for now and will evaluate incorporating a distro if/when we have the resources to do something like that.
We are also not a sole source for, or ultimate authority on, zines by POC. When we spotlight zines or share community submissions, it’s to point you to the creators directly — to place orders and to engage with them. But there are many other POC out there making zines.
Our mission is to make zines by people of color easy to find, distribute and share. We are a project — a POC zine-focused project — and within our paradigm we accomplish a lot with very few resources. We know we can make a greater impact in the long term being true to who we are, vs. feeling obligated to function as a POC distro. We’re happy with our progress so far and know there’s a lot more work to be done.
All of the zines we table with are through our zine partners, who are presently SlushPilePress, For The Birds Collective and Maximumrocknroll. You can get most of the same zines we table with directly from them via snail mail and also in person at events (if you are near them).
We continue to receive this distro question despite having published this answer repeatedly, so to make sure everyone has this information, we’re adding it to our About page. Thanks for your support!
- POC Zine Project
Thanks for reaching out. POC Zine Project isn’t a zine. We are an advocacy platform. If you’re contacting us about the Poverty Zine Series we are co-publishing, here are instructions on how to submit. If you’re referring to the zine we’ll be creating about the 2012 Race Riot! tour, we are still accepting submissions from those who attended at least one of the tour dates. If this applies to you, feel free to submit your poem here or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re simply looking for zines to submit to, there are plenty of calls out there. Good luck with your search!
- POC Zine Project
Thank you for your interest. There are MANY poc zines with an LGBTQ perspective out there.
To start, if you haven’t already, check out MUSE ZINE #9: State of the Heart, which is by and for teens, the Dari Project, GREENZINE by Cristy C. Road (order from her website), search the amazing QZAP.org for POC topics, check out zines by the MOONROOT collective, scan our Tumblr to find zines from an LGBTQ perspective, and contact Jenna Freedman at the Barnard Zine Library for suggestions and search strategies: email@example.com.
We don’t like to make assumptions about POC identity through avis and a few blog posts, so we hope you find this helpful. If you’re not a person of color, please read our White Ally FAQ. Thanks!
Community: If you know of zines by and for POC teens with an LGBTQ perspective, please reblog and add your notes. Thanks!
Thanks for letting us know! We’ve updated the original post.
Thanks for inquiring about the POC Zine Project internship program. We will make details available in December, with opportunities beginning in January 2013. Stay tuned for updates!
Hi there! Thanks for reaching out. You’ve raised a question that has renewed our interest in archiving fashion-related zines by POC. Presently we don’t have anything like what you’re looking for in the archive.
We put a call for support on Facebook and Twitter and so far people have been recommending blogs, not zines.
Here are the blogs that folks recommended:
Susan A. Rohwer: It’s not a zine per-say but it is a blog made by WOC about fashion/critically engaging adornment: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Threadbared/97922323220
We know you are looking for zines specifically about fashion/critically engaging adornment by WOC, so ….
COMMUNITY: If you have any fashion zines by POC to recommend, please reblog with your answer AND/OR submit your suggestions. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to add fashion-related zines by POC to the archive ASAP (we pay for zines to support POC creators), so thanks with your help reaching this goal.