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.
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Nearly There: A Queer POC Zine
What: Nearly There is a zine project meant to address the serious absence and silencing of stories about the experiences of queer people of color. After years of going to zine fests, libraries, bookstores looking for queer zines and POC zines and finding few to none, after years of existing as a queer woman of color and being sidelined in all those communities, and after years of always hearing about a potential zine project like this waiting for someone else to start it, the time is right for us to begin showcasing and prioritizing our own shit. For those of us who occupy the spaces of both queer and of color (along with all our other identities), this project is about creating an arena where we can listen and be heard, find commonality and difference, and leave a mark in the making of our own queer history and POC history.
Who: Knowing full well that for many of us, terms like queer or LGBTQ+ often do not and cannot truly measure who we are but being limited by the lack of other terms, this project is for, by, and about queer/LGBTQ+ youth of color including those of us who are
low-income/working class, 1st/1.5/2nd/3rd generation im/migrants, city based, Mestiz@, Chican@, rural based, bi/multi racial or mixed, undocumented, same-gender-lovin, formerly or currently incarcerated, parents, dark skinned, from any spiritual background, college educated, butch, femme, aggs, street-involved, etc, etc, etc.
Theme: For this first issue, the theme is relatively open and inclusive of any issue, concern, or interest of queer POC. Ideally looking for submissions about in/visibility in queer and POC communities, discourses on coming/being out or not, finding and creating queer POC spaces, and more. Email me with your questions! Submit: stories, poetry, non-fiction (in any format), drawings, photos, raps, and portraits, rants, quotes, essays, etc.
Send submissions and inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: August 1st 2012
Alert! We Need Your Help Today!
Our December RENT is due and we WILL be short unless you make a donation today. We’ve already raised $185 in monthly donations. We need $286 (rounded to $290) by THURSDAY to meet our goal for this month.
Here’s what you can do:
1) Make a one-time donation via Chip-In (below)
Note: The ChipIn goal is the cost of our monthly operating budget, less the amount of sustainer support we have already. Click here to view detailed budget w/ pledges.
2) Become a Monthly Donor at $10-20/month
This will make us VERY happy! To sign up, go to the sidebar at www.qwocboston.org, then select your preferred level to subscribe.
QWOC+ Boston has not just lasted — it has GROWN — after five years of community-based support, and our community has been better for it. Our needs, our goals, our direction — no watering down our mission for the sake of chasing grant money. We listen to YOU, only, and thus rely on your support to keep up our work!
Please consider making a donation today AND encouraging at least one more person to do the same.
We know we can do this. Our community always comes through. We appreciate all your support in advance.
One-Time Donation via Chip-In
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A Personal Note from Spectra:
In the spirit of QWOC Week, we wanted to highlight some of the people that have made it possible to create such an amazing calendar of events.
Since we’ve made it our mission to create spaces for women of color, we have found that people often forget about the “+” in our name, which stands for allies. But the truth is that so much of the work we do wouldn’t be possible without the help of others who are just as dedicated to this mission, which, in addition to the women of color community, includes our close friends, families, and allies. One such person is Beth Rubin, a self-described “queer femme ally” and a new member to the QWOC Week organizing committee.
Beth has volunteered for QWOC+ Boston at a number of events — she says OUTSPOKEN will always be her favorite — but this year, she decided to roll up her sleeves to help with QWOC Week 2011. And lucky us…! Beth has been a valuable asset to the committee, working both online and offline to coordinate the closing ceremony and recruit collaborators for QWOC week. She brings great ideas and positive energy to meetings week after week, but most importantly, she gives the BEST hugs, hands down.
We thought you all should know what an awesome person Beth is to us. We can only hope that allies everywhere follow suit, in being as open, humble, supportive, and truly passionate about increasing visibility for women of color as she has been, without the rhetoric, without the dos and don’ts, but rather, with so much heart. Thank you, Beth, for being the fierce queer femme warrior woman that you are.
Read her short interview below — written and compiled by our intern, Lina! — and leave Beth some purple love.
How long have you been involved with QWOC + Boston and what attracted you to the organization?
I have been involved with QWOC for just about 2 years now. I began attending events, and then it came time for QWOC Week 2010, and it was so incredible that I’d wished I could have gone every night. I went to Strut, and Outspoken (and as someone who appreciates burlesque, drag, and most of all spoken word, I was on cloud nine!), and then volunteered as well. Each event was more amazing than the next. When I volunteered, I felt welcome, and as though I was contributing to something important.
What project or event has been your favorite to work on and why?
