The Zine: A Space for ‘New and Dangerous Ideas’ at RWU
A new digital magazine at RWU showcases the voices, stories and experiences of RWU students and promotes critical social justice
BRISTOL, R.I. – At the leading edge of social justice movements are often individuals who shift the conversation in new directions. Their efforts are not always well received, at least initially. To push the conversation on campus and in the larger community forward, students have launched a new digital magazine that creates a space for engaging people on issues of social justice.
Published by a team of four Intercultural Center interns known as the Zine Team, the magazine – New and Dangerous Ideas – serves as a platform for RWU community members who want to express themselves or share their views through art in ways that start conversations about systems and structures of power, oppression and privilege.
The magazine name, New and Dangerous Ideas, comes from RWU’s namesake, who was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for spreading “new and dangerous ideas.”
[Video produced & edited by Justin Wilder]
The Zine Team hopes to illuminate the complexities and interplay of social justice, culture and identity to help foster more compassion for these issues and create a cultural shift on campus so people can better embody their ideas.
The yearly magazine will be a “bullhorn for people to share their ideas with the campus,” said Edmund Geschickter ‘19, NaDI’s executive secretary.
To that end, RWU community members can submit work to NaDI that runs a wide gamut of categories. This year’s magazine includes works of poetry, prose and visual art by 19 students and one instructor. Each submission shows how social justice issues impact the lives of people in the RWU community.
A poem by Katherine Vicente, for example, shares her thoughts on living as a person of color in the United States.
"I will be heard loud and clear / I'm here," writes Vicente, a sophomore who serves as president for the Multicultural Student Union. "I'm here for all the girls who don't get to go to college / I'm here for all the people of color who are told they can't do it / I'm here for a collection of people who refuse to ‘fit in.’”
In a music video, Rapper Jon Hope, who is also an instructor at the School of Continuing Studies, captures the spirt of the neighborhood in Providence he comes from that is "often overlooked or forgotten," he writes in his essay introducing the video.
The Zine Team is made up of Maria Caceres ’18, marketing and communications director; Hala Wakidi ’18, creative director; Edmund Geschickter, executive secretary; and Lily Schenk ’18, managing copy-editor.
Over the year, they have worked diligently to bring the magazine to life. The experience has honed the students’ skills in publishing, design layout, event planning, teamwork and public relations that they can apply in future careers.
MiNa Chung, associate director of RWU’s Intercultural Center, and Rach Pozerski, coordinator of residence education at Willow Hall, serve as advisors to the team. It was Chung who initially introduced the concept of an online zine that showcased the voices of the RWU community.
A nine-member faculty selection committee assisted the Zine Team in the selection process but the decisions were ultimately up to the students. Members were recruited based on their areas of expertise and their engagement on matters of social justice.
The team recently held a launch event on April 25 where over 200 guests packed the atrium in Global Heritage Hall to celebrate the inaugural issue. The event featured student performers, an art gallery of drawings, photographs, essays and poems.
Elfreda Hoff led a performance of “Afrobeat,” a dance she choreographed that embraces elements of African music and movement. “I love who I am,” Hoff said. “I just love for people to see that."
Hoff, front, performed with Emily Gravino ’20, Samantha Peck Dionne ’19 and Virakchey Chhung ’18.
In another performance, sophomore Lucy Lawlor read a poem about her grandfather and her family called “Blue."
The first issue of NaDI is online now. Early reviews suggest the magazine is on course for success because of the forum it provides the RWU community.
"People get to show who they are, share their words of wisdom and share their story and what they have gone through," said Hoff.