By Tanya Sotelo
To say that this was not the roaring twenties that I think many of us had anticipated, is a gross understatement. The year started off as most New Year’s do with the clamoring on social media of “This is the year that everything is going to change! This will be my year to….!” While the former definitely came into fruition, granted not in the way I am sure most people meant, the latter equally has brought up possibilities that I do not think many considered. If the world had kept its course, I do not think as many people would find themselves in the year 2020 working to dismantle systems of oppression.
The pandemic and the protests against police brutality created the perfect storm of people being out of work and afforded the time and ability to mobilize in a way that frankly I do not believe has been possible in any other time in recent history. I don’t want to say that these events have brought to light the disparities in wealth, education, and health care. That state sanctioned brutality is rare, it’s not and has been a constant injustice that has been well documented to affect minorities and the disabled.
Of course, this is nothing new if you are a person of color, black, indigenous, LGTBQ, disabled or any human who happens to be a minority, this is a place we are familiar with. We are disproportionately injured, killed, and sentenced more harshly than our white counterparts. We know that we are still not equal, we do not have equity and we have inherited the plethora of disadvantages that have been passed down from generation to generation. What is new is more and more people who are not looking away. People are actively working to dismantle racism and prejudice within a much larger scale than ever before. Uncomfortable conversations are being had with friends, family, and colleagues. Relationships are breaking down and being rebuilt or we are finding that they are unrecoverable and are letting go.
We are on the precipice of change and while the media coverage may have slowed down for the time being the momentum and action of the people has not. I am seeing solidarity in so many intersections. I see battle cries rising for other causes, advocates sharing resources. Hurt people reaching out to other hurt people saying I see you; I stand with you, I will fight alongside you, and for you.
Being part of the DSTL Arts family I have seen this solidarity displayed across Concha’s y Café, Artblock and Aurtistic Zine. I look back at the last coffee shop meeting with the Aurtistic team. We shared stories of the microaggressions and dismissals of medical professionals. Between the brainstorming and planning the theme unanimously agreed upon was Advocacy.
While our zine was curated with submissions primarily focused on self-advocacy or advocating for our disabled children, being that our contributors are diverse in all aspects, experiences of dealing with discrimination subtle or blatant is woven into the fabric of the stories and poetry. It is in the lines and brushstrokes of the illustrations and paintings that grace the pages of our offerings. We celebrate and honor the work and creators soon the latest issue will be shared with the public.
As we adjust and evolve as individuals navigating these strange tumultuous waters, so too does Aurtistic. We feel strongly that our Autistic contributors should have an opportunity to not only share their art but they must also be part of the decision making and behind the scene creative process. I am happy to announce the creation of a guest editor position open to our Autistic contributors and followers.
The content displayed here is submitted by various local authors, artists, and more, and is curated by the DSTL Arts Art Block Zine–Editorial Board. Works published here are done so with the permission of all artists involved. Artists hold all rights to their work, and none of it may be reproduced without their permission.