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Organization Spotlight: Journals of Color

Journals of Color was founded by the amazing Layla Hussein and Nicaulis Mercedes out of their desire to create a school newspaper where students could express themselves in creative forms such as art, photography, poetry and prose and reflect on parts of their identity and/or community in the midst of a pandemic. Unfortunately, their school rejected the newspaper proposal, so they decided to create a literary magazine instead, an idea which also was sadly rejected. In spite of the setbacks they faced from their school, Layla and Nicaulis found a solution and established one of the first literary magazines in the Bronx. According to Layla and Nicaulis, the magazine became a platform “to amplify the vast amount of voices in our borough rather than only our school community, and allowed us to stimulate change within our localities by utilizing our writing and artistic abilities as our voices”. Journals of Color is made up of unique individuals of color who live and go to school in the Bronx. Their Board of Directors and Staff includes photographers, photography directors, artists, art directors, creative writers, writing directors, outreach coordinators, graphic designers, community and social media managers. The positions are separated into departments, and at the end of each month, they all come together to share their work to be published. The work reflects different themes every month, often which involve diversity and the stories of minorities in creative ways that mirror students’ identities or communities.

JOC’s publishing process begins with Google Classroom where final pieces of writing, art, or photography are added onto Canva in a magazine template. Then design elements are added such as cover art, a table of contents, a creative writing section which contains art behind the writing, and a photobook. Finally, the magazine is published on where it allows anyone to view its pages.

To get involved with Journals of Color and become part of their staff, students from the Bronx can apply via their ( They also accept submissions from students outside the Bronx via their website, Check to apply today!

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