In Dallas’ refugee-rich Vickery Meadow neighborhood, there’s a group of artists that’s determined to change the conversation around women and race. These artists are young, but age doesn’t stand in their way.
The local Trans.lation art collective in the heart of Vickery Meadow is a safe space – for immigrants, refugees and anyone in the community who wants to be heard. Today, it’s reserved for four young women: Sade Velazquez, 12; Jasmin Quintanilla, 18; Htee Shee, 17; and Rooha Haghar, 17.
They, along with four others, came together a little over a year ago to publish “Zine-X.” It’s a small booklet – 4 by 6 inches – filled with poetry, original sketches, collages and other artworks. Jasmin Quintanilla launched the zine, inspired by a documentary about the Riot Grrl movement – the underground punk feminism of the ’90s.
“Girls around the world are never represented enough or they never get a chance to actually speak their voice,” Quintanilla says. “So ‘Zine-X’ is kind of like a way for girls in the neighborhood, who I know don’t really get a chance to speak out about things they’re uncomfortable with.”
Things like politics, racism, xenophobia and sexism – things that have touched every corner of these girls’ lives.
“I think now with the political climate, things that I create always have that message of ‘This is what I’m fighting for. This is what’s wrong,’” Quintanilla says.
A lot of that is how women and people of color are treated in public spaces. Sade Velazquez is Quintanilla’s little sister, and at age 12, she’s sick of being told that she doesn’t get it.
“Because I am young, and adults don’t take young women seriously, and especially young women my age,” she says. “They think they know what’s right for you, and that makes me upset.”
Read the full story and check out the zine at artandseek.org.