Artists and activists Layla Alter, India Menuez, and Emma Holland are not thrilled with the current state of the country. To do something about it, the three friends created Repro Rights Zine, a foldable one-sheet (that you can print for free at home right now at reprorightszine.us!) designed to help educate and empower young people on their reproductive rights.
After recruiting friends and family to help write and design the first edition, Alter, Menuez, and Holland are taking another step forward with their resistance. We talked to them about their new limited-edition collection (out today!), and what you can do to pitch in and speak out.
How did Repro Rights Zine get started?
Layla Alter (@laylalter): The morning after Trump won the election, I woke up feeling perplexed and didn't want to get out of bed. I was being bombarded with an excess of information from social media, the news, and friends and family, and I knew others were having a similar experience. I work for killerandasweetthang.com, a progressive sex education start-up, and I wanted to create something to spread information about reproductive rights in light of the election. My first thoughts were to create an easily accessible and printable booklet that would relay information on reproductive rights in a clear, reliable, and aesthetically pleasing way.
Is the zine getting a post-inauguration revamp?
India Menuez (@iiindiiia): Yes! We decided since the format of the zine lends itself so well to fold out into a poster, we would make special-edition artist posters to raise funds for an organization that works to defend reproductive rights. Working with seven female-identifying artists—Petra Collins, Alia Penner, Aidan Koch, Ser Serpas, Meriem Bennani, Lola Ogbara, and Raina Hamner—we came up with two color risograph prints of their work on 11-by-17-inch posters. All of the proceeds are going to the Center for Reproductive Rights. Accessibility has been an important factor in this project from the beginning, so we offer the smaller version of the zine for free and these posters, editioned at 80, will only sell for $20 each.
What is the most effective way to get involved in the current political climate?
Layla Alter: Go to protests, call, share, and spread knowledge and love. It's important to fact check and do your research while taking in information before re-posting. It's also important to not only share the tragedies of Trump's presidency, but also the victories we've been experiencing. Share pictures of people coming together for causes and communities that have been formed.Text Daily Action at 228466 and get updates on ways to get involved. Take advantage of living in this strange digital age to stay as informed as possible.
"Honor your rage and the rage of others, even if you can't totally understand it. Get in the streets and scream." —India Menuez
India Menuez: I think some internal work is an important factor in any revolutionary effort. To deconstruct the systems imposed on us from the inside out, and stay thoughtfully aware of how we use language in patterns that can be byproducts of the system—things like patriarchy, heteronormativity, and white supremacy are pressed upon us from day one. Honor your rage and the rage of others, even if you can't totally understand it. Get in the streets and scream.
"Be absolutely relentless. Protest everything, read about everything, cry about everything." —Emma Holland"
Emma Holland (@etilson): Know your facts! It's so easy to get caught up in sensationalizing or villainizing for shock value, but the most powerful tool people have is information. I also feel strongly about combatting the idea that there's a finite amount of injustice to go around; that by fighting for reproductive rights you're undercutting the fight for immigrants, or in marching for civil rights you're taking away from women's issues. Understand how those issues intersect and where your privilege lies and where it does not, and join all the battles. Be absolutely relentless. Protest everything, read about everything, cry about everything.
What's does the future of Repro Rights Zine have in store?
Layla Alter: We plan on updating the current zine soon and hope to explore other causes to cover as much as we can. We've seen how quickly the zine was passed around and want to continue to spread as much knowledge as possible.
Emma Holland: We want to make the zine a living thing that changes as our rights and realities change with this administration. Like Layla said, it's spread in this incredible way and we hope that we can continue to ease confusion and provide access as we get into even hazier times.
Any last words of wisdom?
India Menuez: We started this project in the vein of DIY—that's where zines come from and in any counterculture, doing it yourself is how you make stuff happen. Create your own content, bring people together, and organize gatherings to feel the energy of people working together! Be it folding 500 zines in less than an hour or calling your senators.
"Take stock of your talents and say, 'This is the thing that I'm good at and these are the things I like to do' and use those to reach people and make noise about something." —Emma Holland
Emma Holland: On a similar note, use your strengths! It's so easy to feel paralyzed in your sorrow and anger and disbelief. Take stock of your talents and say, "This is the thing that I'm good at and these are the things I like to do" and use those to reach people and make noise about something.
Swing by Repro Rights Zine's artist edition launch today from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Picture Room in New York City, or buy an artist print at pictureroom.mcnallyjacksonstore.com/store. Learn more about the zine at reprorightszine.us and follow them on Instagram @reprorightszine.