I am, Yo Soy, Mwen Se, Eu Sou Poderosx

We are pleased to announce the Latina Empowerment Symposium at the University of Florida. The Symposium was created to cultivate an intentional interdisciplinary investment in critical consciousness about Latin America and the Latinx community in the U.S. The theme of the Symposium this year is “I am, Yo Soy, Mwen se, Eu sou Poderosx: Resisting violence against Womxn.” The theme aims to bring awareness to gender violence throughout the diaspora and specifically highlight various intersectional identities that are often erased. Hosted during Women’s Heritage Month we are hoping that the Latina Empowerment Symposium highlights the existence and contributions of Latina women which are often times hidden in the shadows or erased from history. We hope that you may join us as we enter a transformative event in further exploring our power as Latinas.

Intended Outcomes
By Participating in the Latina Empowerment Symposium participants will:

1: Be exposed to current research on critical issues involving intersections of gender and racial violence toward cis and transgender women.

2: Engage in relevant conversations about approaches and resources to combat gender, race, and class oppression across the globe.

3: Recognize and discuss the impact of patriarchy in lives of minoritized womxn across the world (I.e., Black, Latinx, and Indigenous), considering the increasing rates of domestic violence during the pandemic.

For further questions please email: mcdahispaniclatinoaffairs@ufsa.ufl.edu

9:00-9:30 am Welcome and information
9:30-10:45am GENDER VIOLENCE AGAINST LATINA WOMXN: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE STRUGGLES AND PRAXIS?
This panel brings together Jesz Ipolito, Altagracia Jean Joseph, and Bárbara Santos. Through telling their experiences advocating for survivors of gender-based violence, the speakers will delve into the root of this issue and discuss the barriers that Latina Womxn face in seeking justice.
10:45-11:00am Break
11:00- 12:00pm ANTI-BLACKNESS IN LATINX COMMUNITIES: A CONVERSATION WITH ZAHARIA KELLY-CABRERA (BAD DOMINICANA)
This conversation will explore Zaharia Kelly-Cabrera’s path to activism. Zaharia will discuss her anti-Blackness experiences within Latinx communities. She will also share her thoughts on doing liberation work and discuss strategies for finding joy throughout her efforts to combat anti-blackness in Latinx communities.
12:00pm-12:30pm Lunch Break
12:30-1:30pm ELEVATING TRANS LATINA WOMXN’S VOICES
This panel will tackle transphobia within Latinx communities. With Ashley Figueroa and Nikole Parker from the Gender Advancement Project (GAP), it will highlight their incredible work and how they use their platform to defend Trans Latina Womxn’s rights.
1:30-1:40pm Break
1:40-2:40pm ELEVATING INDIGENOUS LATINA WOMXN’S VOICES.
This intimate conversation with Gloria Chacón & Velma Calvario will cover their work, indigenous approaches, complicated relationship between academia and indigenous scholars, and her quest to bring indigenous stories at the forefront.
2:40-2:50pm Break
2:50-3:50pm Community Charla
3:50-4:00pm Closing remarks.

*Schedule is subject to change

Director, author, actress and feminist-antiracist activist, Bárbara Santos is artistic director of KURINGA, a theatre space in Berlin and founder of the Ma(g)dalena International Network – Teatro de las Oprimidas – composed by theatre groups from Latin America, Europe and Africa. She is member of ITI-Germany and author of “Roots and Wings: a theory of the praxis”; “Aesthetic Paths” and “Teatro de las Oprimidas” (Feminist Theatre of the Oppressed).

She develops innovative lines of aesthetic investigation focused on gender as a social construction and race as a social organization through a feminist-antiracist perspective. As performer is exploring the conversion of the performative body into a political body in her one-woman show “Passage”.

She is acting Filomena in “The Invisible Life”, film by Karim Aïnouz, grand prix at “Un Certain Regard”, Cannes 2019. She was nominated for the award of the Best Brazilian Supporting Actress 2020 by the Brazilian Film Academy.

