Interview with Marlin Ramos and Reina DuFore, founders of LUMXN (@lumxnzine), a zine that highlights and promotes intersectional womxn doing unconventional advocacy work in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) area.
1. How do zines validate marginalized experiences?
Zines are all about community and highlighting marginalized voices and ideas, which is what makes them so unique and essential. LUMXN captures the rawness of being a womxn of color. However, instead of just focusing on the challenges, we focus on how we overcome them and exist freely. A lot of our content reads like a stream of consciousness or diary entry, and that’s the point. The imperfections within our zine are intentional.
2. Your mission statement alludes to the different steps of a journey. Where is LUMXN on its journey?
We love this question! There’s this diagram used in psychology called “The Comfort Zone” that illustrates the experience of growth. Right now, we would say LUMXN coexists in the “Learning” and “Growth” zones. We’re learning how to improve the publication and handle challenges as they come with grace. We’re growing because we set new goals all the time, and we’re so ready to bring them to fruition. We’re focused on building community—creating space that allows womxn of color to just be.
3. In light of the recent Black Lives Matter protests, do you think readers will find solace and empowerment in LUMXN?
We really hope so! At the heart of our zine are the teachings within Audre Lorde’s essay “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power.” Lorde talks about how our feelings have immense power, yet we were taught by the oppressor to devalue them or feel ashamed of them. By spotlighting the authentic stories of womxn of color, we aim to recenter that power. We hope that our zine gives Black womxn especially a chance to slow down, tap into their power, and feel fearlessly—that in itself is revolutionary.
4. What DMV artists are you currently excited about?
We’re fond of the work of Rhythm Bowers (@pompo.ai), who created a connect the dots of a sankofa—an Adinkra symbol that represents learning from the past—for our most recent print. Poet Ornella Baganizi (@itsornella) explores themes related to her African ancestry and growing into her womanhood; her work is powerful and romantic at the same time.
5. We were happy to see the work of the Museum Shop’s own Jennifer Albarracin featured in LUMXN’s most recent issue. What about her art will resonate with your readers?
We love Jennifer’s work and are so excited to have her beautiful photos in this issue! Her series “Dreaming in Gold” encapsulates the unique tension between the modern and the ancestral. As womxn of color, we feel like we’re always navigating that tension, finding power and wisdom in it. We hope that our Latinx community sees themselves, their friends, and their families in her series. We also hope that it makes readers feel empowered to connect with their roots and find strength in their past.