Black feminists are building and resisting globally!
From Fees Must Fall in South Africa, to land occupations in Colombia and the movements for Black lives in the U.S, Black feminists are at the forefront of global struggle for social justice.
Bahia, Brazil is a region of significance in Black freedom movements, so Black feminists seized the moment to create a historic global gathering of over 200 hundred Black feminists over two days just before the AWID Forum.
The Black Feminisms Forum (BFF) was a global movement-building process co-created by Black feminist artists, activists, agitators and creators that culminated in the gathering.
The BFF process celebrates the contribution of, provides a space for cross movement exchange and strategizing amongst, and deepens solidarity between, Black feminists around the world. The program of the BFF convening wove together art, ritual, panels, workshops, healing, celebration, mourning and solidarity.
Objectives of the BFF
- To convene a dynamic network of Black feminist activists, scholars, educators, artists, writers, and cultural workers committed to exploring, celebrating and amplifying diverse voices and perspectives;
- To facilitate deep dialogue and share knowledge, tools, and strategies for Black feminist organizing and with other movements and allies;
- To contribute to building and strengthening an ongoing, transnational, inter-generational movement community of Black feminists;
- To collaborate and build strong relationships of solidarity, and effective coalitions between Black feminists and other movements.
The Black Feminisms Forum is a space for Black and Afrodescendant feminists to come together from diverse sectors, regions and identities across Africa and the Diaspora to explore, dialogue, debate, and share the intersections of our struggles and activisms. Convening Black Feminisms at the AWID 2016 Forum is thus a historic opportunity fulfilling a long-awaited need.
A co-created space
Throughout the AWID Forum and Black Feminisms pre-Forum process we will seek to create spaces that allow us to share tools to both cope with, and resist the racism, sexism, classism, ageism, and heterosexism we experience in our daily lives. Together, and from our various locations, we will seek to make connections between these multiple forms of violence and oppression(s) to the larger political, social, and economic contexts in which we live and work.
Engage with the BFF at the Forum !
- Ask a Black feminist about their experiences.
- Look out for contributions from BFF participants throughout the AWID Forum sharing what they heard and learned through the BFF process.
- Hear more after the Forum. This historic process doesn’t end here. Look out for more Black feminist sharing, exchange and knowledge after the forum, which we will amplify on the Forum website.
Learn more and get involved with the BFF
The Black Feminisms Forum (BFF) was created by the BFF Working Group:
- Jamila Abbas • Charo Minas-Rojas • Margo Okazawa-Rey • Jurema Werneck • Gay McDougall • Sokari Ekine • Thenjiwe McHarris • Hakima Abbas • Felogene Anumo • Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah • Patita Tingoi, Kimalee Phillip • Amina Doherty.
The BFF is hosted by AWID who provided the space, support, time and resources to make it possible.
The BFF is co-created with Black-led organizations and individuals from around the world including:
- Adaku Utah • Awa Fall Diop • Afroféminas Revista • Carolina Pires • Code Red for Gender Justice • Fungai Machirori • HOLAAfrica! • Instituto Odara • Maggie Hazvinei Mapondera • NSOROMMA • ...and many more
We honor all of the creative minds that have gone into building and shaping the space. To all of the artists that have contributed to the BFF through your practice:
- Aishah Shahidah Simmons • Afifa Aza • Akwaeke Emezi • Angélica Moreira • Damani Baker • d’bi young anitafrika • Eliciana Nascimento • Fatou Kandé Senghor • Lynnée Denise • Mimi Cherono Ng’ok • Muptee • Nadijah Robinson • Sabriya Simon, Sokari Ekine • Yaba Badoe • Yvonne Fly Onakeme.
To all of the incredible minds that went into shaping sessions, offering wellness practices, speaking, sharing knowledge and of yourselves, being fully present – We appreciate you!
To the hands of all the folks that prepared our meals, supported our translations, and cared for our spirits – Ase!
To our collective ancestors who sent divine energies of abundance – We honour you!
BFF working Group
The Black Feminisms program is led by a Working Group of AWID staff and activists from other organizations and locations. It is being implemented via activities that connect participants and themes of the March of Black Women in Brazil (November 2015), the African Feminist Forum (April 2016), social media and on-line discussions prior to the AWID Forum, a blog series, a two-day pre-meeting before the Forum event (September 2016), integration of discussions at the Forum as well as a commitment to exploring relevant post-Forum follow-up.
Members of the Black Feminisms Forum Working Group
Jamila is a high school student. She is interested in music and the use of social media as a tool to support movement building. She hopes to use her communications skills and experiences to collaborate with other feminist girls and young women. She has interned with Speak Up Africa and is currently involved in raising funds for community based projects to support orphaned children.
