October 5, 2015 ~ Issue 1
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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.

As a first-generation Panamanian American, 
Sarah Taylor embraces the best
of both of her African and Latino ancestries. 

Early life experiences developed her consciousness of her Afro-Latino identity as unique and separate from the strict "Black," "White," and "Latino" labels that have traditionally defined American racial attitudes. Motivated by this consciousness and a burning desire to impact her community, specifically the Latino community, Sarah decided to apply her wealth of public service experience to the realm of nonprofit leadership. In 2012, she launched her first non-profit venture, Yo Soy Ella, Inc. which translates to "I Am She." "We are whoever we wish to be,
wherever our dreams takes us; we let our dreams become us." YSE seeks to empower and mentor Latina women using a cultural, strength-based approach, integrated with spiritual guidance.

As a life-long change agent, Sarah is fueled by a passion for improving the quality of people's lives. Her passion is evidenced by her long-time commitment to public service. Sarah currently works for the Office of Refugee & Resettlement as a case coordinator for unaccompanied minors apprehended while crossing U.S. borders. For several years now, Sarah has worked directly with Latina women in many capacities relating from privileged resources such as cultural therapeutic counseling. 

For more than 2 years, Sarah worked with the State of Illinois' Division of Child Protection as a child abuse investigator. Prior to that, for 6years, she worked at the Department of Human Services. At DHS, she applied her clinical skills to serve African-American and Hispanic clients, all while challenging disparities and inequalities faced by disadvantaged populations and addressing the lack of cultural services in diverse communities in Chicago.

 Sarah holds a Bachelors degree in Social Work from Northern Illinois University and a Masters of Social Work (with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health) from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work. She also received a certification in Clinical Social Work for Latinos from the University of Chicago. Sarah is proud a member of Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, Inc., Enchanting Eta chapter. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Jamil and their English bull-dog, Bentley.
Yo Soy Ella Inc. is a non-profit organization that services Latina women with workshops of spiritual mentorship and empowerment. Our workshops are facilitated in a life-class group setting in which women are able to address life’s challenges by empowering oneself through spiritual awareness, self-preservation dialogues, and renewed learning. We invite Latina participants of all socio-economic backgrounds to invest their time in a community of spiritual enrichment and responsibility.
Elizabeth Acevedo was born and raised in New York City
and her poetry is infused with her Dominican Parents'
bolero and her beloved city's tough grit.

She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and an
MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. With over twelve years of
performance experience, Acevedo has been a featured performer on BET and
Mun2, as well as delivered a TED Talk on the importance of the human connection.

She has graced stages nationally and internationally including renowned venues such
as The Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, the Kennedy Center of the
Performing Arts, and South Africa’s State Theatre; she is also well known for 
poetry videos which went viral and were picked up by UpworthyEveryday Feminism, and For Harriet.

Acevedo is a National Slam Champion, Beltway Grand Slam Champion, and
2014 Women of the World Poetry Slam representative for Washington, D.C,
where she lives and works. 

Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Acentos Review,
The Ostrich Review, Split this Rock, Callaloo
Poet Lore, The Notre Dame Review,
Rappahannock Review, 
and Locked Horned Press. Acevedo is a Cave Canem Fellow,
Cantomundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer's Workshop. 

Her manuscript, Blessed Fruit & Other Origin Myths, was a finalist for Yes Yes Books’
chapbook poetry prize and will be published in fall of 2016. 

Just some of Elizabeth's poetry:
Afro-Latinas Ysaunny Brito & Lineisy Montero Feliz on the September 2015 cover of Mujer Única.
Afro-Costa Rican

Penned  By, About, and For Us!

"In The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao, Oscar Wao — a nerdy Dominican kid from New Jersey — struggles between his identity as black and Latino, especially when he leaves for college. There, the white kids treat him with 'inhuman cheeriness' and the colored kids declare that he's 'not Dominican.'" 

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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