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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earlier this year Helen Luu donated her original flat for How to Stage a Coup: An Insurrection of the Underground Liberation Army (2000) to POCZP, which we scanned just in time for POCZP’s participation at Allied Media Conference in Detroit.
Yes, it’s here!!!
READ & SHARE ‘HOW TO STAGE A COUP’
POCZP’s mission is to make zines by people of color easy to find, distribute and share. We are thrilled to share this legacy zine with the world in digital form and will be providing (sliding-scale priced) print copies at all Race Riot! tour events this fall.
HTSAC will be free for all POC attendees at Race Riot! tour events.
***This zine is best viewed online or via mobile in full-screen mode***
TITLE: How to Stage a Coup: An Insurrection of the Underground Liberation Army
EDITOR: Helen Luu
DESCRIPTION BY POCZP TOUR MEMBER MIMI THI NGUYEN IN 2000:
Helen Luu recently edited a compilation zine called How To Stage A Coup, aimed at creating a dialogue among people of color involved in subcultural pursuits (including punk rock) around race, racism and politics. Contributors like Lauren Martin (You Might As Well Live, Quantify), Lynn Hou (Cyanide), Celia Prez (I Dreamed I Was Assertive), Elizabeth Martinez (Colorlines) and Vincent Chung address a wide variety of issues from organizing and identity politics, to activist dynamics and punk rock betrayals. What does it mean to look at the photographs of Third World suffering on the covers of grindcore records? What does it mean to talk about “pride”? Where was the “color” in Seattle/WTO? What comes first – “being brown or being famous”? The contributors to this compilation ask important questions that need asking, again and again, and Helen Luu brings it all together.
DO YOU WANT TO DISTRO ‘HOW TO STAGE A COUP’?
We announced on our Facebook page that we have two digital downloads available:
1) Print version
This version was made from a scan of the original flat. It was created with the intention of sharing with folks for distribution of the print version.
This is the online-friendly version you can see in the embed above. This file is best viewed in e-readers or printed with the expectation that it will be page by page and not the same as the flat.
HOW TO ACCESS HTSAC FILES
We’re raising funds to make 200+ print versions of How to Stage a Coup to give away during tour, so we’re asking folks interested in gaining access to either files to email email@example.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.
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
By Cata, POCZP East Coast Intern
The Truth Tour consists of folks from the Pine Ridge reservation of South Dakota and allies, traveling to different cities in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic to tell their stories, advocating for a return to matriarchal leadership and raising awareness of the ongoing genocide of their people. The event I attended was a film screening of the documentary “Red Cry,” held in Washington, DC, on April 16th.
Below is an entry point into a continuous conversation, not a rule book.
A big question that surrounds POC (people of color) events from those outside of the community holding the event is "how can I be an ally?"
A simple answer to these questions is to put your self in service to the community and don’t take up space.
DC ‘TRUTH TOUR' EVENT RECAP
April 16 – Washington, DC – Metropolitan Community Church of DC – 6:30pm
When the Lakota Grandmothers came to DC in April, my partner and I cooked a meal for an event as an act of support/solidarity. What follows here are my reflections as an audience member/participant in the film screening event.
I write with a strong desire to contribute to a (hopefully) ongoing conversation of allyship. The night of the event in DC there were many important voices and stories shared. The group had come a long way to spread their voices. I am thankful for their journey. I felt blessed to be among these strong travelers and hope to meet them again one day.
However, among the powerful stories offered there were important voices and stories that were missed. Here are some things I observed as I watched the evening pass with a complex interplay of isms and unchecked privileges.
For days afterward I couldn’t get out of my head the Q&A session after the “Red Cry” screening.
The white anarchist/activist who stood up and said “I don’t know about the rest of the room, but me and my house mates on THIS side of the room- we’re REALLY in SOLIDARITY with you all! REALLY!”
This wasn’t a question; it was a comment offered perhaps to receive an ego stroke from the audience/caravaners and it was distracting.
Then, there was an African-American woman who stood up asking to be part of the Lakota people, referencing her own Native heritage. It was refreshing to see a person of color seeking to honor their indigenous heritage— but the word use: “Can I be a part of you?” made my face scrunch.
