English class makes zines in free speech workshop

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Suzy Gonzáles, co-owner of Yes Ma’am in San Marcos, shows business sophomore Jim Greisenbeck and computer science freshman Khoa Nguyen how to create a zine during “The Make a Zine” workshop Sept.24 in Loftin as a part of the Free Speech Conference. Linda Owens

Students made use of small pamphlets to express microaggressions and comment on current events.

By Linda Owens

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Zines allow writers to get their message out without a publisher, the facilitator of a workshop during the Free Speech Conference said Sept. 24 in the craft room of Loftin Student Center.

There has been resurgence of zine culture using small self-published journals, promoting poetry, art or relevant social injustices, according the website for Yes Ma’am in San Marcos.

This is the company co-owned by Suzy Gonzáles, who led the workshop attended by 11 students in an ENGL 1302 Composition 2, taught by Adjunct David Hale.

Gonzáles and her partner, Elle Minter, opened Yes Ma’am, which distributes zines, in 2011.

“We will accept submissions from anyone who wants a positive medium for their voice,” she said.

After handing out glue sticks, markers and construction paper, she gave instructions on how to start making a zine.

Gonzáles showed the students how to create a zine by folding writing paper inside colored construction paper.

The workshop focused on microaggressions and current events.

“Microaggressions are verbal phrases or action that are taken by you,” she said. “It may be demeaning in nature, sexist or racist, and it is meant to make you feel angry when you read it.”

Gonzáles said sometimes zines are political in nature and are meant to cause a reaction.

“Zines amplify your voice and are engaging,” Gonzáles said. “It is meant to start a conversation about what happened to you and how you responded; it is about empowerment.”

In the focus on current events, Gonzales instructed the class to cut out articles from copies of the San Antonio Express-News.

Students wrote about how the articles made them feel about what is happening in the world.

“When reading the zine, it is intended to relieve anger, to be cathartic and be more sensitive to unrepresented voices,” Gonzales said.

This was a good opportunity to learn about current topics with newspapers that the class would not ordinarily have access to, Hale said.

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