November 2, 2015 ~ Issue 2
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Afro-Latina ~ A woman with roots from any Latin American country
that is of, relates, or celebrates African a

Es Mi Cultura spreads awareness of the wonderful contributions Afro-Latinas are making to further advance our presence. Each month this newsletter spotlights Afro-Latinas and all their sabor, provides links to various articles and personal stories penned by, about, or for Afro-Latinos, along with book features, and additional information.
While this newsletter is aimed towards Afro-Latinas— we need to see people who look like us. Es Mi Cultura is for readers of both genders, all races, cultures, and backgrounds.

Crystal Roman, a native New Yorker of Puerto Rican
descent, launched
the Black Latina Movement in 2008. 

She began performing BLM’s first written theatrical piece: a one woman show about the lives of dark-skinned Latinas and African American Latinas entitled, Black Latina.  

Ms. Roman produced and directed Memoirs of a Black Latina, which premiered in the Texas Black Film Festival, the International Women’s film Festival in California, and screened at the 4th Annual African American Conference in Harlem. The film was also screened at the 2010 Dominican Independence Day event. Memoirs of a Black Latina was screened at the 2011 Pan-African Women’s Action Summit and aired on Minnesota’s Comcast channels for Hispanic Heritage Month.

In 2010 Ms. Roman began crafting her first off-Broadway production: an all-Black Latino/African American production entitled, The Colors of Love. In 2011 she expanded on The Colors of Love franchise and co-wrote 5 episodes for season one of its television series. In 2013 The Colors of Love was an official selection of both the October Film Festival and the 12th Urban Mediamakers Film Festival.

Ms. Roman has also expanded her philanthropy work, appearing as a plenary guest speaker at the 2011 Minneapolis Pan-African Women’s Action Summit. Ms. Roman was a panelist at the 2012 Black Latino Consortium at Morgan State University in Baltimore Maryland (where Memoirs of a Black Latina was also featured). Most recently in 2013 Ms. Roman was featured at speaking engagements for Latino Authors and Writers and at Byrn Mawr College Reshaping Representation: Afrolatinas Creating Positive Media.

The Black Latina Movement (BLM) strives in the advancement of the Black Latina voice. Whether sharing our experiences through music, theater, and/or film we continue to use these forums as a vehicle to showcase our talents. We dedicate the Movement to exhibiting the beauty and harmony of both African and Latino cultures and our ability to stand firmly united regardless of our geographical locations. We push to not only have our experiences heard but to also show the multitude of faces and realms that Black Latinas possess. The Black Latina Movement also focuses on the Black Latino community as a whole by incorporating our Latino brothers in many of our ventures and endeavors.

*BLM Production Updates: Black Latina, the Play resumes its college tour February 2016. The Colors of Love web series will air its final episodes of season 1 this Winter. The Colors of Love play will have a limited engagement exploring Black love for Black History Month 2016. Of Mothers and men will return for a week long run during Women's History month March 2016. Get more information by visiting the BLM site.
La Galería Magazine provides content that encourages dialogue, celebrates the community, and inspires action among Dominicans of the Diaspora. Our magazine discusses, deconstructs, and explores traditional Dominican symbols, ideologies, and customs in order to better understand our community, history, and culture. La Galería Magazine documents and celebrates the stories of the Dominican Diaspora. La Galería Magazine understands that our stories and perceptions are different, and that only through dialogue can we begin to respect and understand one another.
  Meet the La Galería Magazine Team Below!
Photo by: Emmanuel Abreu
Amanda Alcantara is an Afro-Latina writer, journalist, and community organizer currently living in the Bronx. She is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of La Galeria Magazine, a magazine for Dominican Diaspora, and author of the blog Radical Latina.

Amanda writes about the intersections of gender and race from a political and personal perspective. Her work has appeared on Telesur, Remezcla, Feministing, Guerrilla FeminismEl Diario, and other publications. She’s a firm believer in healing through art and in fighting for liberation. A map of the world turned upside down hangs on her wall. he received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies and Political Science from Rutgers University, with a minor in French Literary Studies. She is currently pursuing an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University. 
Comments by Amanda: 
For me to be afro-latina is to embrace every part of me. It's been a difficult process because we live in an anti-black society where I was taught from a young age to hide my blackness, or rather to deny it. Yet not anymore! I am learning everyday to love every part of me and to understand that no identity is monolith. 
In many ways, La Galeria Magazine for me has been a space to celebrate Dominican AfroLatinidad. Still, beyond that, it is also a space to connect the wider Dominican diaspora and to share our stories of love and struggle in a society that denies so many parts of our culture, whether that be the strength of our women, our LGBT movements, our afro-roots, or the history of pain followed by resistance that is essential to understanding our country and ourselves as people who carry that legacy. 
Photo by: Vixon John
Ynanna Djehuty is an Afro-ascendant woman with roots in the Dominican Republic, born and raised in the Bronx.
She is a midwife, reproductive health

activist and writer.

