(out of stock)

Year: 2015

Description: a somewhat linear story about doing teach for america in philly, processing childhood experiences of poverty and white privilege, becoming radicalized by the horror of the nonprofit industrial complex and navigating mental health/neurodivergence in a normative, professional world.


“People Make Plans offers tours through mental health clinic waiting rooms, stages of grief, and well-meaning Teach for America programs. It’s about trying to find your place in the world and getting knocked down over and over.

Brilliantly designed with heavy cardstock covers, vellum inserts, and a cut and paste layout. 68 pages, cut half-legal size.” — Antiquated Future

“Her stomach is rough cut open. Paper flap reveals everything inside. Textures and a hidden message. A tiny envelope stuck to the inside opens, stark and to the point, not knowing exactly what it means, well, not yet.

People Make Plans deals with educator Nicolle Jennelle’s experiences within education reform. The stomach is a fitting image for this zine because everything is churning, internalised deep within her gut. The main stories are dated and stamped with location. From New Bedford Massachusetts where Nicole grew up to Portland, Oregon and many cities in between. This is made clear via her ‘Moving Around The Country In Table Form’ with accompanying analysis “Rich people ruin everything cool”.

This is part diary, part personal manifesto. The grief from her mother’s death in 2008 consumes her. It is our first glimpse into her life, to understand some of the moments that have shaped her. Moving forward to 2010, we sit in the waiting room of the mental health walk in clinic. We share the camaraderie and friendship that is experienced when you share something in common. Nicole is bipolar and her path can sometimes be interrupted. Her life is often made up of impulsive decisions that can look irresponsible or signs that she is in crisis. Many times this is not the case. The struggle is trusting in herself and for others to trust her. Epiphanies that a ‘career’ and ‘success’ are imaginary goals and this part of her story is where we get deeper into her family crisis and the cycle of being ‘fucked by the law’ and ‘saved by the law’. When you or a family member have a mental illness or grow up in poverty which is the case here.

Nicole wants to change lives, to inspire learning, so in 2010 she joined the call with 600 other young teachers with the Teach For America Corp. These ‘transported angels in yellow school buses’ are on a mission to enliven the poorer, urban students around Philadelphia. Nicole soon realises she does not fit in with the ‘positivity brigade’ that they “shoved at you with a kind of smiling violence”. A fascistic team building, chanting mind fuck cheer squad within this army of martyrs and guilt trippers. She can’t help but rebel her way, still trying to fit in, she believes in the message but not the method. Nothing can be slotted into nice neat boxes. The problem of education in poor areas is explained in her words, via her own experiences. I don’t know much about the education system in the States, though I do understand there are so many children victims of capitalism, racism and greed. Even giving her best doesn’t seem to be enough, her own past puts her in their eyes in a category of someone who needs help as well. But Nicole will prove that this is not the case. The personal touches, hand drawn notes and scribbles gives this zine an intimacy. A first hand account on the crisis. A discussion that you would be hard pressed to find like this in a mainstream publication. Absolutely adore it.” — Abbie Foxton, Zine Nation

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