Again, this was not a question pertaining to their journey or to the film.
Then, three or four folks raised their hands… again without questions… but instead with gifts. Literally folks were walking up to an elder with shells, books and bags of what? I don’t know.
Weird? Yes. Distracting? Yes. Ego strokes? Yes and yes.
Three-quarters of the way through the event, the main Native male speaker who had been speaking the most and facilitating, acknowledged that the others on his caravan, including most of the women, had not spoken. He suggested that they go down the line and share something.
"Yes, finally!" I thought, time to hear everyones voice. But, wait. One more person in the audience needs the spot light and asks a question/comment…then POOF! Our time is done.
A song is sung and things are wrapped up. There is never time to hear the voices of the other Native folks, most of them women, from the caravan.
As POC organizers we need to reflect:
- On this Truth Tour designed to advocate a return to matriarchy, how did the Native man facilitating (and the crew as a whole) not realize that his voice was filling the time available at the expense of other (female) voices from the caravan?
- How do we as POC organizers/activists let inter-communities privileges distract or disappear an important layer in our events or projects?
- How did the audience continue on unaware of their distracting behavior?
- Why did certain audience members(and why do some folks) think it was/is ok to deconstruct their internal conflicts on some one else’s time?
This brings me back to allyship. Here are some ways to be an ally:
1) Be aware of your layers (gender, colourism, class, race, orientation, shyness etc).
2) Take your OWN time to process privilege, settlers guilt etc.
3) Do your service, go home and process in your journal or with other allies about your experience and how to be a better ally next time.
It’s all good. We are all learning here, but to distract from someone else’s event/or project with your own internal conflicts is unchecked privilege. To disappear someone else’s voice or story with your own, no matter if you’re an ally or a member of the community is rude. These patterns disrupt progress.
Privileges unchecked and unprocessed hurt ourselves and our communities. Until we learn as how to beware of our layers and hold one another accountable the biggest thing that will come of our events and projects in the eyes of others (and maybe ourselves) is debriefing the distractions.
Distractions are annoying. And, distractions are NOT solidarity. Lets move the focus back.
NYC ‘TRUTH TOUR’ EVENT RECAP
April 8, 2013 – New York City, NY, Judson Memorial Church- 239 Thompson St. (Solidarity/Decolonization Training) – 7:00pm
By Anonymous contributor to POCZP
I attended the Indigenous Solidarity and Decolonizing Training at Judson Memorial Church in hopes of learning more about the Lakota people, their struggles, and what it means to be in solidarity with indigenous communities. I was looking forward to participating in conversations about the meaning of decolonization and how one develops and sustains a political praxis around decolonizing the self in relation to community.
These days I have been thinking a lot about what it means for me, a women of color to challenge the mindset of settler colonialism that is part of my privilege and my immigrant histories. I believe that the complexities of communities of color engaging with native and indigenous communities should not be limited to understand through reading books and watching documentaries, so I went to this event to listen, to learn, to say hello.
I have deep respect the leaders of this training, for their histories and communities, and for the ways in which they walk through this world. However what I experienced last night was triggering, frustrating, and very confusing.
All but one of the Lakota grandmothers was present and the reason for this was never clearly explained or discussed. We began by asking those in the room who have any European ancestry, to stand up. As expected nearly eighty plus percent of the room were of European descent; I was one of few women of color, and perhaps South Asian in the room who did not stand up.
I have a vague understand of the purpose of this exercise, to call attention to the active realities of colonization as part of people’s being, and that as privilege that you cannot erase. However the presenters did not once ask any questions or specifically engage with the people of color in the room to ask why there were present, what it means for people of color to experience colonialism, and how the displacement of communities of color can reinforce colonial oppressions that native peoples face.
Once again white people became the center focus of the discussion, a conversation that I am sick in tired of having.
How can we destroy the constructs of whiteness if we continually reify them in our political spaces through reliving trauma and shaming one another?
There were several instances where the main “teacher” of this “training” used disparaging language against biracial and multiracial people. They outlined the role of elderly women, or the grandmothers in the struggle without giving the elderly women in the room a chance to speak out on their own and share their stories.
