NUESTRA FILOSOFÍA

OUR PHILOSOPHY

As women, trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people of Abya Yala*, also known as Latin America and the Caribbean, we recognize that Black and Indigenous Latinx* communities suffer exploitation, discrimination and marginalization in a society that grants power and privilege to white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy. We also recognize that there are social, cultural, racial, and economic inequities that allocate certain privileges to some Latinx communities and not to others.

PODER strives to create decolonial, anti-oppressive, and empowering community spaces that explicitly prioritize LGBTTIQQ2SA+, Non-Binary, Gender Non-Conforming, Agender, Mad, Crip, and Sick and Disabled voices. Our practice centers the decolonization of Latinx** communities in solidarity with the liberation of Black and Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.

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* Abya Yala is a term used by the Guna peoples of Panama for the territory commonly referred to as Latin America, which is comprehensive of Mexico, Central and South America, as well as parts of the Caribbean. We use the term Abya Yala to position our organization in a culturally-appropriate, equity-focused framework for understanding and addressing the diverse experiences of people identifying with the Latin American diaspora.

** Latinx is a term comprehensive of, but not limited to, Indigenous, Black, Afrodescendant, Afrolatinx, Asian Latinx, Muslim Latinx, and other mixed and/or diasporic peoples with roots to Abya Yala, also known as Latin America and the Caribbean.

MISIÓN Y VISIÓN

MISION AND VISION

PODER is a grassroots volunteer-led organization for people with roots to Latin America, Abya Yala, the Caribbean, and the diaspora. We are committed to decolonization through collective learning and community building.  

PODER aims to create a cultural shift in critical awareness towards decolonization and liberation in solidarity with Black and Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.

30

Years of Work

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175+

Events Hosted

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2500+

Latin American and Caribbean participants of our workshops

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650+

Front-Line workers trained on the issues faced by Latin-American women and families victims of violence   

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NUESTRO EQUIPO

OUR TEAM

PODER’s Board of Director’s is comprised of women and gender non-conforming and non-binary peoples from the Latin American diaspora. All of the board members are required to sit on at least one committee that supports the organization’s development. 

Aldeli Albán Reyna

President

Aldeli Albán Reyna is an Afro-Peruvian writer, poet, and storyteller from Montréal. She is an artist with a natural talent for using language to bring stories to life coupled with an ability to transform her lived experiences, using English and Spanish narratives. She holds an Honours BA in Women & Gender Studies, Spanish and Italian from the University of Toronto. Her passion for activism, equity, and learning stems from a long history of community engagement work, life experiences and a desire for social change. 

MaryCarmen Lara Villanueva

Vice-President

Marycarmen was born and raised in Mexico City. She has a B.A. in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Calgary and extensive training in the fields of community work, immigration and settlement, adult education, project planning and social development. Marycarmen has several years of experience working in the non-for-profit sector, she has also volunteered in various community organizations in Mexico, Calgary and Toronto.

Claudia Cornali Motta

Director of Finance

Claudia is a queer Latinx woman born and raised in Toronto, Canada. She studied at U of T and George Brown College, specializing in Project Management and International Relations. She has coordinated and delivered programs to youth on the topics of financial literacy and entrepreneurship as a means of creating their own economic empowerment. Her background in front-end web development and work as a project coordinator has led to her work with brands like TD and Virgin Mobile Canada. Claudia is committed to the centering of Queer, Indigenous and Afro-Latinx voices and she is looking forward to creating spaces with MUJER where the Latinx community can express themselves freely and openly.

Roxana Escobar Ñañez

co-Director of Fundraising

Roxana is a Peruvian M.Ed. is Social Justice Education at OISE. She holds a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in political science by the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Lima). Roxana’s professional experience include eight years of teaching at both undergraduate and graduate levels, public service in the Peruvian Ministry of Education, and several research projects. Her interests cover a wide range of topics related to intercultural education, feminist theories, Afro-descendant diaspora in Latin America and Caribe, and critical thought. At OISE, Roxana has been awarded the Muriel and Dany Fung Award and the International Students Fellowship.

