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Magazine gives LGBTQ and BIPOC youths in Nanaimo a place to share writing and art

Literacy Central Vancouver Island presents third issue of ‘Place Magazine’
LCVI youth literacy co-ordinator Quillénge Sepulveda helped assemble the latest issue of ‘Place Magazine.’ (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

Young people from the LGBTQ and BIPOC communities are expressing themselves creatively in the latest issue of Literacy Central Vancouver Island’s youth magazine.

On Feb. 24 the third issue of LCVI’s Place Magazine hits the shelves at Well Read Books. The publication is funded by B.C.’s Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Division and features writing and visual art by 13-to-30-year-olds living in the mid-Island.

“Place is a way for us to celebrate their passion and their creativity and then also have them feel heard in their community,” said Quillénge Sepulveda, LCVI youth literacy coordinator.

The issue includes poetry, short stories, collage, digital art, charcoal drawings and photography, Sepulveda said, and covers themes of identity, self-exploration, advocacy, activism and “a want for change.” Sepulveda said it was important for Place to focus on LGBTQ and BIPOC youths because those voices are being “stifled.”

“Now more than ever … these voices, especially youth voices from these communities, need to be brought to the forefront,” they said. “I know they have just a plethora of knowledge to share and they’re often not valued as having that knowledge.”

Some of the material was collected when LCVI put a callout for submissions, but Sepulveda also visited schools and LQBTQ and BIPOC youth groups and held workshops on writing, self-expression and critical thinking.

“We examined things like power in our society and who is writing about us and what are they writing?” Sepulveda said. “That was the main focus of our workshops was to take the power back into their hands and have them write and speak about themselves instead of somebody writing about them.”

Sepulveda said it was insightful to hear the youths discuss their experiences and “how they navigate the world.” They said it was inspiring and made them realize how youths “really are a voice for change.”

“As a person of colour and as queer person and a trans person, this has been a little bit of a labour of love and resistance,” Sepulveda said. “And I’ve loved not only getting to further know my communities in Nanaimo but I’ve loved getting to explore alongside them what this issue means to them.”

Place Magazine will be available at Well Read Books, 19 Commercial St.

RELATED: Magazine collects stories and art by Nanaimo youths experiencing homelessness

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