Charo is an Afro-Colombian human rights defender with more than two decades years of activism at the national and international levels. Charo is member of the Black Communities’ Process in Colombia (PCN) and the Kuagro Ri Changaina Ri PCN (Black women’s community of PCN). Her work focuses on the defense of the collective human rights of Afro-descendant people and Black/Afro-descendant women, centered on the right to be different but equal (the right to BE), the defense and protection of the Afro-descendant ancestral territories, and the right to self-determination.
As member of PCN’s International Working Group and the Human Rights group, Charo has played a key role in coordinating efforts to connect Black peoples struggles between Colombia and the African Diaspora, particularly in the United States, to build reciprocal solidarity among struggles. She has played an instrumental role exposing gross crimes and human rights violations against Afro-descendant women to make the Colombian government accountable, and provide attention and protection for Afro-descendant women leaders and human rights defenders. Recently she was part of a historical Black women’s mobilization that walked to Bogota and seized a government’s building to pressure for the national authorities to act to protect the life and the ancestral territories from the impacts of mining policies and illegal mining exploitation. She also has brought crimes and human rights violations against Afro-descendant women before different bodies of the United Nations and the Inter American Human Rights Commission where she has provided expert testimony.
Charo is the mother of an 11 year-old future revolutionary and leader.
Dr. Margo Okazawa-Rey is on the faculty of the School of Human and Organizational Development at the Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California, and Professor Emerita at San Francisco State University. She has also held the Barbara Lee Distinguished Chair in Women’s Leadership at Mills College, Jane Watson Irwin Chair in Women’s Studies at Hamilton College, and has been visiting professor at other universities and colleges.
Her primary areas of interest and research are gender, militarism, and feminist activist research. Her work focuses specifically on militarism, armed conflict, and violence against women. In her research, she examines the connections between militarism, economic globalization, and impacts on local and migrant women in South Korea who live and work around US military bases.
Margo also worked for three years as the Feminist Research Consultant at the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling in Ramallah, Palestine, and sits on the international board of the NGOs, PeaceWomen across the Globe, based in Bern Switzerland, and Du Re Bang (My Sister’s Place) in Uijongbu, South Korea. She was a founding member of the Combahee River Collective, who articulated a theory of intersectionality in “A Black Feminist Statement” in the 1970s.
Jurema was born in Morro dos Cabritos, in Rio de Janeiro. She was the first in her family to attend university, where her activism was nurtured in the student movement. Jurema is co-founder of Criola- a black women’s organization, and Articulation of Brazilian Black Women Organizations. Jurema is a visiting scholar at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, member of the Civil Society Advisory Group of UN Women Brazil, on the Board of Trustees at the Brazil Human Rights Fund, and board member of the Institute of Socioeconomic Studies in Brasilia.
Gay served as the United Nations Independent Expert on Minority Issues from 2005 to 2011. She is the former executive director of Global Rights. She has also served on the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. She was appointed the only American member of the 1994 Electoral Commission of South Africa, which facilitated the election of Nelson Mandela. In 1999 she was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.
Among her many international roles, from 1997 through 2001 she served as an Independent Expert on the UN treaty body that oversees compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, during which time she negotiated the adoption of General Recommendation XXV on the Gender Dimensions of Racial Discrimination, which requires governments to report explicitly on the situation of women impacted by racial discrimination. She played a leadership role in the UN Third World Conference against Racism.
Sokari is a social activist, educator, editor, and journalist whose work and writing is engaged with queer, feminist, pan-Africanist, anti-imperialist, and environmental politics — in both Haiti and Nigeria. She has written for publications including Pambazuka News, Feminist Africa and New Internationalist and she is the editor of Blood and Oil: Testimonies of Violence from Women of the Niger Delta, SMS Uprising: Mobile Phone Activism in Africa, and with Firoze Manji, African Awakening: The Emerging Revolutions.
Most recently, Ekine and Hakima Abbas edited the Queer Africa Reader, a path-breaking collection of essays, testimonies, statements, and stories by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex contributors from across the continent. Currently teaching in Port-au-Prince, Ekine edited the blog Black Looks from 2004 to 2014. She tweets at @blacklooks.
Thenjiwe has spent her entire political and professional career challenging the injustices that imprison people and their communities in a life of poverty and/or one behind bars. That commitment has led her to campaign on human rights issues in the United States and around the world. She honed her human rights campaign development and organizing skills while working for international organizations and has played key roles in helping lead high profile mobilizations around the country.
