Daisy Salinas inspires art activism in Latin@ communities

For Hispanic/Latin@ Heritage Month, Esperanza United is celebrating inspiring Latina artists who carve a pathway for our beautiful heritage to continue to flourish. Last week, we highlighted Black Latina writer, poet, musician and speaker, Melania Luisa Marte. And this week, we’re proud to highlight a Latin@ leader who demonstrates how visual art can be used as a tool for activism – Daisy Salinas.

About Daisy Salinas

Based in San Antonio Texas, Xicana art activist Daisy Salinas helps raise marginalized voices through their intersectional, decolonial, submission-based publication, Muchacha Fanzine. Zines or fanzines are hand-made and self-published social justice publications distributed in small circulations. Think of a tiny magazine full of cut-out letters and powerful images that can fit in the palm of your hand (or a table in a public restroom). For the past decade, Daisy has offered a space to activist communities around the world to come together in the name of education, creativity, and social justice. 

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Zines have fluctuated in their popularity, starting during the civil rights movement in the 60s and 70s, returning to feminist groups in the 80s, and regaining popularity with Gen Z. Daisy has helped keep the medium strong with their decolonial feminist punk collective Xingonas in the Pit and their book Fanzine Grrrls: The DIY Revolution in Female Self-Publishing. This library provides more historical examples of zines created by Latin@ communities and other underrepresented groups.

How she inspires us

Taking a page (or mini fanzine) out of Daisy Salinas’ art activism, Esperanza United organized a Latin@ summer youth program around zines. We collaborated with Tow Youth Justice Institute, along with the Office of Youth, Family, & Engagement at the New Haven Public School District, to educate youth about this history of zines, their impact, and how to use them as a tool for social justice. 

Colorful folded booklets adorned with “Our body, our choice” and “Get loud about climate change” passed between our student’s hands—students who were initially less than enthused about sitting in a classroom during their summer break. There is just something about the act of creating and telling a story that means something important to them that brings people out of their shells. 

This wasn’t the first time Esperanza United encouraged youth to use art activism to share their stories. Earlier this year, teens from community-based organizations across the nation came together in a participatory action research project, Photovoice. Our youth amig@s represented Esperanza United by exhibiting photos about their experiences during the pandemic. Together, youth identified mental health as a key issue affecting their communities. 

Join us

Inspired by folks like Daisy Salinas, Esperanza United keeps working to raise the voices and creativity of those around us. We encourage our communities to explore different avenues of social justice and activism. After all—who says social justice can’t include arts and crafts?

Folks who want to share stories of indigenous and LGBTQ resilience and other Latin@ experiences can submit their D.I.Y. artwork to be published in Daisy’s monthly zines. Get started and join us for a step-by-step workshop on October 5 to learn how to create your own zine!