By Melanie Davis, Ryn McCoy, and Maya Vivas
It’s hard to believe it has already been that long since the start of Proud Queer Monthly. Taking stock of that marker of this publication’s development, I recently had conversations with our core team about where they are and where they are headed in the realm of independent media. Through those conversations I learned that Brilliant Media’s art director, Christopher Alvarez, is at a point where he wants to help our communities in a different role. He started here with Brilliant Media in 2004, right out of college, and we have seen and done a lot together. I am forever grateful to Chris who has been more than a colleague and friend — he is family. Chris, with all of me, thank you — the revolution needs you and we look forward to witnessing your many victories! #VivaLaCausa
Even as I say a heartfelt goodbye, I am honored to bring on board some new faces. Maya Vivas is an artist and graphic designer, and will be replacing Christopher Alvarez as art director. Also joining the Brilliant Media team is Ryn McCoy as editor. Leila Haile is also contributing their genius to our team as an editorial advisor. Please join me in welcoming everyone to the team!
I want to give a special thank you to Leila Haile, who is also providing us with work space every Thursday at the Sankofa Collective office at the Q Center during business hours.
It’s been five years of #ProudQueer, and 36 years of El Hispanic News; that’s 41 years of collective media experience, and we are not done yet! We have long been at the forefront of this industry for our communities. From day one we have been using queer and gender-inclusive language in our media space while successfully challenging our colleagues to begin incorporating this practice into their language. We use 70% recycled paper product and soy ink as a standard, because we understand that what we produce needs to go back to the earth. As a Queer Woman of Color I bust my ass to pay our team within the top 10% margin of the industry. And in every edition this brilliant team co-creates, we tell the truth. Our truth, the truth about politics, the truth about pain, how colonialization has affected us as queers, and the truth about how we can be better.
Recently, people keep asking me: “What do we do in this terrifying political environment?”
Here is my response: open your heart and listen, listen with all of your being to Black women and other women of color. I cannot stress this enough. The matriarchs in communities of color have survived and thrived for eons. (This is not gender-specific; matriarchs take many forms.) The world is waking up to the atrocities “those people” have been subjected to, because now there is danger of being subjected to the same. As this global unrest grows, we can look to these matriarchs for love, support, real talk, and downright survival tactics that may get us through safely. As a unified society we have never tried this before. Now is as good time as any to start …
Melanie C. Davis
Owner, Publisher — Brilliant Media llc.
A New Chapter
We think the existence of this publication is important here in Portland. There is a particular kind of validation in seeing our community’s voices in print — it is evidence that we are not alone, that there are others around us that believe these stories, our stories, are worth writing about, and are worth spending time and money and energy to share in this tangible ink-and-paper form.
It is nothing new that the documentation of stories of marginalized peoples is something that has been stolen, ignored and blatantly erased. We would like PQ to be beacon of light in the long history of dampening down minority voices. There are boundaries as to who matters enough to be uplifted via the written word. Publications like PQ chip away at those walls, and with our collective voices in harmony we set out to build a new structure of inclusivity.
We have already begun to ask what our communities want to see in this publication, and so far most answers seem to fall under the same category: us. We want to see ourselves in all our intersectional complexities, and we want to see all of us, which inherently requires focusing on the most underrepresented. We want to ensure PQ is always a platform for trans and queer voices, black and brown voices, undocumented voices, indigenous voices, voices living with physical and mental disabilities, immigrant voices, youth and elder voices, voices living in or near poverty, and all of the voices between and beyond these that need to be lifted up.
We are motivated and excited at the opportunity to serve and expand the Proud Queer community. Our communities have a lot of work to do, loving and uplifting each other as we fight for our basic human rights, but together we can speak our truth and we can be powerful.
Editor – Brilliant Media
Art Director – Brilliant Media