Background artwork: Daniel Lind Ramos, "VICTORIA EN COSTA SERENA" (2010) - Charcoal on canvas


When the Law Is not the Law: Part 2

The Power of Expanded Awareness for Liberation

The Power of Expanded Awareness for Liberation

In the Spirit:
Culturally Empowered Arts Movements of Justice

The Activist Vision and Practice of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg

Relationship Between Established and Emerging Cultural Arts Organizations

Impact of the International Orisha Yoruba Conference: Nigeria 1981, Brazil 1983,
NYC 1986

Women of Spirit II

Men of Spirit

Entangled Species:
Conversations on Contemporary Art in the Caribbean

Yoruba and Diaspora Principles, Ethics and Values

20 Years after Durban
Where are we now?

Biden Harris 100 Days:
Impact on Black and Brown Communities

Power of Cross-cultural Organizing | Part 2

Power of Cross-cultural Organizing | Part 1

Disrupt the Myth of White Supremacy! Framing a Narrative of Truth Telling

Stop the Mythology! Framing a Narrative of Truth Telling

The Truth Will Not be Silenced

When the Law is Not the Law

Structuring an Equitable Funding System

Unifying to Achieve Racial and Cultural Justice Initiatives

Thriving Beyond the Performative: A Community Plan for Small and Midsize Culturally Grounded Organizations

The Spirit, Principles and Power that Built Our Community Cultural Organizations: The Elders Speak

“Everyone has the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 27, Section 1)​

The overwhelmingly positive response to our Achieving Cultural Equity Survey has motivated us to embark on another necessary and critical step. A conversation series set in this historical moment that requires our being present in designing and implementing an equity framework ensuring racial and civil rights for us all. 

Our four-part series, CONVERSATIONS ON CULTURE: RACE, ART, MYTH = JUSTICE focuses on critical issues affecting the lives and well-being of our communities and institutions. Marta Moreno Vega and a diverse group of thought and action influencers, designed conversations reflecting the nation’s racial, cultural, and innovative thought diversity.

As the inheritors of the liberatory movements engaged in the continued call for racial, economic, and social justice, now amplified by the MBLM, it is our commitment to continue engaging in the work to achieve racial, cultural, economic, and social justice for historically disenfranchised communities. It is imperative that we unite the racial and cultural spectrum of the nation’s movements that seek racial and social justice at all levels of our society to reach our objectives.   

Independently and collectively we must ask ourselves – how are we defining our work, and more importantly, how is our work evolving at this moment?

These conversations explore the ways in which we continue to secure a future with global and national allies. They explore our past with our elder panel, our present with our panel on the new generation of activists and movements, and unifying our movements and power for action. They also explore new equitable funding frameworks and the legal pathway towards justice for all. 


to affect positive change, eradicate the systemic injustices that continue to oppress and limit the possibilities of the majority of the nation’s Black, Afro Latin, Latinx, Native, Asian, LGBTTQ+/Two Spirit, People with Disabilities, and economically poor White communities is the objective. We are living in a critical moment in our history. The state of our organizations, the health and wellbeing of our communities, and the very fabric of our democracy is at stake. Join the conversation!



Amalia Mesa-Bains

Galeria de la Raza, former board member, affiliated artist

Napoleon Jones Henderson

Artist, Black Arts Movement founding member

Jaune Quick–to–See Smith

Artist, Native American Movement, founding member

Margo Machida

Professor Emerita of Art History and Asian American Studies

Alejandra Duque Cifuentes

Dance NYC from NYC

Amin Husain

Decolonize This Place, from New York

Michelle Ramos

Alternate Roots Director, from New Orleans

David Martine

Chiricahua Apache/Shinnecock-Montauk, Chairperson - AMERINDA

YK Hong

Anti-oppression trainer, speaker, organizer, and artist from New York

Ani Rivera

Executive Director, Galería de la Raza, from San Francisco, California

Kimi Mojica

Consulting Director for Justice Funders, from Oakland, California

Dudley Cocke

Former Director, Roadside Theater/Appalshop in Appalachia

Ashley Walden Davis

Founder and Executive Director Unlock Creative, LLC

Jeff Chang

Vice President, Race Forward; founding member The Cultural New Deal

Kate Fowler

Development Director, Studio Two Three

María de León

Executive Director, NALAC, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture

Marian Taylor Brown, PhD.