There was a moment where a white man was being disruptive and the presenter challenged him on his behavior, but did not ask him to leave the room. Of course this man continued to be disruptive and my friend, a women of color, had to ask him to leave.
I could give further specifics and in detail but I am not interested in calling out the presenter or the organizers of this event. Rather, I write this to raise the question of how can we build solidarity and decolonize together when so many of our political spaces are dominated by the politics of whiteness and by those whom I gender as being male-identified and male-bodied?
What is it going to take for men to recognize their male-privilege and to step down, work together on building true allyship with women in the struggle, and to call each other out?
There is a lot to say about this training. I am vested in having these conversations in person, and with people I hope to build my politics and community with.
However, in sharing this, I hope we can have a more open and honest dialogue about how to challenge spaces that are political defunct in the moment, and how to create something new that has a liberating direction.
Editor’s Note: POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano attended the NYC Truth Tour date and put a call for feedback on the POCZP Facebook page. Subsequently, Daniela spoke with this anonymous contributor, who gave POCZP permission to publish their thoughts under the condition that they remain anonymous. POCZP respects their choice to remain anonymous, as often it can be very difficult and triggering as a POC to question POC-led movements/actions.
MORE ON THE APRIL 8 NYC TRUTH TOUR EVENT
Below are POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano’s thoughts on the NYC Truth Tour event, originally published on the POCZP Facebook page. She also recorded this positive moment at the end of the evening:
[DESCRIPTION: The event leaders asked attendees to participate in a round dance at the end of the event. Couples were placed in the middle circle, while the elders were in another circle around it. After a while, others who weren’t necessarily elders were encouraged to join the outer circle. Native and non-native folks participated in the dance. This video captures about 80% of the round dance duration.]
By Daniela Capistrano, POCZP founder
The event overall was (for folks we spoke to) very triggering and complex. I wish that more female elders spoke, since that is what the tour is about. However, I also understand that there is another related event where female elders will be speaking.
This event wasn’t an “easy” experience. Some folks said there wasn’t enough actual training and that it was more of a blame game. Others did not agree with this assessment at all and said they got a lot out of it.
The event leaders asked everyone at the start of the experience “to listen with your heart.” Some people in attendance had a very had time just listening and there were many privilege issues at play. One white male would not stop interjecting and made it all about him until he was asked to stop. He could not handle that feedback and left.
Another white male took up way too much time singing a “spiritual” song, making the focus about him instead of the elders. A white female spoke on behalf of a black male in attendance without his consent. Many interesting and triggering actions went down last night at this event, a microcosm of bigger issues at play …
Some participants had issues with being put on the spot based on race, class and gender. Another controversial facet of the training was when attendees were challenged to cut up their government IDs as a symbol of their commitment to decolonize. Clearly there are many factors that would inform someone’s decision to participate or not, such as citizenship status in the U.S. and the dangerous ramifications of not having ID while experiencing racial profiling or worse. Race, class and gender were also factors.
One could argue that this act of cutting up an ID meant nothing and was in fact hurtful to undocumented folks in attendance or others in tenuous circumstances. Lots to think about. But I aired on the side of listening with an open mind and staying until the end. I chose to cut up my ID to confront my privileges; to know what it felt like to destroy government issued materiality; and to think about all the privileges that made it so “easy” for me to cut up my ID without any real consequences. I did it for myself, didn’t judge those who didn’t and also doesn’t think that cutting an ID automatically “decolonized” my existence and mental state. For me, it was an act of undoing mental damage tied to identity politics.
I am glad that I did stay until the end of the event, because I was able to meet one of the female elders, who I hope will collaborate with POCZP on the Race Riot tour this fall, as #IdleNoMore is our core focus.
Because I stayed until the end, I was able to capture the round dance on video, which had a very peaceful and healing affect for many who participated.
In closing, it’s 100% OK to not agree with all facets of a decolonizing event. It’s OK to not agree with the leaders and to walk out when you feel triggered. Several people did walk out. But I am glad that I stayed.