Last year volunteering at Outside the Box was fantastic. It made me want to be more actively involved with QWOC, and I had an excellent time. I met fantastic people (including the lovely and talented Vivek Shreya who performed that night) and I got the behind the scenes look at all of the little things that make great events come together. I also saw my poet friend Idalia perform her work for the first time on stage that night, which was memorable.
This year as an organizer I’m on the committee for the QWOC Week Closing Party. I’m excited to see how QWOC Week 2011 unfolds, with all of the awesome events that are scheduled, culminating with this party we are planning, where everyone can come back together, and celebrate the collective energy that builds throughout the week.
Could you share any particular moment or anecdote from a QWOC + meeting or event that has really stayed with you?
This is my first year volunteering on the organizing committee for QWOC Week. Friends convinced me that being a part of the planning process would be fun; they convinced me that I could do it, so I took the leap. I’m so glad I did. Everyone has so much going on, with careers, home, family, and their fabulous lives! Somehow, though, they get themselves there. They drag themselves, half-exhausted, with sometimes-empty bellies, to make it to these evening organizer’s meetings. They take on these tasks, which they accomplish somehow, on top of everything on their plates. I have done a bit of event planning, but more so for one event. It is seriously impressive to see how much work goes into making QWOC week happen. There are milestones to be met, and there’s work to be done, but somehow there are enough people invested in the process to share the load. Collaborators and sponsors and volunteers somehow appear when they’re needed. People want to reach out and help. It stays with me that people everywhere I look seem to want to step up to the plate and support QWOC.
What advice/insights would you offer to allies looking to build stronger ties with POC organizations like QWOC+? What do you think makes you a good ally?
It may sound strange, but the best thing I can say is that I have learned about being an ally by seeing examples of the kind of ally I DON’T want to be. People who have a point to prove, or a degree that makes them think they know more about a topic than those who have lived it. People who think it’s about them. Guess what? It’s not. They embarass themselves without even knowing it, by puffing out their feathers, or quoting theory that makes them think they get it. Embrace the not knowing. It’s humbling as hell. That you actually just listen. That is a sign of respect.
We hear you really love your job! What do you currently do for a living?
I am an American Sign Language interpreter, which is the most fantastically un-boring job ever invented for someone like me who loves variety, people, adventure, and language.
What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
I am a social butterfly! Surrounded by friends is how I prefer to spend my time. Artsy, poetic and musical fun most of all. My goals this year are learning to play poker, and also Bollywood dancing.
Feel free to leave a comment for Beth. And when you see her during QWOC Week, please thank her again on our behalf for all the love and support she’s given QWOC+ Boston these past few years. She does love to give hugs, though, so don’t say we didn’t warn ya!
For Immediate Release:
Queer Women of Color Week Uses Art, Performance, and Dialogue to Address Segregation in Communities of Color
“QWOC Week is important because it’s the only event of its kind…It recognizes, cherishes, and celebrates my WHOLE identity.”
Boston, MA, July 18th — Join Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston) for their 4th annual week-long pride festival, QWOC Week, taking place this year from Saturday July 30th – Saturday August 6th.
This year, QWOC Week, known for its eclectic back-to-back schedule of innovative art, discussion, and community-building events, is focused on increasing solidarity between LGBTQ communities of color by creating space for a myriad of affinity groups. A highly anticipated annual spoken-word and live music showcase, OUTSPOKEN — The BLACKOUT Edition, will feature an all-black lesbian performer lineup this year, including nationally reknowned black lesbian poet Letta Neely, and reigning local slam poet, Porscha (who will also be competing at the National Poetry Slam taking place in Cambridge the following week).
Founding Director, Spectra A. I. Asala says that whatever the theme, OUTSPOKEN always attracts all kinds of people who are eager to learn about issues impacting queer and transgender women of color in general. “The performers are unapologetically loud and proud, and it’s refreshing, especially since the experiences of LGBTQ people of color are often over-politicized as hot button “issues” or trivialized via “at-risk” statistics. OUTSPOKEN is an empowering celebration of who we are as LGBTQ people, but as women of color as well.”
The intentional focus on women is clear. QWOC Week’s opening panel, “Trans Women of Color Speak” hosted in collaboration with TransCEND and Mass Transgender Political Coalition, brings forth an important conversation about the role of transgender women of color in stonewall in light of their subsequent marginalization within the gay movement. The event encourages both queer and trans communities to work together towards creating safe spaces for transgender women of diverse cultural backgrounds.