Thenjiwe began her political career calling for an end to policies and practices that contributed to acts of torture committed by law enforcement. She went on to help organize efforts that addressed the human rights violations that occurred during and after Hurricanes Katrina & Rita. She worked on a number of campaigns including those that addressed the illicit and illegal trafficking of small arms, solitary confinement, capital punishment, maternal deaths, excessive use of force by law enforcement, and poverty. She has worked for a number of human rights organizations including Amnesty International. Most recently, Thenjiwe worked for the U.S. Human Rights Network where she helped coordinate efforts to hold the U.S.G accountable for its human rights violations when the United States was up for review by specific UN Mechanisms.
Thenjiwe currently works with a team called Blackbird, which is focused on movement building in this current historical moment that centers anti-black racism, state violence and black resistance as part of the ongoing struggle to transform the country. She is also currently working with a number of social justice organizations and movements in the US and is helping to establish a collective for organizers engaged in movement building work around the world.
Hakima has been active in struggles for social justice for nearly two decades. Trained in political science and international affairs, her work as a policy analyst, trainer, strategist and researcher has focused on strengthening and supporting movements for change in Africa.
Hakima is a member of the Jang! collective that provides popular education tools, platforms and accompaniment to activists working for radical transformation. She is the editor and author of various publications and is on the editorial collective of The Feminist Wire. She is currently Director of Programs at AWID and serves as a board member to the Black Women’s Fund, Greenpeace Africa, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Eastern Africa and the African Sex Workers Alliance.
Felogene is a passionate young feminist activist with over seven years of experience in advancing gender equality through grassroots and online activism, research and capacity building of young women activists. Her roots in feminist movement building were planted at the University of Nairobi where she served as the Women Students Chairperson across the 7 campuses. In 2011, she was awarded Young Woman Achiever by the students association. Prior to joining AWID, she served as the Advocacy Programme Associate at African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET). Felogene has authored the “Feminist Leadership and Development Curriculum for Adolescent Girls” and co-authored the, “Report on the Status of Ratification on the Rights of women in Africa.” She is a member of the African Youth Taskforce on Post 2015 and a Girls Globe blogger.
Felogene is currently finalizing a Masters degree in Public Policy and Administration. She will be working for AWID from her home in Nairobi.
Nana is an African feminist who works out of Ghana. Prior to working with AWID she was the Communications Specialist at the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF). She is also a writer and an award winning blogger whose opinion pieces have been widely published in a range of online and offline media including The Guardian, Feminist Africa and is a regular columnist for This is Africa (a website). Nana has authored a ‘Communications Handbook for Women’s Rights Organisations’, is co-author of ‘Creating Spaces and Amplifying Voices: The First Ten Years of the African Women's Development Fund’, and editor of ‘Women Leading Africa: Conversations with Inspirational African Women’.
Before joining AWID, Patita worked as the Intergovernmental Affairs Secretary for the Government of Kenya. She has previously worked as a program manager at Fahamu and the Centre for Minority Rights Development. She is the Co-founder of the League of Pastoralist Women of Kenya and has served as the convener for the Pastoralist Parliamentary Group. In 2010, she played a key role in developing a partnership strategy for DAWN aimed at Strengthening Policy Analysis and Advocacy on Gender and Climate Change in Africa. She has vast experience working with minorities and Indigenous communities in Africa. Patita has a post graduate degree in Public Policy and Advocacy from the SIT Graduate Institute.
Kimalee is African-Grenadian woman currently based out of Toronto. She is an educator, organizer, consultant and writer who specializes in the fields of legal studies, workers' rights, gender-based and sexualized violence, anti-colonial, anti-racist pedagogies and organizational development. She has conducted qualitative and participatory research and has created and facilitated various workshops, curriculum and learning spaces across Canada, Ghana, Jamaica and Grenada. She holds an MA in Legal Studies from Carleton University and is completing a certificate in Nonprofit Voluntary Sector Management at Ryerson University.
Amina is a Nigerian feminist artivist whose work focuses on feminist philanthropy and creative arts for advocacy. She holds a BA in Political Science & Women’s Studies from McGill University and an MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization from the London School of Economics. Prior to her role as founding member and general coordinator of FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund, Amina worked in the women’s rights grant-making program at the Sigrid Rausing Trust in London. She has facilitated learning programs on women’s rights, resource mobilization, and youth leadership. Amina brings to her activism a passion for music, art, travel, photography, fashion and poetry.
Valérie is a storyteller with a passion for literature, photography, and videography. She has a Masters in International Relations from the Universidad de Cadiz and several years of experience supporting programming as well as communications and fundraising campaigns within non-profit organizations, Canadian federal government, and UN agencies. Her writing and photography has appeared in various publications, including Al Jazeera English, Saraba Magazine, and This is Africa.
She also coordinates the francophone programme of Writivism, a pan-African literary festival. She identifies as queer, womanist, and African feminist (in no particular order).