NOTICE: POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano reached out to Truth Tour organizers in April to share feedback and to discuss a possible collaboration for the Race Riot! tour. She also reached out again upon publishing this piece. We are patiently awaiting a response.
COMMUNITY: Help make this a productive conversation by adding your thoughts in your reblog.
Educate yourself on what the Truth Tour is all about:
"Red Cry" premiered on April 1, 2013, at the Mother Butler Center in Rapid City, SD in Lakota Territory. It was shown on consecutive nights in other cities as part of the Lakota Truth Tour.
Limited quantities of the Red Cry DVD are available for free. If you would like a DVD sent to you, Truth Tour organizers request that you give a donation of $5 or more to cover the costs of shipping and materials.
Please mail your address and a check made payable to “Lakota Solidarity Project” to:
Lakota Solidarity Project
PO Box 881
Asheville, NC 28801
If you would like to show the film in your area, they ask that you download the Organizer Toolkit and use this as a model for how to organize the screening. Contact them if you are interested in screening “Red Cry.”
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
On April 13, 2013, POCZP Midwest Coordinator Joyce Hatton attended MidWest Zine Fest for herself and on behalf of POCZP. She created this report back as part of POCZP’s advocacy to help address safer space issues and to encourage more communication/outreach between white zine fest organizers and POC in the community where the event is taking place.
As a result of Joyce’s recap, we have been directly in touch with MidWest Zine Fest organizers. Our advocacy is about building relationships and sharing resources—with the focus always being on the liberation of POC.
We understand the utility of call out culture but we prefer to directly address issues with people one on one. We have found this leads to more tangible positive change than simply reading someone/an entity online (although sometimes it is needed!).
Enjoy the recap and let us know what you think!
MidWest Zine Fest 2013: The Awesome and the Not-So-Awesome
By Joyce Hatton
Joyce Hatton and POCZP member Mimi Thi Nguyen at MidWest Zine Fest 2013 (photo by Joyce Hatton)
On April 13th, 2013, I attended MidWest Zine Fest in Urbana, IL.
There were two speakers: Joe Coyle, and Kevin Hamilton. There were 21 tablers listed on the schedule, but a few more attended than were listed- myself included. I met some really interesting people and left with a huge pile of zines. I was really glad I went. Other events that I didn’t attend included a photo scavenger hunt, a stencil workshop, a film screening, and a punk show.
- When I walked in I saw several people wearing “radical librarian” name tags. I <3 librarians, especially radical librarians.
- I was delighted to see Georgi Johnston there, because I had just ordered the zine “Erik Satie was a Punk” through the mail. I was excited to read one zinester’s analysis of “punk” in a decidedly non-punk context (Satie was born in 1866 and and punk broke in 1977, as Georgi points out in the zine). I talked briefly with Georgi and we ended up doing a zine trade.
- Joe Coyle gave an excellent talk titled “Young People, the Prison Industrial Complex, and Writing” about work at a writing program based out of the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center.
"The voices of young people are often neglected in discussions about the justice system and other social issues. This talk showcases some creative work by detained young people that critically addresses these topics and imagines alternatives.”
A view of the crowd during Joe Coyle’s talk at MidWest Zine Fest 2013 (photo by Joyce Hatton)
Coyle commented that sometimes even auxiliary prison workers get flack for being a part of the broken system that is the PIC. As we talked we agreed there is value in the efforts of working through the system to improve the lives of incarcerated people, and value in working for radical change of the system.
Joe Coyle and Becca Sorgert tabling at MidWest Zine Fest 2013 with zines made by incarcerated youth and adults (photo by Joyce Hatton)
Joe and Becca Sorgert tabled zines written by incarcerated youth and adults as a fundraiser for the Beat Within thebeatwithin.org, an nonprofit magazine that publishes works by incarcerated youth.
- Kevin Hamilton spoke about the process of making the zine “A Place in Time: Two Paths to a Television Broadcast.”
