Edited* by Pati Garcia, POCZP Wellness Team Lead
POC Zine Project is taking #RaceRiotTour to 20 cities between October 3 - November 9 , 2013 (full list of cities & touring members to be announced September 1, 2013).
Since this is POCZP’s first national tour and it will involve over 20 rotating tour members, it was critical for #raceriottour organizers to make self-care and caregiving resources available as part of the tour experience.
We have created a wellness team as POCZP’s pre-emptive response to individual and communal needs that may come up around emotional, spiritual and physical health for the members who are present for the tour duration. Rotating tour members will also be provided with care that will be scaled to their presence on the tour.
WHY IS A WELLNESS STRATEGY A CRITICAL COMPONENT FOR THIS YEAR’S #RACERIOTTOUR?
In the absence of a wellness team in our first year, POCZP found that there was a negative impact on the performance, the interpersonal relationships between tour members as well as individual’s health.
The first tour resulted in many positive outcomes, but our own self-care practices suffered to varying degrees and that did affect how we experienced the tour. - Daniela Capistrano, founder of POCZP
Decisions around self-care would also invariably impact relationships with audiences and broader community. In addition, the absence of intentional spaces to debrief the experiences of systemic violence that we sustained; including racism, sexism and ableism, negatively affects the capacity to engage in sustained coalition and movement building. The wellness plan is POCZP’s ongoing transformative process that works to acknowledge & address these issues.
As part of our commitment to creating movements in solidarity with and as Indigenous folks that are more humane and in conscious symbiosis with all life, our practice of wellness is inseparable from our work and organizing.
As holistic health care practitioners, we are bringing resources including knowledge, herbs, tinctures and embodied practices to contribute to our individual practices of health and care as well as the communal.
ABOUT THE #RACERIOTTOUR WELLNESS TEAM
[DESCRIPTION: POCZP #RaceRiotTour Wellness Team member Pati Garcia during POCZP’s speaking engagement at the 2013 L.A. Zine Fest.]
My role [Pati Garcia] as a wellness person on this tour is to offer emotional support and presence for the tour members to be able to unwind, and chill. I’ve been trained as a shiatsu/acupressure massage therapist, birth attendant and Sexological Bodyworker/Somatic Sex Educator.
I’ve found that there are many ways to bring peace to chaotic situations and want to offer these tools as ways to cope with the rigorous schedule of a tour like this one. I want to make sure that the touring members have what they need at any given time, and that they feel supported as we trek the USA speaking on difficult subjects such as race.
The POCZP #RaceRiotTour Wellness Team are here as guides to support—with your consent.
We recognize health and safety are relative concepts that are deeply affected by social location, including ability, race and gender as examples, for the purpose of the space we share together, we are proposing these agreements:
• These are offerings, not obligations.
We are here to offer you resources and support, you don’t have to take anything.
• Practice with consent.
Both with us and others, remembering that consent is an ongoing negotiation.
WHAT #RACERIOTTOUR MEMBERS CAN EXPECT
[DESCRIPTION: Excerpt from mini #zine ‘Mapping Grief’ by anon (2013) from POCZP’s #amc2013 #poczines workshop with @moonrootzine]
The wellness team aims to provide ease with the ongoing movement of the tour. This means having primary needs covered: water, food, comfort, privacy, time alone, and time together.
Beyond the primary needs, we will provide essential and simple remedies for common ailments. Teas for stress, belly aches, head aches, colds, and menstruation.
Another element that will be available is transitioning rituals in order to properly welcome tour members and integrate them into the tour, and at the same time a ritual to ease them out when they move on from the tour.
We are aiming to make transitions smooth and intentional. In essence, we are bringing a sense of reprieve amidst a giant effort to be seen and heard as POC across the USA.
The wellness team will also do orientation calls in September with touring members who will be with us for three tour dates or more. The purpose of these calls is to compile critical information on specific needs, allergies, triggers, etc. and to help facilitate agency around defining what needs are (some people aren’t used to practicing self-care! We’re here to help).
MESSAGE FROM DANIELA, POCZP FOUNDER
We shared the mistakes we made during last year’s #raceriottour (view prezi) so that we would set a new standard for this year’s tour. In response to feedback, I prioritized Native/Indigenous Solidarity, self-care and caregiving for this year’s tour planning process.
Mainstream artists tour with their own wellness teams. People who plan corporate-sponsored tours understand the importance of having such a team in place.
With that in mind, the self-care practices of those donating their time to POCZP are just as important to nurture, so we are being proactive to address these needs to the best of our ability, as a 100% volunteer touring group.
#RaceRiotTour’s first-ever wellness team is comprised of Pati Garcia and two more TBD members(with support from volunteers).
We look forward to sharing more updates in the coming weeks.
WHERE IS THE NATIVE/INDIGENOUS SOLIDARITY STATEMENT?
Thank you for your enthusiasm! We have been working on the strategy, and that language informs the statement’s language. Our next step is to share our statement & strategy with Native individuals and orgs to get feedback.
Based on that feedback, we will modify both the statement and strategy & then share all that info by November 15. Thanks for your patience! If you are Native and/or support a Native organization and want to be involved, email email@example.com.
We will share more 2013 #RaceRiotTour member bios between now and our kickoff date, October 3, 2013 in NOLA. We have 19 confirmed touring members so far <3 Bookmark our #RaceRiotTour landing page, as we will update it with all bio links and other important information in the coming days.
DISCLAIMER: Since we are a fluid project that is constantly changing, this statement may be altered between now and the October 3, 2013 kickoff tour date in New Orleans. We will announce updates.
SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT
If everyone in our community gave $10, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2013. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to our 2013 tour, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.
DONATE link via PayPal: http://bit.ly/SHdmyh
*Kim Crosby contributed to this statement’s language. She is no longer a part of the 2013 #RaceRioTour due to scheduling conflicts. POCZP founder Daniela Capistrano also contributed to the statement.