But women aren’t the only affinity group being highlighted during the week. This year, QWOC+ Boston has teamed up with Mass. South Asian Lamba Association, Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (QAPA) and MAP for Health to address the lack of visibility of Asians/Asian-Americans within the broader LGBTQ community of color. “At my school, I’ve seen first hand how the queer Asian community is deliberately passed over and seen as ‘the other’, even when they are the most vocal in the LGBT POC community,” remarked Wellesley student organizer (and 2011 Point Foundation scholar), Erika Turner. Turner, who is also part of the planning committee for Family Day in the Park — an all-ages, youth- and family-friendly event in Stony Brook, JP, credits her commitment to creating supportive spaces for LGBT women of color to the positive experience interning with QWOC+ Boston in 2010. “QWOC Week is important because it’s the only event of its kind,” she says, “It has been the only Pride I’ve experienced that recognizes, cherishes, and celebrates my WHOLE identity.”
QWOC Week is being planned and executed entirely by a grassroots group of volunteers and dedicated community supporters. Collaborators include The Network/ La Red, an organization dedicated to ending partner abuse in LGBTQ communities, Black and Pink, a prison-abolitionist organization, The Bisexual Resource Center, and many others.
“All our events are open to everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, hence the wide range of collaborations,” says Asala, “Plus, they’re fun! There’s something for everyone, whether you’re new to Boston, artsy, political, love the outdoors etc. We want our friends, families, and allies to be part of this amazing week.” For more information about QWOC Week, including the full schedule, visit http://www.qwocboston.org/qwoc-week/ or the official registration page at qwocweek2011.eventbrite.com.
A limited number of spaces for press (and community leaders) to attend the closing reception on Saturday August 6th are available. Please send all inquiries to email@example.com, or contact Spectra at 617.871.0431
List of Collaborating Organizations
Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) (Gold Sponsor)
Emerson College, Office Multicultural Student Affairs & GLBTQ Resources
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
Mass. South Asian Lambda Association (MASALA)
Mass. Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)
Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (QAPA)
Suffolk University, Office of Diversity Services
Suffolk University, President’s Commission on the Status of LGBTQ Faculty, Staff and Students
Suffolk University, President’s Commission on the Status of AHANA Faculty, Staff, and Students
Power Lesbian Network (PLN)
The Network / La Red (TNLR) (Platinum Sponsor)
Transgender Care and Education Needs Diversity (TransCEND)
***SURVIVOR KITS FOR THE NETWORK/LA RED
This year we are also holding a Survivor Drive for The Network/La Red, a wonderful organization dedicated to support services and addressing partner abuse in LGBTQ and polyamorous communities. Please consider contributing one of the items listed below.
Food Gift Cards (Shaws/Stop& Shop/Star)
CVS/Rite Aid Gift Cards
Charlie Cards with stored value
Movie Theater Passes
Lotion (Small Bottles/Travel Size)
Reusable water bottles
These items may be dropped off at the follow QWOC Week Events:
-7/31: A Discussion about Open Relationships & Polyamory
-8/3: Activism & Karaoke* – BRING AN ITEM TO DONATE & GET IN FOR FREE!
-8/6: Family & Youth Day at the Park
*We’re asking all guests to bring donations to gain entrance to this event (or pay a $10).
QWOC WEEK 2011 SCHEDULE
NOTE: All events are open to the public (i.e. everyone) except where specified.
Saturday July 30th 2PM – 5PM
A Discussion about Open Relationships & Polyamory in Queer/Trans Communities of Color
In collaboration with The Network/La Red & The Bisexual Resource Center
Harvard Democracy Center | 25 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Facebook Event |
Sunday July 31st @ 3PM – 7PM
Old School Meets New School T-Dance
In collaboration w/ Spectra Events’ Power Lesbian Network and Boston Black Women’s Health Initiative
Redd’s | 4257 Washington Street, Roslindale, MA 02131
Monday August 1st @ 6 PM – 8:30 PM
Opening Panel – Trans Women of Color Speak
In collaboration with Transgender Care & Education Needs Diversity (TransCEND), Mass Trans Political Coalition (MTPC), and Suffolk University Offices of Diversity Services.
