One Zine at a Time

Making Civic Engagement Creative, Collaborative, and Even Crafty

Des Alaniz | Credit: Celina Garcia

Local chingón Des Alaniz (they/them) wanted to counter the density of voter guides and disseminate information in a more palatable way, so they sought to reach voters in a less conventional but equally engaging manner: zines. They rounded up their interested friends and colleagues, and over weekly Zoom meetings, Love Your Work Collective (LYWC) formed. LYWC has created a zine (zeen) for every proposition on the California ballot, which you may now find scattered in various free libraries, laundromats, newsstands, and other nooks and crannies throughout town. 

What is a zine, some of you may be asking. Well, simply put, a zine can be anything you want it to be. All you need is paper, a pen, and your imagination. While there are infinite possibilities, zines themselves are rather finite because they are traditionally distributed by the creators themselves and not mass produced.

Des’ first introduction to the craft was through B*tch Magazine, which unbeknownst to me, started off as a zine. During their Master’s program, a position was created for them to expand this budding zine-making passion for course credit where they instructed students how to make zines for class presentations, in addition to digitizing, creating archival descriptions and cataloging. To their astonishment, the internship later evolved into a paid gig. “I would like to think I didn’t peak then, but that was pretty lit,” they chuckle. The “fly-by-your-pants” work style and freedom of that position is also when they began making more personal zines outside of the classroom. 


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Diving more into why zines of the California propositions were so crucial, Des and the rest of LYWC – Dain Lopez, Paige Sundstrom, Torin White and yours truly –  wanted an alternative way to inform voters that isn’t a flashy targeted mailer or densely worded pamphlet. More often than not, you throw something like that away before even looking at them. Zines on the other hand, have a discreet but eye-catching quality, and you can’t help but be allured by their tangibility and the fact that somebody made the effort to construct it. That’s because the intent is different, according to Alaniz. The intent behind these zines is to give people the “straightest skinny,” and include important context behind certain propositions that may be exempt from official voting guides. 

It is our hope that these zines remind folks that even when the weight of the world makes doing your civic duty feel like an absolute drag, there are ways to engage with your community that are creative, collaborative, and even crafty.

Stay tuned for future zines by LYWC scattered throughout town ranging from an In Memoriam for disgraced Republican Senators who lost their reelection bids to our favorite food trends since the beginning of quarantine.

If you’d like to learn more about zines, or are part of a student organization interested in making zines, follow @loveyourworkcollective on Instagram or email Des at loveyourwork@protonmail.com.


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