Founder and Executive Director


Lori Robinson (she/her/hers) is the founder and executive director of VidaAfrolatina. A bilingual African American, she worked as a journalist for 25 years and is the author of “I Will Survive: The African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse.” In addition to covering sexual violence extensively, she reported on Black communities in Latin American countries for two decades. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, The Root,, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune and several national magazines. Lori served on the Board of Directors of When and Where I Enter, Inc., a Houston-based fund that awarded grants to 17 Black women’s organizations in nine Latin American countries and Puerto Rico over a period of nine years.

 She is one of 35 fellows selected from a pool of more than 2,800 applicants from 155 countries to win a coveted 2018 Echoing Green Fellowship to develop and launch VidaAfrolatina. A proud HBCU graduate, Lori holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish from Spelman College and a master's degree in journalism from New York University.


Executive Administrator

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Vesta Cordero (she/her/hers) is the New York City-raised daughter of immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic. She has worked in magazine publishing for over 20 years and was also part of the start-up team for the non-profit initiative, the New York City Technology Development Corporation, formed by then NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to maximize efficient and effective implementation of New York City IT projects. She is an alumna of Brooklyn College.


  Board of Advisors


Janet Arelis Quezada (she/her/hers) is the orgullosamente Bronx-raised daughter of Black, immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic. She works at the Magnolia Community Initiative with the Pop Change Institute in Los Angeles. Previously, as a Media Strategist at GLADD, she worked on increasing the visibility of Latinx LGBTQIA and allied advocacy in Spanish-language and English-language media. She is an alumna of Wellesley College.



Veta Byrd-Perez (she/her/hers) is an African American native of Columbus, Ohio. She serves as an associate general counsel at Rice University in Houston, Texas. After living briefly in Quito, Ecuador, Veta founded When and Where I Enter, Inc., a philanthropic organization that distributed grants to women of African descent in Latin America for a period of nine years. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and a J.D. from Yale Law School.



Elsy Cipriani (she/her/hers) is an Afrolatina from Bogotá, Colombia, with family roots from the Colombian Caribbean. She is the Executive Director of New Generation, Inc., an emergency and transitional housing provider for pregnant women and single mothers and their children in New Hampshire. A Board Member for CASA NH, Elsy started her career with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador and a master’s degree from Strayer University in the U.S.




Doreen Dankerlui (she/her/hers) is an Afrocaribeña from Suriname, who has lived in the USA for approximately 25 years. She works at the Henry Ford Global Health Initiative in Detroit, Michigan on education and training programs and community engagement. Before earning her master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Washington (Leadership, Policy and Management) she received a bachelor’s degree in International Studies (focus on management of international NGOs) and studied Brazilian Language and Culture. 

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Dr. Eshe Lewis (she/her/hers) is an Afro-Caribbean Canadian woman born, raised, and based in Toronto, Canada. She received a Ph.D in cultural anthropology from the University of Florida. Eshe has worked extensively as an activist and researcher on gender violence among Afro-Peruvian women, and on Black feminist organizing and Afro-descendant activism in Latin America and the Caribbean for over 10 years. Eshe is the first public anthropology fellow for SAPIENS Magazine. 

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Nodia C. Mena (she, her, hers), is a Ph.D. student in the Education Leadership and Cultural Foundations program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her area of research is centered around racial and gender equity. Nodia is Garifuna, Black-Indigenous born in Honduras, Central America. She graduated with a master’s degree in Languages, Literatures and Cultures from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She teaches Cultural Foundations of Education in the School of Education building.



Pilar Ocampo (she/her/hers) is an Afrolatina of Colombian and Gullah descent, born and raised in the D.C. metro area. Pilar began her career as an Urban Health Policy Fellow with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and now serves in the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, where they aim to use a health justice approach in addressing racial disparities. She earned a bachelor’s degree from American University and a master’s degree from Drexel University. 



Natalia Santiesteban-Mosquera (she/her/hers), based in Bogotá, Colombia, has been working as an educator, researcher, consultant, speaker, and translator for a decade. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies from the University of the Andes and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from the National University of Colombia. Her first book, “El color del espejo: narrativas de mujeres negras en Bogotá” (The Color of the Mirror: Narratives of Black Women in Bogota), was published in 2017 by Centro de Estudios Afrodiaspóricos.


Dr. Erica Lorraine Williams (she/her/hers) is a Spelman College Associate Professor and Department Chair. She hails from North Carolina and identifies as African American and Mexican. Erica earned her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Africana Studies from New York University and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Stanford University. Author of “Sex Tourism in Bahia: Ambiguous Entanglements,” Erica is working on a second book about Afro-Brazilian feminist activism in Bahia, Brazil.