Latest posts by Bryanna Briley (see all)
- How Exceptional Black Women Lead — A Conversation With Dr. Avis Jones DeWeever
Dr. DeWeever’s latest book helps black women realize their full potential- June 12, 2018
- Nick Cave’s Soundsuits Confront Racism With Radical Artistry [Video]
An exhibition entitled “Here Hear” was previously on display at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Detroit, close to Cave’s alma mater.- October 17, 2016
- Body PositiveSpeaker Malia Anderson Talks Passion, Perseverance and Paying It Forward
“What if I just woke up every morning and said ‘This is my body and I love it.’ and then I went out the door and presented myself in the best possible way?”- October 9, 2016
A group of young women of color is staking their claim in the skateboarding realm. Known as the “Brujas of the Bronx,” this empowering gang has no time for endorsing the patriarchy. As co-founder Arianna Gil explains, the group encourages sisterhood and camaraderie: “It’s a way to find people who think about the world the same way as you. That’s why we skate every day.”
The Brujas formed in 2014. Though they made a regular appearance in the River Avenue Skate Park, heads always turned when they arrived. The girls want to change the currently whitewashed male perspective much of society has about skateboarding.
Describing the group’s desire to redefine skateboarding culture, Gil explained “There’s so little opportunity for young people of color in terms of jobs and education that we don’t feel like a part of this city. Skating is a way to reclaim our freedom.”
Samantha Olivieri was initially drawn to the group because of the sense of independence it gave her. Though she struggled with depression and feelings of inferiority, skating along the railings in Manhattan gave her a sense of purpose. She told The New York Times, “Hearing my trucks on metal is like therapy. It’s one of the most empowering feelings in the world.”
Because it can be dangerous for women to go skating alone, the girls in the group provide support and safety to one another. Through joke telling and story sharing, the Brujas evolved into a true sisterhood, encouraging and guiding one another along the slippery slope called life.
Skating has helped each of the Brujas to cultivate their sense of individuality and identity. According to Gil, “Skateboarding is a political act. It allows us to question private property and reclaim all the spaces in our city that have been rezoned and redeveloped into oblivion.”
The group “adds a little chaos” to things by giving women the strength to reclaim their freedom in spite of community gentrification. They host events and workshops that promote inclusivity and cultural empowerment. In June, “Brujas of the Bronx” collaborated with a Black-Asian solidarity project called By Us for Us to organize an Anti-Prom.
These powerful ladies have a lot of ambition and big plans for the future of their group. Right now, they are planning a free alternative summer camp for local youth. The program would offer nutrition classes, alternative medicine workshops, and hikes through Van Cortlandt Park. This is only one of the many things this astounding group is capable of accomplishing.