One of the many lessons of the past few months is that accessing reliable information isn't always easy. Blocking your Pizzagate-truthing former schoolmates on Facebook is a good start, but how do you get crucial facts in front of the people who need them most? India Menuez, Layla Alter, and Emma Holland had an idea: zines. Inspired by the innovative nature of DIY culture, the three artists and activists created a radical, downloadable zine containing important facts about our reproductive rights, and the possible threats to them presented by the new president. The aim was to get Repro Rights Zine out of the East Coast bubble and into the hands of teens in more conservative parts of the country.
The zine's second issue, "Self Defense Starter Kit," has the same goal and the same enterprising grassroots vibe. It's a foldable, pocket-sized adaption of eight "WISE" self defense video tutorials, by directors Robie Flores and Alison Withers and badass Muslim black belt instructor Rana Abdelhamid. Robbie and Alison are friends of the zine creators, and were inspired to create their video series after hearing about the rise in hate crimes following the election. India, Layla, and Emma also liked the way self-defense reminds women that it's okay to take up space — one of Repro Rights Zine's founding beliefs. The customizable cover art is by Areeba Siddique.
"Immigration policy and Trump's travel ban are issues we all feel really strongly about and have discussed how they could translate into a zine. But because the information is so state (and sometimes even city) specific, and changes so quickly, we hadn't come up with a good solution," Repro Rights told i-D ahead of the Issue Two launch party and workshop on Saturday. "We loved that Self Defense Starter Kit's videos emphasized tactics for Muslim women being targeted, while also remaining useful to all minorities experiencing hate."
Self Defense Starter Kit is aimed at women and minorities of all ass-kicking abilities. Emma has been watching videos and taking classes since she was 11, Layla is new to self-defense — although it was always on her mind as a young girl growing up in New York City — and India used to take Thai kickboxing at a tween. "Having a practice of movement that makes you feel embodied is important no matter what form it takes," India said. "But it has felt also important to try learning more specifically about techniques of self defense because this world is scary, and even if you don't find yourself personally under attack, it's important to feel equipped to step in when you see others under attack as well!"
Download the zine here, email the moves to your friends in Minnesota, and fight back against close-mindedness. Repro Rights Zine is also selling limited edition posters from female-identifying artists including Petra Collins, Ser Serpas, and Aidan Koch, with proceeds going to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Text Hannah Ongley