Our Work & Strengths
PODER has an extensive thirty-year history, emerging from the encuentro movement organized by the Latin American Coalition Against Violence (LACEV), which was aimed at addressing gender-based violence that affected first generation immigrants and political refugees from the the Latin American diaspora. For the past 20 years, the organizers that spearheaded the evolution from ‘LACEV’ to ‘MUJER’ developed and implemented educational workshops, trainings and campaigns that addressed issues of intergenerational trauma and systemic violence that impact the diaspora.
In order to better serve our communities, the community elected to change its name from ‘MUJER’ to ‘PODER Afro y Abya Yala Fuerza Feminista’ in 2018. ‘MUJER’ is a word evocative of essentialist gender norms, which no longer aligned with our goal to create decolonial, intersectional, community-building spaces. Our name change to PODER aims to better reflect who we are, who we serve, and what spaces we aim to create.
Our Current Work and Strengths
PODER Afro y Abya Yala Fuerza Feminista focuses on educational programming and cultivating community spaces. Over the past years, our signature project has been:
Decolonizing Latinx Feminisms Course: Our Decolonizing Latinx Feminisms Course (DLFC) is a free knowledge-sharing and community building space that brings together queer, trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people with roots to Abya Yala, also known as Latin America and the Caribbean. The community course provides a space for community members to cultivate and share knowledge about the feminisms that emerge from the Latinx diaspora. Throughout the 7 weeks, course participants thrive in an environment that centres Black and Indigenous thought, trauma-informed and culturally-appropriate content, and histories that acknowledge the critical resistance of our peoples. The community course offers learning plans that take into consideration different learning styles to provide a more accessible course for community members.
Other community projects that were held before our hiatus due to COVID-19 were:
Conversation Cafe: Monthly community gatherings centered around a specific topic and moderated by our board members and community leaders.
Historical Trauma and Modern Day Oppresion: How does this relates to Eating Disorders? - Facilitated by Gloria Lucas from Nalgona Positivity Pride (NPP), participants learnt about historical trauma, the white-thin-cis hetero industrial complex, and how colonialism influenced food, with explorations from the legacies of colonialism on self-esteem, body-image, and food.
Our partners, collectives and past projects
Artistic and Solidarity Action with Honduran Migrants/Refugees (Partnership with Sick Muse Arts, No One is Illegal and Honduro-Canada Solidarity Community)
This collaborative and artistic event in solidarity with the migrant caravan included a panel discussion, art activities for children and various artistic performances from the community. The funds collected in this event were sent to Las Patronas in Mexico.
Tales from the South (Partnership with Working Women Community Centre) Our collaborative project between PODER and Working Women Community Centre ran through the summer of 2018. A small group of participants with roots in Abya Yala came together to collectively explore identity and belonging within the multicultural context of Canada. The project allowed participants to engage in weekly learning sessions, create community and reclaim pre-colonial knowledges that have been lost through the ongoing process of colonialism. The project included six learning sessions facilitated by Mayan educator Maria Montejo and two art sessions lead by community artist Janet Romero-Leiva. The program culminated in a collective gathering an art display at Dufferin Park, in the city of Tkaronto. Tales from the South seeks to build relationships of solidarity among the Latinx community and Indigenous communities in Turtle Island. We hope this to be the beginning of a collective awareness in our community that fosters much needed relationships of solidarity.
Cocimientos (Partnership with University of Toronto Researcher, Isa Urrutia): Cocimientos is a community-based eating-disorder support and knowledge project, made up of group of women, trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people of Abya Yala* also known as Latin America and the Caribbean. Our goal is to create programming and resources on rediscovering positive relationships with our bodies, in community. We are a Toronto-based community-based support and knowledge building group of people of Abya Yala* also known as Latin America and the Caribe. The group is named ‘cocimientos’ – a cocimiento is a medicinal herb drink used to cure maladies. “Cocimiento” is also close to the word “conocimiento” (knowledge) because through this group we hope to learn more about ourselves and our experiences. The project works to create community resources on topics relating to food and bodies in Toronto through a body-positive and fat-positive lens.
Juntxs: A Latinx* Parenting Support Group, Juntxs, aims to create a space for Latinx* parents and guardians to share their unique parenting experiences and facilitate collective learning. We work from an anti-oppressive framework, and seek to foster an empowering and judgement-free community of mothers and guardians to get together, support one another and generate social change. They welcome women, trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour of the LGBTTIQQ2SA+ communities in the Latin American & Caribbean / Latinx*/ Abya Yala/ Anáhuac/ Tawantinsuyo diaspora.