“We are relevant.”
The Women of Color in Comics panel at New York Comic Con 2018, organized by Women in Comics Collective International, was an informative and inspiring experience for attendees.
The panel consisted of Vita Ayala, Cryssay Cheung, Jamila Rowser, Barbara Brandon-Croft, Camilla Zhang, and moderated by Regine Sawyer.
Sawyer asked the panelists: “Do you think this panel is still relevant?” to which Barbara Brandon-Croft answered, “We are relevant.” Zhang discussed the importance of creating safe places and bringing in marginalized speakers to panels like this. Rowser noted the panel is “still necessary due to the racial issues” we are facing, and “we are sharing information to make comics better.”
The panelists also examined the changes they observed in the industry as the community is becoming more vocal. The inclusion of non-white creators in comics and more online support for the community are some changes the panelists observed.
Rowser also asked the panelists: “what changes would you like to be made and how do you want it to be done?” Rowser wants “more platforms for people of color to promote and share their work.” She also wants to see “different creator stories to be heard” and having “non-famous people of color creating comics.” Zhang would like to see “real human connections to made” amongst within the community and beyond.
The discussion turned to the pushback against diversity and how to respond to it. Zhang advised the best way to address the pushback on social media is to “report abusive behavior” because “there is nothing they hate more than being silenced.” Zhang was referring to online trolls. Barbara Brandon-Croft recommended “tak[ing] a break from it all” by logging out. Vita Ayala urged the community to support each other because online trolls can’t bully a group, having controlled responses, demonstrating empathy, protecting yourself, and promoting a creator’s work.
One audience member asked the panel how to find mentorship for women from marginalized communities. Ayala advised reaching to creators through social media and email and being professional in responses. Cheung also gave the same advice.
Overall, the panel was incredibly educational and encouraging for audience members.