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March 2021

VidaAfrolatina Announces Inaugural Grants for Black Women-Led Organizations in Latin America Addressing Sexual Violence

VidaAfrolatina is thrilled to announce our inaugural grantee partners. Selected through a participatory process, four organizations in Latin America led by Black and Afro-descendant women will provide culturally relevant healing experiences in their communities and will launch initiatives to reduce and, ultimately, eliminate sexual violence.

 

While commonly perceived as a gender justice issue, VidaAfrolatina recognizes that sexual violence is also a racial justice issue. Women of African descent have been victims of sexual violence disproportionately throughout the Americas since the transatlantic slave trade began 500 years ago.

 

Without investment in Afro-descendant women’s solutions for their own communities, the structural, intersectional issues that perpetuate sexual violence will continue on largely unabated and ignored. VidaAfrolatina strives to fill a void in resources to strengthen and expand the work of Black women’s organizations.


While Afro-descendant women have been widely victimized throughout the Americas, they have asserted their skill, wisdom and bravery as organizers, human rights defenders and agents of change over the past five centuries. VidaAfrolatina is honored to partner with organizations taking up the mantle of leadership realized by maroon leaders Polonia in 16th century Colombia, Dandara in 17th century Brazil, and many other women known and unknown who mobilized, innovated and struggled for justice and peace.

Eighteen organizations submitted proposals and selected awardees through a democratic review and scoring procedure. This participatory process produced a strikingly diverse cohort. Every region of Latin America is represented. Project leaders range in age from 20 to 48. Their projects incorporate a variety of modalities to foster healing and create systemic change, including digital animation, *escrevivencia journalism, photovoice research and African heritage herbalism. 

VidaAfrolatina is committed to participatory grant making because it inherently shifts power to

the historically excluded. Our model allows for Afro-descendant women, who understand better than anyone the problem of sexual violence as it impacts their lives and communities, to guide funding decisions and determine their own solutions.

Sexual violence rates have increased, economic hardship has intensified and inequity has deepened during the COVID-19 pandemic. An expanded commitment to Black women’s movements from the philanthropy sector is imperative. International women’s human rights organization MADRE funded VidaAfrolatina’s pilot grant cycle at this critical time. Our pilot cohort expanded from three to four organizations thanks to support from individual donors.

PILOT GRANT CYCLE AWARDEES

All Hands In

AFROPODEROSAS

Costa Rica y México

Project: Empoderando Mi Cuerpo Afrodescendiente (Empowering My Afro-descendant Body)

AfroPoderosas will educate rural Afro-descendant young women in both countries about sexual violence risk reduction and prevention. 

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COLECTIVO ILÉ

Puerto Rico

Project: Talleres contra la Violencia Sexual: Raza y Género (Workshops Against Sexual Violence: Race and Gender)

Colectivo Ilé will document the connections between race, gender and sexual violence through oral histories.

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LA COMADRE DE AFRODES

Colombia

Project: Sensibilización sobre la Violencia Sexual vivida por Mujeres Negras Afrodescendientes, través  de la Animación Digital (Raising Awareness about Sexual Violence Experienced by Afro-descendant Black Women through Digital Animation)

La COMADRE will produce digital animation videos as a pedagogical tool to share Black women’s stories and as a process of healing.

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REVISTA AFIRMATIVA 

COLETIVA DE MIíDIA NEGRA

Brazil

Project: Jornalismo de “escrevivência”: Narrativas de mulheres negras pelo enfretamento a violência sexual (*Escrevivencia Journalism: Narratives of Black Women Confronting Sexual Violence)

 

Revista Afirmativa will produce a series of multimedia reports examining sexual violence and toxic masculinity. 

*Escrivência is a literary practice conceptualized by Black Brazilian author Conceição Evaristo  which highlights the power of Black women writing about their own experiences.