Jész Ipólito (she / her), 29 years old, is a black, fat and dodgy feminist living in Salvador, Bahia. Creator and writer on the blog ‘Gorda & Sapatão’, a space that discusses lesbianity, blackness, sexuality, feminisms and fatphobia. It builds paths of resistance through the National Articulation of Black Young Feminists and also acts politically in the right to communication from the black media collective Revista Afirmativa, a magazine and online media. She’s an undergraduate student in Gender and Diversity at the Federal University of Bahia.

Altagracia Jean Joseph es una abogada y activista de derechos humanos conocida como una de las voces más abiertas de la República Dominicana contra la discriminación racial y de género.  Como Directora Ejecutiva y cofundadora de la Fundación Código Humano, ella, junto con otros activistas de derechos humanos, ha estado organizando con la Marcha Verde, un movimiento pan-latinoamericano contra la corrupción y la impunidad del gobierno, pidiendo una investigación sobre los sobornos aceptados por los dominicanos.  líderes del gigante de la construcción Oderbrecht.  También ha creado recientemente una ONG, Fundación Código Humano (FUNCOHUM), una organización feminista dedicada a la educación en justicia reproductiva y la conciencia cultural para niños y adolescentes, así como para personas afrodescendientes.  Nacida en Batey Esperanza, una de las “ciudades de la empresa” más antiguas construidas para mantener a los trabajadores haitianos cerca de las plantaciones de azúcar donde trabajaban, la Sra. Jean-Joseph primero se organizó con trabajadores de la caña para mejorar sus oportunidades y condiciones de vida.  Fue educadora comunitaria de salud, luchando contra la propagación de la malaria, el dengue, la desnutrición y las enfermedades de transmisión sexual en las comunidades de batey, donde el gobierno proporciona poca o ninguna atención médica pública. Antes de asistir a la escuela de leyes, ayudó a comenzar la campaña “Soy Dominicano  Como Tu ”(Soy dominicano, como tú) y colaboré con varios grupos dominicanos de derechos humanos para responder a la crisis de ciudadanía.  Para conocer los antecedentes de esta crisis: en los últimos 15 años, Altagracia y muchas otras personas de ascendencia haitiana han tenido que luchar batallas legales para demostrar su ciudadanía, mientras que su gobierno se ha movido para desnacionalizar a cientos de miles de niños nacidos de inmigrantes haitianos.  En 2013, el Tribunal del Tribunal Dominicano promulgó una ley de inmigración draconiana: la Ley 168-13, conocida como La Sentencia, que anuló la ciudadanía de las personas cuyos padres y abuelos fueron considerados indocumentados, desde 1929. En respuesta a la internacional  Indignación que siguió, el gobierno creó un proceso de regularización muy complicado que obligaría a muchos niños nacidos en República Dominicana a solicitar nuevos certificados de nacimiento, y a otros extranjeros en el País.

Zahira Kelly-Cabrera aka @Bad_Dominicana is an AfroDominicana mami, writer, DJ, singer/songwriter, visual artist, (some may say ‘social media personality’), mujerista, award-winning sociocultural critic, and international speaker. Known for advocating for LatiNegra visibility and rights on social media, and unfiltered social critique, broken down in accessible language. Born in NYC and raised between Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and the Bronx, by her mother who is a creative renaissance woman.


Ashley Figueroa is a leader in social services and a proud Trans Latina American Woman. She works with several local and national community based organizations to make a positive impact in today’s society. Some of the boards she currently serves on are, TransAction Florida Advisory Council (member), Contigo Community Board (Member), and the National Network Latin Plus (Member). Among her chosen advocacy roles, Ashley is the Founder, Executive Director of the Gender Advancement Project (GAP), which focuses on the progression and inclusion of Transgender/GNB individuals in society. She is also a member of the Orlando Trans Collective and the Latinx Group, Del Ambiente. In 2019, Ashley was honored with the Voice of Equality award by Equality Florida. In the same year, she was also recognized as one of Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2019 for her advocacy and leadership with the transgender community of Orlando. Ashley’s work has also earned her national recognition – in 2020, she was chosen as one of the honorees of the 41 List as a Latinx LGBTQ+ role model.