Founder & Board Chair, Arts Connect International

Alvin Starks

Director of the Equality Fund, Open Society United States (OS-US)

Billy Ocasio

Executive Director, National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture

Gonzalo Casals

Commissioner of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

Leticia Peguero

Vice President of Programs, Nathan Cummings Foundation

Margaret S. Morton

Director of Creativity and Free Expression, Ford Foundation

Susan Taylor Batten

President and CEO, ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities

Derecka Purnell

Human rights lawyer, writer, and organizer

Juan Cartagena

President & General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF

Maricruz Rivera-Clemente

Executive Director COPI (Corporación Piñones se Integra); cofounder, Corredor Afro

Monifa Bandele

Chief Equity and Strategy Officer at MomsRising, she co-leads a national on-the-ground and online grassroots organization of more than a million people working to achieve economic security and justice for moms, women, and families.

Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele

Father, husband, priest of Obatala, community organizer, and educator from Central Brooklyn.

Sandra Rodríguez-Cotto

Award-winning investigative journalist, author, correspondent, producer, and licensed Public Relations expert.

Juan González

Journalist, intellectual, author, Richard D. Heffner Professor of Communications and Public Policy at Rutgers University.

Sam Cruz

Associate Professor, Union Theological Seminary; Senior Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Brooklyn.

Rosa Clemente

Black-Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx, NY. Organizer, producer, independent journalist, and scholar-activist.

Esmeralda Simmons Esq.

Founder and former director, The Center for Law and Social Justice, Medgar Evers College; Creative Justice Initiative Board Member.

Isis Rakia Mattei, Esq.

Principal, Mattei Law; Creative Justice Initiative Board Member.

Hy Thurman

Author of “Revolutionary Hillbilly: Notes from the Struggle on the Edge of the Rainbow”

José “Cha Cha” Jiménez

Founder of the Young Lords, a national human rights movement

Ray Santiesteban

Director, The First Rainbow Coalition

Jasmine Leeward

Activist, Narrative Strategist, and Emerging Filmmaker

Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi

Co-founder, Defend Puerto Rico; Founder and Director of Fist-Up TV

Denise Oliver

Young Lords, and Black Panther Party

Madonna Thunderhawk

American Indian Movement

Tailinh Agoyo

Co-founder and director of We Are the Seeds of CultureTrust

Cliff Chambliss, III

Head Artist at TRINITY and works for the U.S. Copyright Office within the Library of Congress

Jonathan W. Soto

Community & political organizer, coalition builder.

Karl B. Rodney

Co-founder of New York CARIB NEWS.

Romero Rodríguez


David Comissiong

St. Vincent

Jesús “Chucho” García


Jorge Ramírez Reyna


Palmira Ríos

Puerto Rico

Humberto Brown


Kali Akuno

United States

Christopher Cozier - Trinidad

Artist, living and working in Trinidad and a co-director of Alice Yard, a collective. Cozier investigates how Caribbean historical and current experiences can inform understandings of the wider contemporary world.

Nelson González - Aruba

Venezuelan Intellectual leak, before Chavez. Twenty years of a professional career in the Dutch Caribbean as a contemporary artist, producer, curator, teacher, and filmmaker. Lives and works in Aruba formally since 2003.

Sharelly Emanuelson - Dutch Caribbean

Filmmaker and visual artist based in Dutch-Caribbean. Through her lens-based work and audiovisual arrangements, she experiments with sight, sound, feeling, and thought to comprehend heritage in contemporary everyday life.

Simon Tatum - TN, USA

Artist, curator, art administrator, and writer. Tatum’s thesis showcase titled the Romantic Caribbean was featured at the Kent State University’s CVA gallery in March 2021.

Oneika Russell - Jamaica

Visual artist, art educator and cultural producer. She attended The Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica from 1999 to 2003 where she completed a diploma in the Painting Department.

José Rodríguez (Ifa Name: Agboola)

Was born and raised in San Diego, CA to Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian parents. After working for 11 years as a School Psychologist, he decided to dedicate his life to practice as an Awo full time in 2014.

