Submit! Nearly There is a zine project meant to address the serious absence and silencing of stories about the experiences of queer people of color.
The Whirlwind of Planning QWOC Week 2011: Our Summer Intern’s Inside Scoop
As the QWOC+ Boston summer intern, the majority of my duties this summer have been related to the planning of this year’s purple pride extravaganza – QWOC Week! This has been a challenging and heartwarming journey. I have had the pleasure of working with a diverse and committed group of people. Each one of the volunteers and organizers welcomed me with open arms. As we approach the culmination of all our hard work, I am anxious to see the outcome unfold – to see this great community come together to connect and grow.
Just like in any grassroots work, the going is not always as smooth as one would like it to be…actually, it’s never as smooth as one would like it to be. During the brainstorming phase of planning, we had sheets filled with ideas for each day of QWOC Week and the best venues everyone could think of. However, as each planning meeting came and went our choices were often fewer and fewer. At times we were limited by high costs and a lack of communication from venues or collaborators, just to name a few obstacles. It is certainly frustrating to see amazing potential be limited due to lack of funding or support from other community organizations.
However, all of the challenges have been outweighed by the enthusiasm and hard work of a great team of volunteers. Most of these individuals have full time jobs and many other responsibilities. Yet, week after week they have happily attended our meetings and put their best effort into the project. Just when I would resign myself to the idea that something was simply not going to come together, one of our caring supporters would step in and save the day.
The most amazing aspect of this whole process has been the environment that QWOC + Boston creates. It is wonderful to sense the unanimous cheering and support when someone announces that they had the courage to come out to their family. No matter how long or draining, ending a meeting with news that someone will soon be marrying their beloved partner is exhilarating and provides a great deal of perspective. It is extremely rewarding to see new friends look forward to their first queer anything like a “kid at Christmas.” Ultimately, each one of us is working to reach out to queer people of color with the goal of creating more spaces like this one; to encourage personal connections that result in a strong commitment to support each other and to tackle the issues that affect the QWOC community.
As a college student, this experience has renewed my faith in the world outside of my world. I realized, for instance, that although everyone involved with QWOC + Boston has real world responsibilities and challenges, an organization like this one can still be strong and effect change.
So to those individuals that have been critical to the success of this process I say, Thank You! You bring comfort and hope to those, young or not so young, who are often afraid of and disappointed by the world.
To those of you who have the opportunity to attend QWOC Week, I invite you to enjoy the product of this labor of love.