Suffolk University Law School (Sargent Hall Function Room) | 120 Tremont Street, 1st floor
Facebook Event |
Tuesday August 2nd @ 6 PM – 8 PM
Building Bridges: Queer Asian Experiences in LGBTQ Communities of Color
In collaboration with Mass. Area South Asian Lambda Association (MASALA), Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance (QAPA) & MAP for Health
MIT Room 36-112 | STATA CENTER 32 Vassar Street Cambridge MA 02139
Facebook Event |
Wednesday August 3rd @ 6 PM – 9 PM
Activism & Karaoke: The International Edition
In collaboration with Black & Pink and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
(Drop Off for Week-Long Survivor Kit Drive for The Network/La Red)
CLUB CAFE | 209 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA
Cost: Donated Items or $10
Thursday August 4th @ 7 PM – 1 AM
OUTSPOKEN – The BLACKOUT Edition produced by Spectra Events
Queer & Trans People of Color Spoken- Word & Live Music Showcase
Co-sponsored by Salacious Magazine
OBERON | 2 Arrow Street Cambridge MA
Facebook Event | Tickets ($10 Online, $15 at the Door)
Friday August 5th @ 7 PM
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTIVISM: QWOC Film Night
EMERSON COLLEGE | 150 Boylston Street (1st Floor), Boston MA 02116
Facebook Event |
Saturday August 6th @ 12 PM – 4 PM
Family Day at Stony Brook Park
Supporting Organizations: Boston GLASS and Greater Boston PFLAG
STONY BROOK PARK | Jamaica Plain, MA
Facebook Event |
Saturday August 6th @ 8 PM – 1 AM
QWOC Week Closing Ceremony and Dance Party
In collaboration with Spectra Events
The Midway Cafe | 3496 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
Cost: $5-10 Online, $12 at the Door
Facebook Event | Tickets ($5-8 Online, $10-12 at the Door)
“Maybe you just needed a little dick”, said a catholic mother to her youngest child, a lesbian, after it had been revealed this particular 16 year old had been raped for the second time. As a youth worker in the LGBTQ community, I have had to bear witness to many awful and disgusting forms of abuse from parents that kick their kids out on the streets, medical organizations that refuse to treat transgender clients, educators that call their students faggots, dykes and worse…What is hard for many people to hear when I retell these stories of abuse, is that often the abusers acting in these situations are doing so out of love- often in the name of God. I heard a poet ask once, what the world would look like with more love. Well, this is what the world looks like when faith and love are used as weapons.
From government sanctioned discrimination to the internalized force that drives many in our community to drugs and alcohol, it has become my belief that the number one way to create a society that is safe for all folks regardless of their sexuality/gender identity is to address religious based oppression. We cannot sit idly by and avoid the religious debate. We must welcome it. Face it head on. We must create a worldwide dialogue in which we reach beyond people’s intellectual selves and touch them where their morality and compassion lies. For many, this is the function of their faith.
The organization I work for, Soulforce (www.soulforce.org), is a national agency that targets religious-based oppression impacting LGBTQ people. Every 2 years or so, we organize a two- month bus ride around the country for folks 18-30. On this social justice excursion we stop at various religious universities and organizations that have anti-LGBTQ policies. From there, we
hold dialogues, trainings and information sessions with members of those organizations and surrounding community members on creating safer and more affirming spaces. This being our biggest program, the Equality Ride was started in 2006 and has helped to change policies and anti-LGBTQ practices at institutions all over the country.
Currently, we have an open application process for the 2012 ride that closes the 1st week of August. I would like to challenge each and every one of you that seeks to create lasting tangible change for LGBTQ people to consider getting on that bus. As a Black/Trans activist and educator, I know the impact I have seen in my community when we are able to walk people through these very important discussions. Whether you claim Christian like my mother, Muslim as my father, Atheist as my sister or simply aren’t sure where you fall on the spectrum yet- you are welcomed here. We want folks of all kinds, colors, ablenesses and backgrounds. This is
where change happens. Do you have what it takes to get on the bus?
Transgender Asian American artist Kit Yan has been creating spoken word for almost a decade, bringing his art and activism to the world. He has encountered unfortunate circumstances that are creating barriers on his journey of bringing queer, trans and Asian art to communities around the country.
As a strong community of queer and trans people of color, we — QWOC+ Boston, who he proudly supports every single year — should consider helping him get back on tour and back into the studio. Through his Kickstarter campaign he’s taking pre-sale orders for albums and offering lots of other exciting merchandise and incentives. Please consider donating a few dollars to keep Queer and Asian art alive! It’s really easy and takes only a moment of your time.
By donating just $10, you will receive a digital copy of Kit Yan’s new album one week before it’s release!
For just $30, you can receive the awesome limited-edition “My Gender is Fuck You Mind Your Business” tote bag with a copy of the new album inside!
There are many more wonderful rewards for various contributions including tickets to a house show, personalized poems, and producer credit on his album! Check them all out at Kit Yan’s Kickstarter Campaign!
I cannot describe how excited I am to tell you that our beloved 2010 summer intern, Erika Turner (and my adopted lil sis) has been awarded a 2011 Point Foundation Scholarship! If I’m not mistaken, the Point Foundation is the most prestigious scholarship dedicated to supporting LGBT people in their educational endeavors. Erika, we are SO proud of you.