Alexander LaSalle

Spiritual healer, musician, songwriter, proud father of his children and countless religious godchildren throughout the world. A recognized soulful Afro-Puerto Rican and Afro-Cuban singer. Alex is a master in the folkloric roots drum tradition known as Bomba.

State Senator Kevin S. Parker

A prominent New York State Legislator who is distinguished as a savvy strategist, brilliant intellectual and an elder statesman. Also an experienced educator, Parker has been a professor of both African-American Studies and Political Science at several CUNY and SUNY colleges.

José Arturo Ballester Panelli

Afro-Caribbean artist based in Puerto Rico. Most of his work for the past 20 years explores the connections between photography, Afro-Caribbean aesthetics, history, and the racial, social, and ecological systems in the Caribbean and its diasporas.

Diógenes Ballester

A visual artist, educator, and writer. His function as an artist is like that of an archeologist: to discover, investigate, extrapolate meaning from, and offer reconfigured perspectives of the artifacts that have been left behind. His rich Puerto Rican cultural and familial heritage drives him to create.

Solagabde Popoola

Was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. Have been a Babalawo for 40 plus years. Married with children he continues to practice Ifa as a Babalawo and travels around the world giving lectures on various topics of the tradition along with giving readings, performing rituals and ceremonies, and initiations.

Paulo Bispo

Babalorisha (Head Priest) of Ile Oooosa Erin Mope in New York City. Has been heading a small Orisha community in New York City, for the past 45 years. He has participated with other Orisha communities for example the Cuban Lukumi, Nigerian Isese and Trinidadian Shango the Baptist.

Marcia Minter

Co-founder and Executive Director of Indigo Arts Alliance, a non-profit that is a Black led artist residency program providing Black and Brown artists from around the world a supportive environment in which to make new work, engage with community and build lasting relationships across generations.

Iya Oseye Mchawi

Yoruba priest of Obatala for 45 years, is a founding member and current executive director of the Omo Obatala Egbe, Inc. She is the founder and President of the Yoruba Society of Brooklyn, Inc.

Shantrelle P. Lewis

A United Nations Programme for People of African Descent Fellow, is a multi-hyphen creative and scholar who accesses multiple disciplines to help elucidate African Diasporic history, aesthetics, culture and spirituality. An initiated Lukumi Sango Priest. Also, a self-identifying Hoodooist.

Neyda Martinez Sierra

Associate Professor at The New School, is Interim Program Director of the Media Management Graduate Program within the School of Media Studies and co-director of the university-wide Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative. Founder and executive producer of Habana/Harlem®.

Gloriann Sacha Antonetty-Lebrón

Afro-Puerto Rican writer, communication strategist and activist; author of the book of poems Hebras and the children's book Negro, negrito. Antonetty-Lebrón is the founder and editor of Revista étnica, the first multimedia platform and magazine in Puerto Rico to make visible and positively represent Afro-Latino communities.

Manuela Arciniegas

Program Officer with the Ford Foundation’s Civic Engagement and Government team. She brings over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit racial justice sector building the leadership and power of youth from low-income communities.

Jochi Melero Ifádoñí Oshitolá (Babalawo)

Director, Cinematographer, and Photographer at Nostrom Moving Images. He is known for his inquisitive and frontal portraits/landscapes that show a profound testimonial of understanding and connection with the world around him, as well as photographs in international publishings for celebrities, architecture, fashion, food, fine art, landscape and environmental portraiture.

Angela Jorge-Quiñones

Associate Professor Emeritus, State University of New York at Old Westbury.

Zeno Millet

Born in Rio de Janeiro. As the son of Iyalorixá Cleusa Millet and grandson of Iyalorixá Mãe Menininha do Gantois, one of the legendary priestesses of Candomblé Nagô, Zeno is intimately familiar with African Brasilian spiritual traditions.

Rowland Abiodun

Professor of Art, the History of Art, and Black Studies at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.

Charles Daniel Dawson

Multi-talented artist, photographer, filmmaker, curator, arts administrator, consultant, and scholar.

John Mason

Leading, internationally noted scholar, educator, writer, poet, playwright, musician, composer, photographer, Yoruba religious art sculptor and installation artist, diviner and priest of Obatala initiated in 1970.