Kevin Hamilton (on stage) speaking about the zine making process at MidWest Zine Fest 2013 (photo by Joyce Hatton)
Kevin’s talk was a bit hard to hear because there was no microphone and zine fest was very busy at that time. Fortunately I was able to borrow a copy of “A Place in Time,” and I really enjoyed reading it.
Kevin was motivated to make it after seeing a video of the 1967 TV show “Public Broadcasting Lab.” In the zine, images from one of the broadcasts were used to recap a discussion amongst students and faculty talk about racism on campus. Black students are very anxious to talk about it, and the white students and faculty much less so.
[POCZP Editor Annotation]
FROM LAST YEAR: Chicagoian Jonas of “Cheer the Eff Up” zine tabling at MidWest Zine Fest in 2012 (in the black hat and hoodie)
Photo Source: Nicole on WeMakeZines
Update via Jonas on FB:
The final 2 issues of Cheer the Eff Up will be available this year! #5 will be finished in time for The Portland Zine Symposium in August. Issue #6 will be done in early November!
In the meantime, you can get issues #1-3 at a few cool distros on the internets. The most recent issue #4 can be found through Mend My Dress Press or Portland Button Works.
Please support those distros, because they are run by some of my favorite zinesters on the planet. But, hell, I’m not going to lie to you: if you write me a letter asking for a zine or 2, I’ll probably just mail you stuff for free. Meh. I’m a sucker for mail. Message me privately for the P.O. Box addy.
[/POCZP Editor Annotation]
A view of the zine tablers at MidWest Zine Fest 2013 (photo by Joyce Hatton)
Participants during the stencil workshop at MidWest Zine Fest 2013 (photo by Joyce Hatton)
COMMUNITY & ALLIES: Here is where Joyce raises some very important concerns that we hope sparks an ongoing and collaborative conversation between white folks who organize events and POC in the communities where they hold these events. If we don’t address these issues, POC will continue to feel unwelcome, unsafe and shut out from community. We cannot abide this. <3 Let’s change the game.
- Both Joe Coyle and Kevin Hamilton, the only two speakers, were white men.
Joe spoke for incarcerated youth, which due to the institutional racism of the justice system, many were people of color. Kevin’s zine spoke to racism on University of Illinois campus during the 1960’s and in my opinion, serves as a reminder that at any moment any one of us could be an individual that shapes history.
I appreciated Joe’s talk, and Kevin’s zine very much, but I always feel uncomfortable when white people speak about racism to a white audience (there did not appear to be people of color sitting in the audience of either talk.)
I appeared to be one of two people of color tabling zines there. There were some people of color who attended the event, which I was very glad to see. But I think it’s very important for POCs to have an active role in events, to have an active voice in presenting information. It seems like a distraction to talk about issues of race out there when your own space isn’t integrated.
I spoke with event organizer Jeanie about the lack of POCs at the event. Jeanie said that some zinesters of color were planning on coming from Chicago, but were unable to at the last minute. We talked for a bit about the need for more representation of POCs at zine events, and discussed barriers and solutions to making that happen.
POCZP stopped by Urbana-Champaign last year and put on an event at the Independent Media Center where Midwest Zine Fest was held. A few people commented to me that they had attended. While it was exciting to hear that, it was a little discouraging hear at an event with so few POCs tabling zines at MidWest Zine Fest.
- There was a zine there about “ghost hunting” and it included an image of a “proud Native American.”
The zine said that ghosts followed Natives around, and encouraged ghost hunters to follow Natives around in order to hunt ghosts. I asked the tablers of the zine about it in and they said “it’s just a joke” and offered to give me my money back.
I told them I hadn’t bought the zine, I had just noticed it while flipping through it. They repeated “it’s just a joke,” a few times, and eventually one person said “oh, you know, our friend made that joke. She’s a member of United Tribes.”
This is even more troubling when put in the context of the still-active controversy surrounding University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s recently retired mascot Chief Illiniwek.
- Dan from leaveyourbookmarks.com was wearing a tshirt that said “Chicago ain’t no sissy town.”
I approached him and had a brief conversation with him about the fact that “sissy” is a very loaded word that might make some people feel unwanted at the event, particularly given that he was tabling, which gives him the appearance of a person with power over the event. Dan was extremely polite, and offered to put on his sweatshirt to cover the shirt up.
