Anarchy in the Archives: POC Zine Project Brings Punks of Color to the Academy

Daniela Capistrano, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Mariam Bastani, Osa Atoe, Anna Vo, and Cristy Road (l.-r.) gather at the Urbana Independent Media Center in Urbana, Illinois. Photo by Fiona I.B. Ngo.

In the beginning, Daniela Capistrano had no idea zines weren’t just for people of color. “In the late ’90s, when I was a teenager, I met a Mexican lesbian punk,” she says. “She was the first lesbian I ever met, and she had a bunch of zines in her studio. Almost all of them were by people of color. Since I had never encountered zines before, I thought that zines were mostly a POC thing.

“At that point I didn’t know anything about riot grrrl, I didn’t know much about punk culture; I was really naïve. As I became more involved in DIY-punk-feminist communities — not only making my own zines, but trading with people and trying to be a part of zine communities — white folks with a lot of privilege issues made it really difficult for me to be a part of those communities.”


2 thoughts on “Anarchy in the Archives: POC Zine Project Brings Punks of Color to the Academy

  1. Brittany Suarez

    “What they’re talking about isn’t about the zines, it’s about community. It’s about finding spaces where you don’t feel silenced, where your thoughts and feelings matter.”

    I feel that this extremely relevant to many people of color, including myself, at Prescott College and within the Prescott community. As I was reading this article I wondered if APOC had been in contact with Daniela and the POC Zine Project. I found this article extremely inspiring and uplifting, knowing that others out there understand their is a need for spaces for people of color and are in the process of creating them. Reading about how Dr. Licona stumble upon zines by people of color that resonated with her made me wonder if the APOC zine will fall in the hands of some other people somewhere in the Prescott community and resonate with them.

    “The way that I use the privilege of formal education is to use the classroom space to value what I think are de-legitimized voices that are excluded or considered ‘not knowing.’”
    This is what I believe our Anti-Racist Organizing class is emphasizing everyday and what APOC is attempting to help as well. The optimism which resonated throughout this article was a positive change compared to many of the other articles I have found on this blog. While staying on top of the current problems facing people of color, it is just as important to read stories such as these and be reminded that their are also people taking collective actions and efforts to make a better world so we no longer have to face those problems.

    I also find it interesting how despite the fact that zine culture came from the predominantly white punk culture, it has now become an embraced by all people as a DIY radical/alternative tool for progress.

  2. Kat Martinez

    Zines have been a source of inspiration throughout my life, and I think it is so important to cheaply distribute free information to everyone. I love the acknowledgement of whiteness in the punk scene, because, in my experience in and out of those communities, it is so largely unacknowledged and therefore problematic. The ruckus that was caused by APOC’s zines last semester shows how much more people of color need a space for their words, art, thoughts, and ideas to be brought out into our community and the world. I perused the POC Zine project, and there is a bounty of zines that inspired me to work harder in my work on the APOC zines. As Brittany said, zine culture is a DIY and alternative tool for progress, and I think we can really utilize that in a small community where information is quickly dispersed.


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