Interview with Great Folks #7: Daniela from POC Zine Project

August 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

!!The People of Color Zine Project Tour will be in Pittsburgh on September 26th. Location TBA!!

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Hi! Tell us who you are! What is the POC Zine Project?

My name is Daniela Capistrano and I am the founder of the POC (people of Color) Zine Project. Our mission is to make zines by people of color easy to find, distribute and share – activism and community through materiality.

When did you start the project? Why did you start the project?

I created this archive + advocacy project in 2010 because I was frustrated with the lack of visibility for zines by people of color in distros, zine anthologies/reference materials, in university libraries and lack of representation and community support at many zine events. I knew there were people of color making zines and that poc have been making independent publications for years, and I wanted to share their great work with the world and inspire other POC to create. Equal to that, I wanted to form partnerships with librarians, educational spaces, and orgs that serve youth to find creative ways to use zine-making as a catalyst for social change.

In 2010, Kate Wadkins of For the Birds Collective invited POC Zine Project to table at Sarah Lawrence College, which we did. We also co-produced a screening of “Afro-Punk” doc and zine exchange/discussion at Book Thug Nation in 2010, among a few other events. Through several people, including Kate Wadkins at For the Birds Collective, I was introduced to Mimi and Osa, both zinesters of color who also do so much more than make zines!

We’ve also tabled at the Portland Zine Symposium in 2010, where POC Zine Project sponsored Osa’s zine release party. We also did a panel in Chicago at this year’s Chicago Zine Fest.

In partnership with Kate/FTB and Jenna Freedman of the Barnard Zine Library, we co-produced a panel at Barnard in November of 2010, the event that I think set off a chain of events that resulted in what is happening now – the POC Zine Project 13 city tour happening Sept 24 – Oct 7. Osa and Mimi are just a few of my collaborators supporting POC Zine Project but they have been instrumental in making this tour a reality – it would not be happening without them, period.

How has the project been for you to do? What have you learned/enjoyed/experienced?

This project has been so many things to me … For one, it’s been a tangible way to connect online and IRL with radical POC and zinesters of color, which means so much to me. I’ve learned is that advocacy is something anyone can do. Right now, we’re partnering with Lisa Darms at the Fales Library for NYU to add more zines by people of color to their collection, which will be referenced in an upcoming book through the Feminist Press. This is just one example of simple but important things that people can do to support visibility for zinesters of color.

But the biggest lesson for me has been trusting the process. With DIY projects, there are often so many moving pieces and you have to learn how to trust your allies and be patient with things that take time to evolve. When I started the project, for a while it felt like shouting in the dark. Now I feel like I’m in this big auditorium with a bunch of excited folks asking me a ton of questions at once, also offering to help. It’s beautiful and overwhelming.

Why are zines important to you?

Zines are a vital component in the long tradition of self-publication. They share knowledge and experiences that supplement (and often contradict) the information that other sources distribute, encouraging free thought.

There are several valuable zine collections in the United States (many accessible online) but none that are devoted to curating POC zines while partnering with educators, universities, activist networks and DIY/punk networks of all stripes. We aim to change that.

Tell us anything you feel moved to!

We’re excited about recent developments across the board – more people of color are creating their own zine distros and networks, more universities are starting their zine collections with the INTENTION to include zines by people of color. Change is happening. We’re simply doing what we can to support this change and to help it spread.

POC Zine Project has taught me the power of an idea – if you can get people enrolled in your idea, so much is possible. I can’t wait to see what happens during and after our first tour.

Thanks so much!

- Jude

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