Lead: Jeannette Tineo Durán is a psychotherapist, researcher, and popular educator. She identifies as a “Pájara” (Dominican term for lesbian or queer woman), Afrodiasporic, cross-border feminist, and an anti-racist. Jeannette has a degree in clinical psychology, a master’s in cultural and gender studies, and is a PhD candidate in interdisciplinary gender studies. She has more than 25 years of experience supporting individuals and groups through integrative, psychoanalytical, existential, and narrative approaches. She has experience in art therapy, psychosocial interventions, participatory action research, facilitation, and intercultural mediation from an anti-racist, intersectional, and decolonial approach in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Spain.
Jeannette has coordinated over 300 participatory action research projects with several international organizations and funders. She has expertise in working with racialized migrants, LGBTQI people, and human rights defenders. Her areas of expertise also include racial trauma, colonial and migrant mourning, gender violence, and diasporic affective cartographies, among others. She believes in narrative methodologies, ancestral technologies, and art therapy.
Researchers: Claudia Acevedo, Camila Belliard Quiroga, Vicenta Camusso Pintos, Melissa Cardoza Calderón, Astrid Cuero Montenegro, Yaneris González Gómez, Yoss Iki Piña, Luanna Marley de Oliveira e Silva, Yuliana Ortiz Ruano, Merilane Pires Coelho, Ernest Rodolphe, Leticia/Kimi Rojas Miranda, Jazmín Reyes Paredes, Berta Sánchez Miranda, Natalia Santiesteban Mosquera, and Rubiela Valderrama Hoyos.
Yaneris González Gómez (Goga) is a Dominican activist. Her greatest achievement is becoming an artist and social justice activist as a way to resist the multiple oppressions impacting her reality and identities: woman, lesbian, Black, and poor. Goga’s creations come from a place of resistance, from belonging to a rural and marginalized community, and from her own survival. Her graphic design has been featured in calendars around issues of HIV, women’s rights, violence, and safe abortion. Goga is also a published poet. Her work was highlighted in the publication: “Transatlantic Feminisms: Women and Gender Studies in Africa and the Diaspora”; and she held a solo exhibition in Santo Domingo titled “Trazos de Ellas”, honoring the voices of Black women who have deeply inspired her.
Goga created the artwork on this microsite specifically for this research. Goga says she meditated on Black women’s pain, drawing on the experiences, dreams, and desires of Black women that emerged from the research. Her work references the transatlantic slave trade: what was promised, what was lost, what was transformed. Her idea was to resignify this Black tragedy into resilience, resistance, and genius: “This contradiction is part of my power, my super power. Under the water we don’t lose anything, but we conserve it”. The ships signify cycles of return. They are the motherships – the rescue ships in contrast to the slave ships. This is an Afrofuturist idea that the flying mothership comes to build a new future from the past, with full cities inside: “for us as Black people to be able to come back to save ourselves”. The ships also make reference to surviving climate change. The image of a foot in the foreground with a woman holding water on her head represents moving forward no matter what, and the statement “move out of the way”: implying force, self-determination, and autonomy. And there are explosions of color, dance and celebration. The color palette was intentionally crafted: royal blue because it references water; and pink and yellow as vibrant colors, chosen to call attention to and defy the idea of forced invisibility: “There is a cultural understanding in the Dominican Republic that says that Black people shouldn’t use bright colors… because [they] attract attention…” This work celebrates bright colors as a way to resist invisibility.
This resource is one step in a participatory research journey that began in 2019. Led by Jeannette Tineo Durán, a team of Black feminist researchers from Latin America and the Caribbean explored Black women’s activism and organizing across their regions – also termed Abya Yala. Between November 2019 and August 2020, they charted activism across 17 countries and five sub-regions they grouped as follows: the Andes, Brazil, the Caribbean, Mesoamerica, and the Southern Cone.
FJS and Wellspring originally set out to map Black feminist organizing in the specific countries/sub-regions where the two foundations provide significant funding, which currently does not include the Caribbean. The research team asserted the political importance of including at least some countries in the Caribbean, given the strength of Black feminist organizing in the region and the need to subvert, rather than replicate, the common erasure of the Caribbean from narratives of Blackness. Still, it is a limitation of the research that it only includes three Caribbean countries: Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.