Erika charmed (and educated) us all last summer via her bi-weekly blog, where she talked about everything from being a young queer woman of color in search of community to activism as an expression of love, and — of course — her experience interning at QWOC+ Boston, which she very generously refers to as what further galvanized her leadership and student organizing on Wellesley’s campus.
Since ending her QWOC+ Boston internship, Erika has been a passionate ambassador for QWOC+ Boston on her campus, spreading the word about our work and really upping our profile with Wellesley students (thank you, Erika!). More importantly, she galvanized BlackOUT (Wellesley’s student group for Black lesbian, bisexual, queer, and/or questioning students), spear-headed an inter-college spring social for LGBTQ students of color (which was such a huge success, they’re going to do it again!), and is currently preparing to study abroad for a year in Japan.
But wait, I’m not done yet! Erika’s new project is creating an online platform for queer students of color living or studying abroad to blog about their experiences. As if being a certified trailblazer on her campus and now nationally isn’t enough.
Erika, I am sure I speak for everyone when I say that we are all so very proud of you. By working as hard as you do, not just for your own gains, but to improve the livelihood of others around you, you’ve inspired me beyond words, and I’m sure others too. As my little sister turned warrior woman, you are way more than just an intern that passed through; you are proof, that the greatest gift we can give to the world is in the form of our authentic selves, to each other. I can’t tell you how honored I am to have met you.
Please scroll down below to read Erika’s bio on the Point Scholarship site. And be sure to leave a comment letting her know that you’re proud of her too!
East Asian Studies
Erika Turner grew up her mother and sister in the suburbs of Las Vegas. While in high school, she was surprised to discover that two of her closest friends identified as queer. Their love and support was key in her acceptance of herself as a lesbian. Though her father, step-parents and older sister were supportive of her sexual orientation, her mother found it hard to accept. She feared that Erika’s sexuality, coupled with her gender and race, might hinder her ability to succeed academically and professionally.
Undeterred, Erika became a leader in her school newspaper and earned over twenty writing awards for her journalistic and creative writing endeavors from sophomore to senior year. She graduated Liberty High School as one of the top students in her class. Upon entering college, she became more interested in social justice issues and become the sex and sexuality chair of Wellesley’s once-homophobic black social organization, Ethos. After interning with Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+) over the summer and forming a close bond with her supervisor and mentor, Adaora Asala, she returned to Wellesley for a second year as the co-sex and sexuality chair of Ethos and formed blackOUT, a social and support group for queer and questioning students of African descent. Currently, Erika is preparing to spend her junior year at Japan Women’s University and Waseda University’s School of International Liberal Studies. She plans to continue working with Ethos and blackOUT while abroad and upon returning to the States in her senior year. She is also working on a blog dedicated to the experiences of black and queer students abroad. With her passion for writing and social justice, Erika hopes to enter the professional world of mainstream media to help increase and diversify the visibility of LGBTQ people and people of color. Her mother is extremely proud of her.
We invite you to join us for a series of panel discussions — complete with networking — about all things startup, entrepreneurship, and organizational development. Events will feature the opportunity to share expertise and ideas via themed panels on topics such as “Social Media Marketing”, “Branding and Identity”, “The Pros and Cons of the LGBT Niche”, “Effective Networking” and much more!
CALL FOR FEATURED SPEAKERS AND “QURUs”
Featured Speakers own/run their own startup, brand, or business and will get the opportunity to share their experiences via our opening panel; we are specifically looking for people to share stories about how they grew their businesses or overcame specific challenges.
Qurus will serve as moderators for the small group break out sessions; they are experts and as such will be more valubale as group facilitators on the topics of their expertise. If you are interested in being a Quru, then you must be prepared to answer questions from inquiring minds and guide the small-group discussion.
- You must identify as a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and/or Queer community; there are many events in Boston geared towards startups and small business owners, but not many that seek to intentionally empower and educate the LGBTQ community in the areas of business and commerce.
- Your business or startup must have existed for at least a year (even if unofficially). Your tax documents are of no concern to us. Your creative mind, drive, and perseverance carry much more value.
- No business is too small to participate; solopreneurs are welcome. We are looking for individuals who have experiences to share — success and fail stories are equally as valuable as long as they can illustrate learning moments in easily digestible ways.
- All sectors are welcome to participate, including startups from the non-profit sector, social enterprises, new media and technology projects, and non-traditional careers such as in music, the arts, hospitality etc are VERY welcome!
RSVP and Submit Your Profile for Consideration HERE