Huck 73: The Sanctuary Issue, stories of resilience in the age of disruption

We were ready to release our new issue back in March. Then the world fell off a cliff. Five months later, we have a magazine that exists freely between Then and Now: a collection of stories about hope and resilience, at a time when we need them more than ever.

Drag in Caracas. Hip hop in Athens. Surfing in Nazaré. Ballet in the favelas of Rio. Sand racing on the Lincolnshire coast. Introducing Huck 73: The Sanctuary Issue – stories of resilience in the age of disruption. This one took a little longer to create than usual. Order your copy now and find out more about the magazine’s journey in our introductory letter below.

So. Where to start?

Let’s try the beginning. Back in February (which, by now, feels like more than a few lifetimes ago), we started work on the latest instalment of Huck.

The working title of the issue was Sanctuary. Over the course of its 100 pages, we collected stories of refuge and resilience: people who’d found solace in a scene, movement or culture; communities who’d come together as one to protect and empower each other. While we’re always proud of the magazines we put out, this one felt special; packed full of hope and possibility.

Then everything fell off a cliff.

In March, as countries across the globe began to shut down, we made the decision to hit pause on the issue. A whole host of reasons – all of them fairly obvious – reinforced that it was the right thing to do. So, with heavy hearts, we left it to one side, all but finished and ready to go.  

As the weeks passed, it soon became clear that the landscape we’d be returning to wouldn’t be the same one we’d left. And rightly so. But when those weeks turned into months, with life changing beyond comprehension, it left us at something of a crossroads: at a time of unprecedented fear and unrest, what does sanctuary actually mean?

Which brings us here. When we first compiled these stories five months ago – written and shot by some of the best people currently doing it – we felt they contributed to incredibly important narratives. Today, with everything that’s happened since, we believe that even more strongly.

For that reason, we’ve decided to share Sanctuary in its original form, with only one key change. Before going to print, we handed the magazine back to the people featured within it, for them to annotate, update and transform. You can see those interventions – as we’re calling them – in the form of yellow post-its, which appear throughout the issue.

Those who responded to the invitation to contribute became, along with the writers and photographers, co-authors of this magazine, which exists as a fluid thing moving freely between Then and Now. It is dedicated to everyone campaigning for a better world – particularly the awe-inspiring Black Lives Matter activists, who have our unconditional support in all that they’re fighting for.

The issue is also for Aron ‘Arona’ Mújica, a colossus in the Caracas drag scene – covered in-depth on pages 26-34 – who died on 9 June, 2020 at the age of 49, just over a week after he updated his own story. Throughout his life, Aron was a beacon of solidarity for his community, whose devotion to doing what he loved was matched only by his commitment to enabling others to do it too.

If there’s anything we’ve learnt from 2020, it’s that you can’t predict what will happen next. But what you can do is trace out different possibilities, and battle for the ones you believe in. That’s certainly what we plan to do. We’d be honoured if you joined us.

Niall Flynn, Editor
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