Nancy Raquel Mirabal

Historian who has published widely in the fields of Afro-diasporic, gentrification, and spatial studies. Associate Professor of American Studies and U.S. Latina/o Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Recipient of the Scholar in Residence Fellowship, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library (2012-2013).

Ebenecer López Ruyol

Lawyer, writer, trade unionist, community leader, politician, cultural manager and president of the Anti-Racism Committee of the Puerto Rico Bar Association. One of the few historians who intertwines the historiography of the labor movement with the struggle for racial equity, a sense of identity, and the strengthening of Afro-Puerto Rican identity.

James R. Morgan III

Officer of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, and its Worshipful Grand Historian & Archivist since 2019. He is currently enrolled in the Morgan State University School of Graduate Studies in pursuit of a Master’s Degree and works as a Consultant with both the International African American Museum and the African American Civil War Museum.

Michael Manswell

Dancer, singer, choreographer, teaching artist, artist director, and Orisha devotee. As the Artistic Director of Something Positive, Inc., he has performed and presented lectures and workshops in dance, music, and traditional religious practices. Named as “Brooklyn’s Black Men of Distinction in 2000” and “Brooklyn’s Black Dance Kings 2010”.

Juan López Bauzá

Consecrated in Ifá in 1998 and has been a practicing Babalawo ever since. A renowned author, published in Caracas, Venezuela; Colombia and Puerto Rico. Winner of the Las Americas Festival de la Palabra Award, Pen Club of Puerto Rico and Letras Boricuas grant, sponsored by The Mellon Foundation and Flamboyan Foundation.

Chief Baba Neil Clarke

Award-winning master African-centered percussionist, educator, band leader, producer, and independent scholar. Introduced into Yoruba Orisa traditions since the age of 13. An Arts Educator since the 1970’s, honored with a Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Lorelei Williams

Poet and philanthropic strategist. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Warner Music Group / Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund. Has 15+ years experience advising non-profit and philanthropic organizations in the U.S., Brazil, and South Africa. Graduate of Yale and Harvard universities.

Ayoka Wiles

Philanthropist & Cultural Strategist. Leader of organizational and program development for arts, culture, education, youth development, and social justice organizations. Advocate of spiritually and culturally centered organizations that support communities of the African Diaspora.
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Lowery Sims

Curator, Arts Consultant, Curator Emerita at the Museum of Arts and Design

Amy Andrieux

Executive Director MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art)

Melody Capote

Executive Director, Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI)

Neyda Martínez

Associate Professor, THE NEW SCHOOL; Producer, Decade of Fire

Olga Garay-English

Principal at OMGArtsplus; Founding Program Director for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Olga Chapman-Rivera

Founder BRAAVE Tribu Collab, a people-centric and culturally focused marketing firm.

Tiffany Turner

Community activist in Columbus, MS, voting rights advocate and lead organizer of Performing Our Future

Esmeralda Simmons, Esq.

Founder and former director, The Center for Law and Social Justice, Medgar Evers College

Ben Fink

Cultural worker, nationwide community organizer, ally, and bridge-builder across the cultural, religious, social, geographical, and political divide

Sasha Dees

Independent writer, curator, producer, and author of Entangled Species.

Isis Rakia Mattei, Esq.

Principal, Mattei Law; Creative Justice Initiative Board Member

Marangeli Mejía-Rabell

Q&A Facilitator: Cultural organizer, producer, curator, and programmer centered on co-creation, and sector collaborations. CoFounder/Partner of AFROTAINO and Director of Philadelphia Latino Film Festival.

Jossianna Arroyo

Literary and cultural studies scholar who specializes in the analysis of Afro-Diasporic literatures and cultures in the Americas. Author of several novels and books like "Writing Secrecy in Caribbean Freemasonry" (Palgrave, 2013), an analysis of transnational, racial and colonial dimensions of Masonic encounters in the circum-Caribbean and the United States (1850-1898).

Marta Moreno Vega

Scholar, producer, activist, educator, author, professor, and Yoruba priestess. Second Director of El Museo del Barrio, Founder of Caribbean Cultural Center and African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), Founder Creative Justice Initiative (CJI), and Co-founder Corredor Afro.

Kate Fowler

Development Director, Studio Two Three; Member, Southern Arts, and Culture Coalition
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