We traded a couple of emails about our discussion a week or so later, and I think our interactions were very positive and educational for both of us.
I was very impressed with Dan’s immediate willingness to accept a new perspective, and complete lack of defensiveness.
I appreciate all the hard work the organizers did to host MidWest Zine Fest. I do not want to detract from the awesomeness of the event. What I wanted to do is give my honest perspective so that MidWest Zine Fest can grow to the be inclusive event that we all want it to be.
THOUGHTS FROM POCZP
POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano reached out to MidWest Zine Fest organizer Jeanie Austin this week after Joyce requested support.
Jeanie has been one of the organizers for the three MidWest Zine Fests, is a zine librarian with the UC-IMC Radical Librarians, goes to school for library science, and works with youth through Mix IT UP!
Here is the thread from our convo with Jeanie:
Hi Jeanie and Daniela,Jeanie, Thanks for your email. I apologize for my lack of response. I appreciate that you shared your concerns and experiences with me, but I was really unsure how to respond to information that I was supposed to keep secret- not just off the POCZP tumblr, but from Daniela and others. I think that growth and accountability can only happen in an open, transparent environment.
If you do have any comments or notes that you want to go with the blog post, please let us know.
To her credit, Jeanie responded in a very honest way that frankly we rarely see from white zine fest organizers after this kind of interaction:
joyce -i totally understand. i felt yucky as soon as i sent that e-mail. sorry to put you in that position.
i think that i would add this as an addendum to the notes "if i were to offer a word of advice to organizers who want to maintain safer spaces (which we do), there needs to be a lot of talk about what that looks like in action, including a patrol team that looks around and is ready to ENFORCE safer spaces (even if it means kicking folks out)."
PART OF POCZP’S RESPONSE
Hi Jeanie,Thanks so much for weighing in. POCZP does not use call out culture tactics because (although we understand when it is needed), we find it more productive to focus on solutions directly with folks we’re addressing. So we really appreciate your response and will include your note in the write up later today.I would also like to suggest the possibility of us all brainstorming by google hangout later this week or next week ways to collaborate in the midwest moving forward, with Joyce being a part of that in ways that make sense for her/work with her schedule. <3 Let me know what you think.Warmly,Daniela
POCZP founder Daniela and Jeanie are in touch about ongoing collaborations. Daniela, Jeanie and Joyce will be speaking about issues that came up at MidWest Zine Fest in more detail in the coming weeks so that resulting solutions can be shared publicly.
Jeanie is like many zine fest organizers—a person with a lot of other stuff going on who is passionate about building community. She reached out to us earlier in 2013, in fact, to present at MidWest Zine Fest. She also approached POCZP about a possible collaboration with a juvenile detention center in Urbana, IL and made an introduction on our behalf with Joe Coyle, who oversees the writing project.
This post isn’t about “calling out” Jeanie or anyone else at MidWest Zine Fest. We are about building community and making safer spaces for POC.
COMMUNITY: Think about Jeanie’s comment:
to maintain safer spaces (which we do), there needs to be a lot of talk about what that looks like in action
This hits close to home for POCZP. We made our own mistakes during our first tour last year that we will not make again this year. We discussed these mistakes at Chicago Zine Fest and you can find all details within our prezi.
Despite POCZP being founded by a person of color, and being made up of POC and allies, we still made mistakes during last year’s tour that negatively affected some attendees. Some of our partner venues wouldn’t let people under 18 in, some of the venues were not wheelchair accessible and and we never created a Safer Space Policy for our volunteer event coordinators.
Even as POC, we need to examine our various privileges and how that informs the way we produce events.
So even as we ask the MidWest Zine Fest organizers to examine what went wrong and how to produce more inclusive events in the future, we continue to identify our own mistakes so that we can learn from them and then share that knowledge.
MidWest Zine Fest DID create a safer space policy. The challenge is (one that many event organizers face) how to make sure that everyone is adhering to that policy and whether or not everyone is one the same page about what the policy means.
