Photo courtesy of Madelyn Bonilla

Madelyn Bonilla On Being The AfroLatina Representation Her Younger Self Needed

Bonilla, the founder of online community Brown Narrativ, spoke with us about how her experiences as an AfroLatina woman in NYC’s Bronx led her to write and direct her debut film, Pajón.

Madelyn Bonilla is dedicated to being the person she needed when she was growing up.

The former forensic science researcher-turned-advertising guru was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and raised in the Bronx, New York - or, “where Hip-Hop was bred”, as she puts it. Growing up in a typically Latinx family, community, and neighborhood, Bonilla knew that there was so much more of herself to discover, as her interests in Black culture shaped a lot of her life. It wasn’t until her early 20s that she started to allow herself to explore her identity as an AfroLatina woman. The first to do so in her family, Bonilla faced – and still faces – scrutiny and shaming from the Latinx community at large, but also from her own loved ones. Comments like, “Your hair looks messy” or, “Your hair’s not combed” when Bonilla first began rocking her natural curls truly mirrored the thoughts and opinions of those around her, too. Her experiences as an AfroLatina woman are the experiences so many face, as they try to get to the root of their own roots.

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Photo: Javier Wallace.

In Panama, a Youth Soccer Group Leads the Charge Against Racism & Economic Impacts of COVID-19

In Curundú, a predominantly Black neighborhood in Panama City, a group of young people are using soccer as a way to come together to fight discrimination and social exclusion—issues which have been exacerbated in recent months by COVID-19.

"We are Black! In the USA and here in Panama, the same racial issues exist and we are not oblivious to them," says Andres Madrid, the 23-year-old co-founder and coach of Asociacion Deportiva Curundú (Curundú Sport Association or ADC).

ADC is a community-based organization that seeks to "achieve social integration and the strengthening of values, in boys, girls and youth through sports and workshops."

The group is also rallying in support of its community, in light of the economic impacts of COVID-19 and ongoing police violence and racism in the country.

Since the onset of the pandemic earlier this year, Madrid and ADC co-founder Cesar Santos, 24, have used mobile technology, such as WhatsApp, and virtual platforms to remain in communication with the group and to conduct practices with the more than 30 boys and girls, aged 10 to 17, who participate in the soccer program. The group has also leveraged its community connections to provide a much-needed supply of food to players and their families over the past several months.

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