VidaAfrolatina is an initiative created by Luz Marquez Benbow and Lori Robinson. We prioritize wellness and safety for Black Latin American and Diaspora women and girls. We're committed to ending child sexual abuse and all forms of sexual violence, affirming Black identity and building sisterhood. 

Luz Marquez Benbow

For more than 15 years, Luz Marquez Benbow has worked on issues related to sexual assault. In the late 1990s, she served as the Director of Outreach and Policy for the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault. In 2003, Luz co-founded the National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA).

During her 10-year tenure with SCESA, she was the Associate Director and worked closely with national policy advocates and members of Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2005 and 2012. Most notably, Luz co-led efforts to develop VAWA’s Culturally Specific Grant Program to ensure that all national violence against women policy encompasses the needs of Communities of Color throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She also worked to reauthorize the Family Violence Prevention Services Act of 2010.

Prior to working on sexual assault issues, Luz worked within the disability rights movement, with a primary focus on self-advocacy, community inclusion and leadership of people with disabilities.

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, incest and rape, Luz is very passionate about ensuring that the voices of Communities of Color are included in all aspects of ending violence against women. Over the years, Luz has articulated the connections between sexual assault, the history of enslavement of African people and colonization throughout the western hemisphere. This links our collective struggles as people of African descent throughout the Americas.

Luz is a Black Boricua mother of three and wife.

Lori S. Robinson

Lori S. Robinson is an award-winning journalist and the author of“I Will Survive: The African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse.” She has spoken about sexual violence, and the intersection of racism and gender violence, in more than 20 states and in three foreign countries. She is a rape survivor. 

In addition to covering sexual violence extensively, Lori has been writing about Black populations in Latin American countries for 20 years. As a freelancer, her work has been published in the Washington Post, The Root, Ebony.com, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune and several national magazines. 

In 2016, she was selected as a “Gabriel García Márquez Cultural Journalism” Fellow by the Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano. Also in 2016, she was chosen as a “Bringing Home the World” Fellow by the International Center for Journalists. For both, she traveled to Colombia to report on the crisis of violence against Afro-Colombians. In 2013, she was chosen as a fellow by the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Lori has served on the Board of Directors of When and Where I Enter, Inc., a Houston-based foundation that gives grants to grassroots organizations supporting Black women and girls in Latin American countries. She is passionate about bridge building and collaborative advocacy among African Diaspora women throughout the western hemisphere.

Lori is an African American who has worked in, studied in or visited nine Latin American countries. She is a native Washingtonian.