Kiskeya Libre

Kiskeya Libre is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting artists, intellectuals, and leaders from across the Dominican diaspora. Our collective utilizes arts and culture to empower communities and create welcoming spaces which are ProBlack, ProWoman, and ProQueer, throughout the Dominican diaspora.

Kiskeya Libre was founded in 2015 by a group of young Afro-Dominican community organizers, artists, and young professionals. Among us is lead organizer Henry Gonzalez, a spoken word poet, activist, and senior at Cornell University, currently serving as National Organizer at Million Hoodies Justice, a prominent organization in the Movement for Black Lives. Our leadership also includes Kaila Paulino and Chloe Nunez, Afro-Latina activists and artists well-versed in Caribbean spiritual traditions and locally known for their role in cultivating the Afro-Latinx community in NYC. Shenda Medina is a journalist, digital strategist, and logistics manager based out of Santo Domingo and brings to the team years of experience in communications, logistics, and project management. On our journey so far, we have organized and hosted two artist residencies in the Dominican Republic with the goal of connecting artists of Dominican/Latin descent on and off the island.

We work to empower marginalized communities in the Dominican Republic with free, public programming that includes educational and cultural workshops, showcases of traditional music (Fiesta de Palos), Open Mics, and various other forms of exchange between 15 visiting artists and the local community.

Kiskeya Libre is here for the celebration, interrogation, and innovation of Latinidad/Dominicanidad. We will revel in our archives, dig up and weed out our roots, while all the while planting seeds for the future. We will connect Kiskeyano/Latinx artists, intellectuals, and activists from across the diaspora through programming such as artist retreats, educational programs, festivals, and conferences. We will help preserve folkloric knowledge, while pushing our inheritances in new direction. Through community spaces centered around the arts and shared heritage, we will help foster an engaged and interconnected community.

Kiskeya Libre unites those dedicated to stewardship of the island and the lives of all who live there, those who seek to defend Kiskeya from foreign and domestic exploitation of resources and destruction of the natural environment. Kiskeya Libre brings together those passionate about building a sustainable future for Kiskeya. We are dedicated to uplifting our people and creating a cultural and artistic grassroots movement.

Dominicanidad is a nebulous and multifaceted concept. However, we are united by our shared characteristics. We are the beautiful offspring of the violence caused by European practices of colonialism, capitalism, slavery, and indigenous genocide. Latinidad is a cultural mestizaje of the African diaspora, Indigenous peoples, and Europeans settlers. Latinidad is heritage, contradiction, and innovation. Latinidad is also Blackness, Queerness, Poverty, and countless other possibilities of identity, ability, and corporal form. We confront that Latinidad is also antiblackness, cispatriarchy, and homophobia.

[Text borrowed and adapted from Kiskeya Libre’s social media. Follow our work at http://www.facebook.com/kiskeyalibre and on Instagram @kiskeyalibre.]