These conversations about accessibility, inclusivity and white privilege can be awkward, yes. But we need to keep having them. All the time. That is the only way positive change can occur. We need to all be a part of the solution.
Another factor to consider when assessing how the same mistakes keep happening over and over is volunteer organizer turnover rates. If there isn’t a handoff of information and a training component to onboarding new volunteers, critical information doesn’t get transferred.
In the case of MidWest Zine Fest, there is talk that the festival may not event continue after this year (not confirmed). Jeanie herself will no longer be involved with planning the fest after this year, due to moving out of state.
Check out Joyce’s roundup of zine fest posters that includes a note about MidWest Zine Fest’s problematic poster choice.
Again, we aren’t interested in simply calling out issues and walking away. We appreciate the time and energy it takes to organize zine fests and would like to partner with MidWest Zine Fest (if it’s still around) in the future.
For additional context, here is a very positive review of MidWest Zine Fest written by a white male attendee. Here is another very positive review published by The Daily Illini.
Zine fest attendees can have very different experiences, even while being at the same event together. This is something to keep in mind when discussing what true inclusivity looks like.
COMMUNITY: How can we create a praxis - a constantly evolving framework - for zine fest organizers to reference as they build toward a goal of producing an event that is truly inclusive? We should all be sharing resources. Send us your ideas: email@example.com.
Also, feel free to reblog this recap and include your own thoughts and links to resources. We’ll be sure to find them and share <3
- POC Zine Project
Submitting your call for submissions for your primarily or exclusively white-run zine to reach people of color through this platform, without an intro or any context, is inappropriate and the opposite of being a white ally.
Calling yourself a white ally doesn’t make you a white ally. Expecting POC Zine Project to signal boost a call for contributions to a zine that historically features white-only contributors is a gross display of white privilege.
Not reading our FAQ for white allies before submitting your call, that details the steps for white folks to submit their calls to POC Zine Project, before submitting, is equally gross.
It is not our job, or any person of color’s job, to help you find brown people to feature in your historically “by white people/for white people” zine because you lack enough friends of color in your own social circles to approach for collaboration.
We are tired of being nice about this.
Most of the time we are approached by white folks who understand the concept of being an ally and these have been positive exchanges, frequently resulting in collaborations.
But over the past few months - directly connected with the rising visibility of POC Zine Project in zine communities due to the Race Riot! tour - we’ve received more “help me do x” emails and requests for signal boosts from white folks. There is nothing wrong with that.
What is most definitely wrong and derails the possibility of a positive exchange is not checking your privilege before approaching us for assistance.
What is definitely not appreciated is expecting us to assume that just because you call yourself a “white ally,” that must be true. We owe it to our community to present them with facts, not assumptions.
We will not signal boost ANYTHING by any white person simply because they call themselves an ally. We take the role of white allies in the struggle for liberation and equality very seriously. It’s insulting to us and to true white allies when white people use that term but continue to behave in a manner that is silencing and oppressive to people of color.
We expect, and have a right to demand, that if you’re a white person who wants us to signal boost your call for submissions to your zine, that you provide us with at least some related links and other documentation that demonstrates your history of being a white ally. This is clearly spelled out in the FAQ.
Expecting us to take hours of additional time researching whether you’re an ally or not by reading all your zines and fact-checking - because you didn’t bother to share any kind of context - is just another example of white privilege within zine communities.
Scanning one of your zines and finding it filled with photos of white folks, and none of people of color, forces us to assume that you are in denial about your privilege. Featuring ONE person of color in your zine series, which otherwise largely features white contributors only, IS TOKENIZING. YOU ARE NOT BEING AN ALLY.
If you don’t provide context or background when you approach us for support (which should be common courtesy), our only recourse is to take time to research who you are and what you’re about. And we would rather use that time to empower and support POC who are tired of being silenced by people like you. So we won’t do that anymore. Ever again.
Come correct, please. You don’t like your time wasted and neither do we. Check your privilege.
We are, and will always be, primarily a resource for people of color. We appreciate our white allies who understand this and support our goals, knowing that our liberation is their liberation and the path to freedom.
*drops mic, walks off*
- POC ZINE PROJECT