In February 2015, my good friend Jenny Gathright and I brought together 25 POC creative friends for a brainstorm session in the Women’s Center basement in Harvard Yard. Faced with campus publications and a campus arts scene that are overwhelmingly white, we set out to build a creative space that was made with us in mind. Out of that fateful meeting came Renegade, an art and advocacy collective by and for people of color. Renegade brings the voices of people of color to the center of campus discourse, creates a safe and affirming space for solidarity and organizing across communities of color, and serves as a platform for the unfiltered creative expression of artists of color.
Over the next month, we received over 40 submissions and officially launched Renegade Magazine on April 3, 2015 with a launch party featuring performances by POC artists at East Meets West Bookstore in Cambridge. The Renegade website got 7,000 page views within its first 24 hours online (Harvard has 6700 undergrads).
Here’s what we’ve been up to since then:
- Renegade Launch – a launch event at East Meets West Bookstore featuring musical and poetry performances by POC student artists and attended by over 100 community members
- Renegade Magazine Launch Content – the online debut of Renegade Magazine, featuring music, visual art, poetry, and essays by POC students published online at renegade-mag.com
- The Unsafe Spaces Zine – the first print edition of Renegade Magazine, more than 300 copies in print (edited by Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence and Jenny Gathright)
- A series of Renegade Tiny Dorm Concerts – concerts by POC student musicians held in Harvard dorm rooms, filmed and posted online
- A series of reflections on the uprisings in Baltimore (Spring 2015)
- A solidarity series standing with students of color at Yale and Mizzou (Fall 2016)