To pay tribute to Women’s History Month, we want to acknowledge their continued inequities in nearly every area of life. They are part of the reality from which so many incredible women’s contributions arise.
To that end, IFR continues its commitment to fighting anti-blackness by devoting our celebration of Women’s History Month to the contributions of Afro-Latinxs. As we remain aware the inequities women endure, especially women of color, let’s also cherish the beautiful Afro-Latinas for their dynamic fortitude, bold determination, and unapologetic grit. We offer this short list of exceptional Afro-Latinas:
Miriam Jiménez Román brought all of that. A Black Puerto Rican researcher focused on gender and race in the US, Román focused on the invisibility of Afro-Latinxs well for over a decade. She served as founding Executive Director of the Afrolatin@ Forum from 2005 until she passed away in 2020. Considered a champion and mentor to her Black and Latin@ students, Román may be best known as co-editor of The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States.
Maria Elena Moyano was known as an Afro-Peruvian feminist activist. As founder of the Federación Popular de Mujeres de Villa El Salvador, Moyano played a leadership role in establishing hundreds of social programs to address the needs of poor women. Thousands of poor women became involved in mother's clubs, community soup kitchens, community health groups, small income generating projects, and programs to provide a daily glass of milk to malnourished children. She was elected Deputy Mayor of Villa El Salvador in the last municipal elections where she continued to fight against political oppression. She was assassinated in 1992.
Florinda Soriano Muñoz, a Dominican Afro-Latina, was born in 1921. She and her farmer husban worked to survive on a small plot of land. Seeing that one landowner was taking people’s land through illegal land seizures, Muñoz became an activist, joining the Federation of Christian Agriculture Leagues. Her own natural leadership immediately catapulted her to serve as the group’s leader and spokesperson where the government was unable to stop her growing popularity. After organizing for nearly a year, Muñoz was finally granted a government hearing on the land seizures. Just before the hearing, she was called away to a contrived emergency where she was assassinated. Due to her activism, the landowner was forced to return illegal lands to over 300 impoverished farmers.
Virginia Brindis de Salas was an Afro-Uruguayan poet, considered the country’s leading black female poet and a militant. de Salas wrote about the inequality of black people in Uruguay, especially women. People spoke of her poems as mournful cries on the burdens women faced. She was a regular contributor to Nuestra Raza, a black collective journal that, while short-lived, had a significant impact on racial equality in Uruguay. De Salas is considered one of Latin America’s most underrated poets.
The women here are from history and have made incredible strides under unfavorable conditions. We honor them for Women’s History Month and recognize the many Afro-Latina women among us now who bring their own talents and strengths to the many challenges we face today.