There are infinite stories of women helping women in local communities. I launched a newsletter to tell some of them
I worked with the feminist community for 18 months, the length of my graduate program. When I joined, I was living in Mexico City. Since the beginning of 2019, the feminist movement felt renovated, it was on every news outlet, and you could see its growing presence on the streets.
So, when I had to choose a community for my Engagement Journalism M.A. it was natural for me to decide to work with this community. I knew they were receiving coverage, but I was more interested in knowing how they felt about it or if they felt something had to change.
In 2019 there had been a few crimes that upset the community and they decided to go out to the streets and ask for justice. The movement grew and grew and by March 2020, there were thousands of women marching on the streets, chanting and organizing themselves.
Because this is a cause that I care I began documenting and doing some research. Because I already knew some of the people involved in the community it was easy to get some interviews; I talked to lawyers, activists, women police officers, experts, journalists, and mothers of victims. We talked about many different topics around feminism: abortion, sexism, patriarchy, pay gap, lack of opportunities and so many more.
Then I moved to New York City, and I had to begin the process from scratch. I joined many online communities around feminism, but it was until an in-person event where I found a group of Latinxs women who were also marching and protesting on the streets. They organized a demonstration in front of NYC Public Library where they talked, sang, recited poetry, and performed the feminist anthem “Un violador en tu camino” (“A rapist in your way”).
After the event, I stayed to talk to them and learned more about why they had organized the protest and I’m glad I did that because I found interesting stories from different women who were giving their time and efforts to help women they didn’t know. That’s how I found my community and found one of the projects to develop in my master’s program.
I wanted to tell their stories — who they are, how they got involved in feminism, why are they doing what they do and what they want to accomplish with their actions. That’s how the idea of making a newsletter to profile them was born. The idea grew as I got to talk to all of them, but especially to Nizze, a.k.a Violenta.
After our first interview, we talked about developing this product. She and other people from the community wanted to start a zine to promote the events they usually held. They were also looking for a way to share some of the work she and other women did such as poetry or short stories about toxic relationships. So after I explained the newsletter idea and how it can help for those goals and other ones. They loved it.
I like newsletters because they are easy to use, cheap and you can launch one quickly. The whole process can be as complicated or easy as you want. It can be done in days and there’s no need for big investments at the beginning. It’s a very great way to do A/B tests and just try new things. So, after thinking about this for some months I finally launched my newsletter that is called “Impertinente” which translates to ‘impertinent’. Violenta thought of that name because she wanted to tell people with the name that it was for women who didn’t apologize for speaking up.
The idea is to profile the women I’ve met in this time: activists, mothers of victims, experts in the matter. Impertinente will be out once a month and it will be free to read. It’s on Substack, a platform I use for other newsletters, and I like it. I created an Instagram account to help me bring people and also help me distribute the newsletter content.
So far Impertinente has only one issue. I profiled Violenta — I talked about how I met her and what she thinks of feminism. I complement it with pictures and a video. I haven’t started to distribute the content but after posting this on Medium I’ll begin that strategy. I plan to send this issue to Violenta and ask her to post it on her social media accounts. I also plan to send it to a few WhatsApp groups I am in and where we talk about feminism. I will also post it on my social media and Facebook groups.
I am thinking it could begin with one profile, but it could be so much more with more. For example, I am thinking it could grow to be a space where we could have an online store or at least a section to promote the community’s businesses.
Regarding the newsletter’s commercial strategy, the goal is to begin raising donations after the first three issues from the same community. After winter, there are usually more opportunities to do in-person events and there’s a conversation around funding the newsletter by taking out a small percentage of sales during these events. Something around 2% or 3% that doesn’t affect women’s earnings and could help the newsletter to become a space of promotion for them.
By developing this product, I learned to explain a project to a wider community rather than just myself. I’ve done this before but because it only involved me, I didn’t have to explain everything that had to be done to launch the first issue. I also learned to be more patient and to lay the ground first so we all could understand what we were talking about. I usually work with newsletters and platforms, but I realized how that’s something not as popular as I thought, and I need to explain to all types of people that might not be as involved as I am with technology.
I am very excited to have done this project, I thought about it for some months, and I needed a push to bring it to life. I hope it can help my community and that it can work as a space to get to know amazing women, to help them and that it can be a service to the labor they do every day.