The focus of her work is the empowerment of women and people of the African Diaspora. A young energetic speaker with the experience of an elder expert, she utilizes her experience as a midwife and reproductive health advocate to raise awareness on maternal and reproductive health for women, highlighting the disparities in the healthcare system in the United States for women of color. Triumphing over her own personal challenges allows her to connect on an even deeper level with her audience. In October 2009, the Afro-Dominican speaker published ‘Hija De Mi Madre’ (My Mother’s Daughter), a combination of memoirs, poems and research material focusing on the effects of race on identity. Ynanna is one of the co-founders and the associate editor of La Galería Magazine, an online publication for Dominicans of the Diaspora. She is also pursuing certification as a Certified Professional Midwife.
Comments by Ynanna:
Since its inception and first issue, La Galeria Magazine has been a platform for Dominicans to speak about their struggles with racism in both the American and Dominican culture. We have attracted writers who not only write about their experience as Dominicans in the diaspora but also articulate how they have come to embrace their African roots. With the recent ruling in the D.R regarding Haitians and their citizenship, we have noticed the necessity to be vocal about the historical roots of the problem.
Photo by: Merelis Catalina Ortiz
Isabel Cristina is a 25 year old Afro-Dominicana. She is a blogger, organizer and aspiring writer. 
She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the City College of New York.

She is a lover of books who writes stories inspired by the Dominican diaspora. Having emigrated from the Dominican Republic as a young girl, the process of immigration and her memories of the homeland inspire her writing. She is a co-founder and the Executive Administrator of La Galería Magazine. She is also a Core Sister of the Sister Circle Collective and a firm believer in creating safe spaces where women could come together, organize, share stories, and empower one another. For more info on Isabel you can check out her blog Reclaiming Isha.
Comments by Isabel:

The purpose of La Galería Magazine for me is to bring the Diaspora together, and like our mission states, inspire action. Our magazine is a place where people can come and see their views reflected or learn about the perspective of others. It is a virtual safe space were Dominicans of the Diaspora can identify as Dominicans without having to fit into the molds often imposed of us. It is also at times a place were people can make peace with their identity, their origins, and their ancestors. 

Many have contacted us or attended our events and shared that they've never had Dominican friends or that their blackness was often a source of conflict with their identity as a Dominican. They feel relieved to have found people who can empathize and understand their experiences, as well as, honor it. And that is the beauty of a Galería; it is a space where everyone is welcomed and dialogue and debate is always encouraged.
Afro-Puerto Rican actress Jeimy Osorio covers the November 2015 issue of Vanidades magazine.
"Children of Hispaniola" ~ A digital Illustration created in response to the racial divide and turmoil caused by 2015 residency/deportation laws established in the Dominican Republic. - Cathy Charles


"On Saturday, October 3, 2015, Ain't I Latina? hosted its first-ever “Afro-Latinas Who Rock” Awards Brunch. Held at Taj Restaurant and Lounge in New York City, attendees gathered to celebrate Afro-Latinas who are pushing for our narratives to be heard and revolutionizing the spaces and industries they occupy.  

The honorees included
Zahira Kelly, sociocultural critic, artist and activist; Nadia Lopez, founding principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy; Crystal Roman, founder and CEO of The Black Latina Movement; Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, president and founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute; Erica Nichole, creator of EverythingENJ and Love & Relationship Editor at xoNecole; and Seven Brown, founder of Harlem Skin & Laser Clinic, philanthropist and beauty expert."  

Click each photo see what the honorees had to say regarding identity and more.

Penned  By, About, and For Us!

Born Dominican, But Locked Out By Haitian Roots and Lack of ID

Why Gina Rodriguez Speaking Out On Not Being "Latina Enough" Resonates As An Afro-Cubana

La Negrita Speaks Out

Groundbreaking New Series Gives Afro-Brazilians Representation... 

Not Just A 'Black' Girl

Charlie Villanueva & Others Explain The Afro-Latino Experience 

Bridging The Gap

Ecuador to Include Afro-Ecuadorean History in Textbooks

Living Color ~ Latinos, Skin Color and Light Privilege 

Growing Up Black Latina Was Hard But Beautiful 

Afro-Colombians Condemn Blackface Soldier TV Character 

African History in Puerto Rico

The Moment I Understood What My Mother Meant By 'La Sangre Llama'

Latinos Break The Mold ~ Gloria Malone

5 Reasons Being Afro-Latina Is Unique

Meet French Afro-Cuban Twin Music Duo IBEYI...

Junot Diaz Standing Up For Haitians Is A Good Thing
Feliz Día de la Independencia, Panameños!
3 de Noviembre
Mama's Girl ~ On the streets of Brooklyn in the 1970s, Veronica Chambers mastered the whirling helixes of a double-dutch jump rope with the same finesse she brought to her schoolwork, her often troubled family life, and the demands of being overachieving and underprivileged. Her mother—a Panamanian immigrant—was too often overwhelmed by the task of raising Veronica and her difficult younger brother on her meager secretary's salary to applaud her daughter's achievements.

From an early age, Veronica understood that the best she could do for her mother was to be a perfect child—to rewrite her Christmas wish lists to her mother's budget, to look after her brother, to get by on her own.Though her mother seemed to bear out the adage that "black women raise their daughters and mother their sons," Veronica never stopped trying to do more, do better, do it all. And now, as a successful young woman who's achieved more than her mother dared hope for her, she looks back on their mother-daughter bond. The critically acclaimed Mama's Girl is a moving, startlingly honest memoir, in which Chambers shares some important truths about what we all really want from our mothers—and what we can give in return.

Es Mi Cultura is published every first Monday of the month by Tamika Burgess. Tamika is Afro-Panamanian and is a NYC- based writer, blogger, and editor. Learn more about Tamika by visiting her blog, The Essence of Me.

Connect with Tamika
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