Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora
Afro-Latina women relate their personal stories and advocacy for racial equality.
Edited by Marta Moreno Vega, Marinieves Alba and Yvette Modestin
Publication Date: April 30, 2012
Bind: Trade Paperback
“My housewife mother turned into a raging warrior woman when the principal of my elementary school questioned whether her daughter and the children of my public school had the intelligence to pass a citywide test,” Marta Moreno Vega writes in her essay. She knew then she was loved and valued, and she learned that to be an Afro-Puerto Rican woman meant activism was her birth right.
Hers is one of eleven essays and four poems included in this volume in which Latina women of African descent share their stories. The authors included are from all over Latin America—Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela—and they write about the African diaspora and issues such as colonialism, oppression and disenfranchisement. Diva Moreira, a black Brazilian, writes that she experienced racism and humiliation at a very young age. The worst experience, she remembers, was when her mother’s bosses told her she didn’t need to go to school after the fourth grade, “because blacks don’t need to study more than that.”
The contributors span a range of professions, from artists to grass-roots activists, scholars and elected officials. Each is deeply engaged in her community, and they all use their positions to advocate for justice, racial equality and cultural equity. In their introduction, the editors write that these stories provide insight into the conditions that have led Afro-Latinas to challenge systems of inequality, including the machismo that is still prominent in Spanish-speaking cultures.
A fascinating look at the legacy of more than 400 years of African enslavement in the Americas, this collection of personal stories is a must-read for anyone interested in the African diaspora and issues of inequality and racism.
“Fascinating stories by seven extraordinary women, all Afro-Latinas. In these essays they relate their stories and their efforts to advocate for justice, racial equality,cultural equity and human and civil rights.”– El Boricua
“The eleven essays in English and four poems in Spanish that comprise this work are sometimes academic in tone, sometimes political, sometimes even spiritual but always personal and engaging to read.”-REFORMA
MARTA MORENO VEGA is a professor at El Centro de Estudios Avanzados Puertorriquenos de Puerto Rico y El Caribe in San Juan, Puerto Rico; she has also taught at Hunter College, City University of New York. She is author of The Altar of My Soul (One World/Ballantine, 2001) and When the Spirits Dance Mambo: Growing Up Nuyorican in El Barrio (Three Rivers Press, 2002). Among many other things, she is the founder/president of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora and co-founder of the Global Afro Latino and Caribbean Initiative. She lives and works in New York City.
MARINIEVES ALBA is a Puerto Rican/Panamanian activist, producer and writer, who has worked in the arts, and youth and community development throughout the United States and Latin America for over 15 years. She has dedicated her life to exploring and nurturing the intersections between the arts and social justice, and issues of social and cultural rights and equity for Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and other people of color in the United States, with a special attention to nurturing solidarity, inter-cultural understanding and collaboration between Afro-Latinos and other peoples of the African diaspora. Marinieves holds degrees from Wesleyan University and New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and is a graduate of the NALAC Arts Leadership Institute and the Third World Newsreel. She is presently a citizen journalist/correspondent for World Pulse/Pulsewire, a women’s communication network dedicated to connecting women and social change work globally. She is a Community School Director in Washington Heights, New York.
YVETTE MODESTIN, a writer and activist focusing on Afro-Latino issues, was born and raised in Colon, Panama. She is the founder/director of Encuentro Diaspora Afro in Boston, Massachusetts, which mobilizes the Afro-Latino community, empowers young girls of African descent and builds bridges of understanding between African Americans and Latinos. Modestin has been profiled by the Boston Globe as “The Uniter” for her work in bringing the Latin American and African American communities together and for her activism in building a voice for the Afro-Latino community. In 2006 she was highlighted as “Six in the City” by the Boston Globe for her service in the community. She continues to address race in the Latino community and to increase awareness of the Afro-Latino/a experience.