We want to underscore that Black feminist organizing in the Caribbean has its own distinct history, characteristics, and dynamics, and that Caribbean movements have been particularly under-resourced. We encourage funders to learn more about Black feminist organizing and funding opportunities in the Caribbean, including via a new report from the Equality Fund and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice that provides a strong case for creating a fund anchored in the leadership and vision of women’s rights and LGBTQI movements in the Caribbean.
To put our commitments to self-determination and community leadership in practice, it was important that the research team reflect the communities we sought to learn from. To that end, Tineo Durán assembled a powerful cadre of 16 Black women academics, artists, and activists from the regions to collectively produce it. Using participatory methodology from decolonial and intersectional perspectives that brought together Black feminist perspectives across borders, the researchers did not approach participants as subjects but rather as collaborators in the production of knowledge. Both the researchers and the participants’ knowledge and experience were integral to the analysis.
Most work was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, with research disrupted by public health responses across the 17 countries. Participants were heavily impacted, not only by the virus but also its economic consequences and state policing of quarantine measures. Some planned in-person research activities such as workshops, forums, and meetings were conducted virtually.
The original Spanish-language research – Mapeo de Feminismos Negros en Abya Yala (2021) – is a rich and deep resource, including detailed reports on each of the mapped countries/sub-regions. It is a contribution to the Black feminist call for documentation, translation, and sharing of Black feminist knowledge. As FJS and Wellspring disseminate the research to a philanthropic audience, the researchers are sharing it with a wide audience of activists in the regions and publishing their own book for movements.
This microsite draws from translated summaries of the Mapeo developed by consultants Carla Murphy and Chriss Sneed. As we concluded the analysis, we saw an opportunity to include perspectives from a wider range of philanthropic actors so we conducted a small survey of seven private foundations in May and June 2022 and five follow-up interviews in December 2022 and January 2023.
|Sub-region||Countries||Origin of participants (n=276)|
|The Caribbean||Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti||12%|
|The Southern Cone||Argentina, Chile, Uruguay||23%|
|The Andes||Colombia, Ecuador, Peru||30%|
|Mesoamerica (including Mexico)||Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama||24%|
The majority (75%) of participants came from urban areas, peripheral zones, shantytowns or favelas in the capitals and main provinces of each country. The remaining 25% were located in raizal territories, palenques or quilombos.
The Demographic Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean 2021 estimates the Afro-descendent population in Latin America at 134 million, or 21 percent of its total population. This is thought to be an undercount.
All those interviewed for the study identified as Black women. The term ‘Black women’ is inclusive of both cisgender and trans women, and for this study includes 12 Black trans activists.
Thirty identified as lesbian, bisexual, or queer. A total of 60% were adults, 30% youth, and 10% older adults.
All identified as activists in Black struggles.
Overall, participants used more than 30 different descriptors to describe their multiple identities. Through these terms, Black women use identity to challenge nationalism and its borders, white-mestiza feminism, religious hierarchies, and the legitimacy of colonial languages like Spanish, Portuguese, English, and Dutch.
Claiming Black minority identity in countries where white-mestiza is the ethno-national ideal is a political act. Black identity naming practices communicate a wide range of states of being, as well as political interests: for example, claiming a Black identity grounded in national identity could be a rebuke to one’s society, or just as easily a defiant demand to belong. From Buenos Aires to Santo Domingo, Black women are thought to be foreign because they are Black. Their lived experience is a particular “invisible-visibility.”
“I’m always thought of as a migrant here, even by feminists.”
– Buenos Aires participant
|Black identity in relation to/with||Examples of Black self-identification|
|Nation-state or national identity||Afroguatemalteca, Afromexicana, Afrouruguaya, Afroamazonica, feminista haitiana|
|Defense of place or territory||Afrocaribeña, Garifuna, Raizal|
|African diaspora and South-South connections||Anti-racist lesbian, Black feminist, decolonial feminist|
|Ancestral memory and rooting||Afroqueer, Candomblé practitioner, Lumbalú practitioner|