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Students Prepare To Launch Advocacy Magazine

By Carolina I. Portela-Blanco, Crimson Staff Writer

A group of Harvard students have joined together to launch an arts and advocacy magazine to focus on issues of diversity and identity among students of color at Harvard, called Renegade, which will debut online on Friday.

The group—which is composed of visual artists, musicians, writers, and podcast makers, according to Renegade member and spokesperson Andrea Ortiz ’16—started a social media campaign publicizing the upcoming launch of the publication through Facebook and other platforms on Sunday.

The magazine’s Facebook page describes the group as “an art and advocacy collective of Harvard student artists, writers, musicians, poets, activists, and thinkers who have come together in solidarity as people of color.” The Facebook page also links to several Web platforms to showcase the group’s work, including its website, a SoundCloud profile, Twitter feed, and Tumblr.

Individual students have also changed their Facebook profile pictures and cover photos publicizing the publication. The magazine’s official Facebook page is highlighting individual members leading up to its launch.

According to Ortiz, the group was founded after a brainstorming session between a group of students in February. It will be launching its Web page on Friday and will remain based online for the time being, according to Ortiz, who described the project as a “forum where people of color can express themselves through any artistic and creative medium” in an email.

“In our writing circle, we have received a lot of essays, columns, and creative writing,” Ortiz wrote. “Overall what we feature depends heavily on what our contributors bring to the table out of their own creativity.”

Through its social media campaign publicizing the launch, the group has created a video which includes anonymous statements, many of which relate to issues of race and diversity on campus and express frustration.

“[P]eople dress up as my ethnicity on halloween,” one quote in the video says. Other statements in the video include “‘diversity’ is not just a buzzword” and “this campus was built by slaves.”

The video defines the group’s namesake, renegade, as “someone or something that causes trouble and cannot be controlled.”

The group has also made a Tumblr page titled Crimson Catharsis to serve as an online forum for discussions about identity and diversity on campus, according to a description on the blog. Posts on the page are anonymous and are not affiliated with Renegade, according to blog description, and by Monday evening the Tumblr included roughly 20 posts addressing a range of issues and institutions on campus, including Harvard University Health Services and The Crimson’s editorial board.

According to Ortiz, the group has so far received positive feedback. “Our launch has also started up many meaningful conversations about race with people from different corners of campus,” she wrote.

Multiple students who are involved in the publication declined to comment on the project before its Friday launch.

—Staff writer Carolina I. Portela-Blanco can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @cportelablanco.

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