Nikole Parker is a transgender woman of Black, Puerto Rican & Italian descent. She was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and at the age of 19, left her job and home to begin her transition. After 3 years of black market hormones, and unsafe lifestyle practices she came back to Orlando to restart her life. Nikole’s passion is advocating for the rights and dignity of the transgender and gender nonconforming community.

Nikole has sat on various non-profit boards within the community, including the LGBT+ Center Board of Directors, the Orlando United Assistance Center Advisory Board, TransAction Advisory Council, Spektrum Health Board of Directors and Peer Support Space Board of Directors. In addition to her work with the onePULSE Foundation, Nikole co-leads the work of the Orlando Trans Collective, a collaborative group of transgender and gender non-conforming leaders of color who focus on community building and advocacy efforts for the Central Florida transgender community. In 2018, Nikole was honored with the Humanitarian of the Year award by the Miss Glamorous Pageant. Nikole was also was recognized as one of Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2018 for her work with the onePULSE Foundation and her ongoing advocacy and empowerment of the transgender community. In 2019, Nikole was recognized by Congressman Darren Soto for LGBT+ Pride Month and her biography was read into the Congressional Record.

Chacón, Gloria E. is Associate Professor in the Literature Department at UCSD. She is the author of Indigenous Cosmolectics: Kab’awil and the Making of Maya and Zapotec Literatures (UNC Press, 2018). She is co-editor of Indigenous Interfaces: Spaces, Technology, and Social Networks in Mexico and Central America (Arizona Press 2019). She has co-edited a special issue on indigenous literature for DePaul’s University academic journal, Diálogo (2016). Chacón’s work has appeared in anthologies and journals in Canada, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Spain, and the USA.  She is co-editor of the forthcoming anthology, Teaching Central American Literature in a Global Context for MLA’s Teaching Options Series. Chacón is currently working on a new project tentatively titled Metamestizaje, Indigeneity, and Diasporas: Different Cartographies of Being.

Velma V. Calvario Tlahuancapa, MA. (she/her/hers/ella) is a Nahua Anthropologist and ethnic studies educator. She teaches the Nahuatl language for the Center for Latin American Studies at San Diego State University (SDSU) and addresses the complex realities of Mexico’s pueblos originarios and Mesoamerica in her courses for the Chicanx Studies Department at San Diego City College. She is currently collaborating with the Institute for Revitalization of the Nahuatl Language (KANA) and UC Berkeley to offer Nahuatl language workshops for beginners open to all UC Berkeley students, members of all tribes and nations.
Velma was born in San Diego and became the first Atzacoaloyan-San Diegan that would be raised connected to her heritage and the community that she considers her home and where she is a recognized member. Her interest, therefore, is both anthropological and deeply personal. Velma lives a transnational life between Atzacoaloya in the low mountain region of Guerrero, Mexico and San Diego, CA and navigates her unique reality in both worlds. There she continues to work on the recovery of her Nahuatl speaking ability and helps support the efforts of Nahua educators to empower a language and its speakers.
Through scholarship and through her own community, Velma works to illustrate an existence and persistence to dismantle the notion of an indigenous being as an
exhibited past. Her work seeks to empower and honor, decolonize and indigenize. She studies community efforts to maintain, revitalize, and develop the Nahuatl language and culture. Her research work centers on a constructive postcolonialism that emphasizes indigenous theorizing and indigenous knowledge as essential to the study of indigenous people, just as they are to their lived experience. Understanding is increased, not simply among academics, but among the engaged indigenous community, which her work seeks to recognize and uplift.

In addition to her academic work, Velma assists the Center for Latin American Studies and the Chicanx studies department with the organization of lectures that extend an invitation to Compañerx from different pueblos originarios to be heard and seen. The sharing of their essential knowledge and their lived experiences speaks of their lucha. Velma is also a member of the Community Advisory Community at the Centro Cultural de la Raza and the AFT Immigrant student support committee, a group of faculty and staff advocating for immigrant & refugee students.

Thank you to our Sponsors!!