For two years, Arthur Newspaper has been guided by co-editors Zara Syed and Yumna Leghari. Passionate journalists, activists and feminists, Yumna and Zara are committed to creative integrity and to representing the voices of first generation Canadians and women of colour in the Peterborough community. Their Arthur celebrated art, poetry, music, books and drinks at The Only. The last two volumes have seen a range of beautiful covers and compelling features devoted to exploring anti-oppression issues relating to women, Indigenous people, trans people, and others. Both Yumna and Zara have kept their vision for the paper concise yet imaginative, and as both readers and writers, we thank them.
“Insight is power, and pen is permanent. As long as there are strong minds, voices, and intentions, there is no silence in the face of adversity. You will see art, music, and flesh. Art has timelessly stood as a stubborn cliff, challenging the ocean of industry that has risen over the centuries.” – Yumna, Editorial Platform, March 23rd 2015.
Arthur has benefited from two strong minds, and has flourished in its recognition of art, politics, sexuality and the environment while underscoring the significance and permanence of the written word. Zara and Yumna supported campus and community initiatives and strengthened ties with Trent Radio. A simple search through the “Features” on trentarthur.ca shows what Arthur is about: celebrating marginalized voices; a tight-knit local scene of music, grassroots film, visual arts, poetry and words. These words shape our beliefs, world-view, morale and personal interactions. Arthur leaves me thankful for language, for words and for the spaces in between the words.
“We believe in ethical journalism, and an open and transparent policy. Regardless of our biases, we will not censor any voices as long as there is no inherent hate speech within the message; we welcome all facets of thought. Bottom line: we love this paper and we want you to love it too.” – Zara, Editorial Platform, March 23rd 2015
Thank you to my co-editors Zara and Yumna for being an integrally devoted part of this independent press, for staying up until dawn crafting it, for supporting us through our artistic processes, for their leadership through Arthur’s inevitable rocky bumps, for reconnecting me with the Peterborough and Trent communities, and for rekindling my love for the arts.
I used to hate Peterborough before I met these two. In one of Zara’s interviews with Maryam Monsef, Monsef points out why Peterborough is an important city to start your journey from; it gives people the opportunity to work locally but think globally. Zara and Yumna have been my Monsefs since 2K16 and I cannot thank them enough for the opportunities and perspectives they have given me throughout our work and friendship. I truly believe Yumna and Zara are the only women you can meet from Trent who are unreservedly accepting of any kind of people, colour, religion, food, or culture. I have loved Peterborough for the past year since meeting them.
But hey, let’s “thank the men in our lives too” (Sophie Trudeau, 2017). ZAF, thank you for introducing me to them, and thank you for being there for all of us when we needed that great brain of yours.
I don’t have much to say, except “thank you”. But I want to fill up more space than that so…I don’t know, guys. When I originally applied, I didn’t even think that I would get an interview, let alone a position. But you supported me from the get-go. You allowed me to cultivate my music writing, and pushed me to create. When I was comfortable enough, you supported my insecurities, and helped me to branch out. You made me feel like a member of a community that I never thought I would belong to. I can’t thank you enough. You’re gonna be my editors forever. (Sorry, Dan & Josh). I love you both very much.
Not having published anything since winning that primary school writing competition, starting at Arthur was incredibly scary. Luckily, Zara and Yumna were there to help me grow as a writer and as a person. As editors, they provided me with the support I needed to write confidently and have fun forming my own style. They’ve always helped me improve my skills, adjusted to my schedule and given me extensions I didn’t deserve. As friends, they have been there to share many laughs, hugs, meaningful chats, and relief from the stresses of university. It has been a pleasure to work under such talented, creative and badass editors. I await future laughs and adventures, and to all the times I will complain about Dan and Josh.
Having a very limited background in journalism, stepping into the position of a weekly reporter for Arthur earlier this year brought me feelings of simultaneous anxiety and excitement. Thanks to the supportive, engaging environment provided by Yumna and Zara, feelings of doubt were quelled as soon as I began, but the excitement has persisted. Their willingness to put in the extra time to their work and eagerness to provide both personal and professional support to staff did not go unnoticed.
In order for an organization as special as Arthur to thrive, it needs not only hardworking volunteers and employees, but also an editorship that truly cares about the organization.
Meeting Yumna and Zara, it doesn’t take long to recognize the passion they two have for this newspaper and school. Casual conversations about work often transform into informative, lively discussions about Arthur and Trent University’s dynamic past and present.
Their fantastic work ethic and kindness, as well as their breadth of experience and knowledge regarding Arthur and its important role in the lives of so many Trent students, is something to be admired. I am honoured to have worked under such amazing women.
Zara and Yumna, while you will be missed dearly by Arthur, I am confident you will succeed in whatever you set your minds to, and wish you the best in your future endeavours. I’ll see you at The Only!
My first interactions with Yumna and Zara were defined by competition. I wanted to be the next editor of Arthur, and thought I could do a better job than them. About a year has passed since then and it’s absolutely wild how much more I’ve gained from cooperating with Zara and Yumna than I did from competing with them. Under their editorship and guidance, I have been given a platform and guidance which will inform my editorship with Dan Morrison. I can’t wait to see what these two get up to in the future, and they will always be welcome at Arthur anytime they please, especially during production night.
Thank you, Zara and Yumna, for brightening Arthur’s pages with vibrant energy and jubilant celebration of everything diverse and beautiful in this community. Your Arthur will be remembered as rich with colour and exploding with joy, and you will be remembered as the editors who smiled Arthur through the storm.
We have been weaved into each other’s lives for the last few years and have had our ups and downs. Everything from taking our pick of amazing summer stories while getting a tan (well, I was) in the sun at Silver Bean, to when our Business Manager told us, “guess what—you’re broke!” You two always had my back in providing opportunities whenever possible, and I could not thank you enough for including me in Arthur and all it entails.
Good luck in whatever the future brings to you both.
-Jordan Porter, Arthur Reporter
Representation matters. Providing spaces to make representation possible is vital, and Yumna and Zara have done just that. They have created opportunities for diverse voices within Trent to be heard. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity they gave me this year, the chance to fully explore and find my voice. They uplifted a fat, black, queer, Indigenous woman from the ‘hood who thought the only acceptable place for her words was on a Facebook status. I can honestly say that this paper and these two beautiful and amazing souls have changed my life for the better.
Thank you Yumna and Zara for helping so many of us fly.