Antoinette Salazar Medina

co-Director of Fundraising

Antoinette Salazar Medina is a queer, sex-positive, intersectional feminist of Afro-Dominican and Afro-Peruvian descent. She is a Behavioural Science graduate from George Brown College, and is currently working on an Honours Bachelor in Sexuality Studies at York University. She aspires to be a sex educator committed to anti-racism and anti-oppression. She developed a course alongside her supervising professor called, Decolonizing the Afro-Latinx Diaspora hoping to contribute to Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean feminism in academia. Antoinette is particularly interested in social, political, and economic issues affecting (dis)abled, queer, trans, Black and Indigenous individuals within Latinx communities. Antoinette helped launch a blog tackling homophobia and transphobia in newcomer communities for Newcomer Women’s Services. She also volunteered for The Centre for Women and Trans People at York University as a workshop facilitator, and continues to volunteer for events that centre queer and trans individuals. She also co-organized the successful Women Rock Fest fundraising event for MUJER.

Mercedes Sharpe Zayas

co-Director of Communications

Mercedes Sharpe Zayas is a second-generation queer Salvadoran femme committed to equity and anti-oppression both within and beyond the latinx diaspora. The majority of her work has centred on the relationship between gentrification and precarity in the urban form, with a specific focus on the feminization, racialization, and geographic concentration of poverty in Toronto’s urban peripheries. She has cultivated this work both through her Master’s degree in Urban Planning at the University of Toronto, as well as through her professional experiences as a Policy Research Intern at the City of Toronto and as a Research Assistant for the Inclusive Local Economies program at the Metcalf Foundation. Mercedes has won a number of awards for her research, including the 2016 Marsha Ritzdorf Award for Best Student Work on Diversity, Social Justice and the Role of Women in Planning and the 2013 Richard F. Salisbury Prize for the best undergraduate thesis in Honours Anthropology at McGill University. Mercedes has been volunteering with MUJER since 2014, and joined the Board of Directors in 2017.

Daniela Glaser Alvarez

co-Director of Communications

Daniela was born in Colombia, and grew up in Toronto. She holds a Bachelors of Social Work degree from Ryerson University, and is in her last semester of her Masters of Social Work degree at Ryerson University. Daniela was actively involved with the Ryerson students’ union as the racialised students’ collective coordinator, advocating, implementing and facilitating anti-racism initiatives and events on campus. She also served on the board as a faculty director of community services. Daniela founded Ryerson University’s 2013 -2015 chapters of the Organization of Latin American Students as the president, building Latinx community on campus through facilitating social, and educational events. She is dedicated to working with the Latinx community with a background in counselling, trauma work, facilitating support groups for survivors of domestic violence and advocacy with an anti-oppressive, anti-racist, decolonizing approach. Daniela’s experience includes working at Nellie’s Women’s Shelter, and Costi Immigrant Services Family and Mental Health Centre. Her research looks at the experiences of Latinx women working with sexual violence in the Latinx community through a critical race feminism framework. Daniela is interested in the impacts of sexual violence on racialised women, and decolonial approaches to collective healing. On her spare time she is a food enthusiast, and is known to be dancing whenever the opportunity arises.

Danielle Araya

Board Member

Danielle Araya is a Canadian born Mestiza-Chilena, who works as an anti-oppression educator and is currently employed with the 519 community centre, as a facilitator specializing in trans inclusion training and as the coordinator of the Trans Youth Mentorship Program. Dani has also worked with organizations like 2 Spirited People of the 1st Nations and Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy; as a member of their boards, as a social justice storyteller, and as a peer outreach worker to help better support and serve the two-spirit communities in and outside Toronto. She is proud to carry on the legacy of her ancestors, both of blood and spirit, and inspire others as a teacher, healer, leader, and dreamer.

Maria Clara

Board Member