2019 Emerging voices scholars:
DeShanda williams & erin Magennis

Started for the 2018 festival, the MZF Emerging Voices Scholarship continues to encourage brand new work, and underrepresented voices in the world of zine creation. Milwaukee Zine Fest recognizes that supporting new publications, and diverse perspectives keeps our community dynamic, evolving, and sustainable into the future.


FINAL DeShanda Williams Headshot.jpg

hey deshanda, tell us something about yourself:

“As a Queer, person of color it is important there are resources and support available for youth and young adults seeking safety, community and education that directly apply to their identities and the experiences that naturally occur with these identities. In my experience I have been committed to the advocacy, love and support of queer youth since I was a teenager. 

“Currently, I am working with youth dealing with homelessness at Pathfinders, and I am a counseling intern at the LGBT Community Center. In both settings, youth are often looking for resources that are youth-friendly and tailored to LGBTQ identifying people. In a world where people are seeking safe and supportive others, it has been important to me to be one of these safe people; someone out here that loves and supports you for who you are and who you are working towards. I want LGBTQ+ people to know their identities owe no explanation; they are owed respect for being who they are, as these identities cause no harm to anyone.”

tell us something about Your zine:

“I will be creating a new zine specific to Transgender resources. This will include resources for LGBQ people, and queer people of color, focusing on specific resources available here in Milwaukee that people may not know about. There is legal help for name changes, community members and agencies that support transitions, health professionals that are respectful and supportive of trans health, peer/support groups, and clothing/accessory assistance. 

“Creation of this zine will be a project that includes focus groups, asks community agencies to educate us on their resources, and receives youth feedback on their experiences. Ultimately I’d like to create a zine that fosters positive youth development and leadership, specifically empowering the Queer community and beginning conversations that surface from the intersectionality of issues and barriers that come with these identities.”


hey Erin, tell us something about yourself:

“I believe that everyone has the right to live their optimal life. When I was in high school I was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) a form of dysautonomia. Although quite unrecognized, it affects 1 in 100 people. Due to POTS I had to drop out of all sports, stop all involvements, lose my friends, and go to school part-time. I learned that without good health, nothing else matters. 

“This drove me to get certifications in holistic health, fitness, yoga, and study neuroscience, biology, and chemistry in college, all while working full time.  This ultimately caused me to burn out so to reset myself I solo backpacked around Europe for 3 months this past summer. While traveling, it really sank in how similar we all are: I met people from all walks of life. We all have goals, things that make us feel alive, fears, and obstacles in our life. We all struggle at different points to find connection and feel meaning. Every interaction I had, if I looked, I could see myself in that person, even though their story might seem to be completely different from mine. 

“Every year on my birthday I give myself a gift. This year it is to know my voice and to use it. To me, using my voice means sharing my story in ways that might be more vulnerable for me. This scholarship will push me to use my voice, share my story, and feel more comfortable doing so in a creative way.”

Tell us something about your zine: 

“My zine will focus on the theme of ‘Seeing the Invisible.’ I think it is really important and relevant to many people either from a personal perspective, or to better understand others in their lives. Everyone has invisible struggles that we might not openly show the outside world, but when we take a moment to look around and analyze the people around us, we can see a glimmer of what they might be facing. 

“The zine will showcase my experience with POTS (which is an invisible disorder: others often can’t see the symptoms) and showcase the stories of people that I have met. Through my experience with POTS I will be able to give an accurate voice and point of view of this experience, and through my travels I will be able to represent people I met from all around the world. The zine will focus on a feeling of deeper connection with others, and inspiration of how we are more similar than different.”