Colorism in the Latino Community Conversation

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Colorism in the Latino Community Conversation

Saturday, May 21 5:30 - 7 PM

Free or by donation

The Conversation on Colorism and Bias in the Latino community is a pre-show event for Milagro’s production of City Without Altar. The play examines issues of racial identity and belonging within the Dominican- Haitian community along the border region of the Dominican Republic during the 1937 Haitian massacre. This conversation provides a forum for Latinos to delve into similar issues, and dissect the origins for colorism, examine what biases exist within the Latino community, and ultimately discuss a roadmap of solutions when dealing with these internal prejudices moving forward.


ALEXANDRA MEDA (attending virtually) is a stage director, culture-producer, disrupter for social justice, and a digital media creator, Meda generates original works through collective/ensemble practice that is engaged both in person and virtually with artists and changemakers across the globe. As a devised theatre maker she nurtures female-driven spaces that center WOC in rich collaborations between the community, performers, scholars, designers, thinkers, and artists. With her work, she aims to positively shift how we interact with, look at, and value the femme body. She is the Artistic Director for Teatro Luna + Teatro Luna West, a national Latinx/WOC collective that tours internationally with ensembles founded in 2000 in Chicago and 2014 in Los Angeles. In 2018 she opened up Studio Luna, a performance and EDI workshop laboratory for new work, community gathering, and thought. Spring 2019 she directed and co-produced an Audible Original called TALKING WHILE FEMALE & OTHER DANGEROUS ACTS, featuring 25 short solo plays with original music with a forthcoming podcast of the same title. Currently, she is finishing development on THE TIMES, the third play in Teatro Luna’s trilogy on themes of violence against Women which goes on tour in 2020 through the support of a National Touring & Development grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts. The trilogy begins with GENERATION SEX which world premiered at the Los Angeles Theatre Center 2015, LOVESICK, workshopped in 2017 at the DESTINOS International Latino Theatre Festival in Chicago, and culminates with THE TIMES which is a production with an accompanying museum exhibit documenting the last decade of violence against women of color by women of color.

She has a forthcoming book project on the relationship between collaboration, failure, and innovation with Dr. Liza Ann Acosta, contributes to the National Cultural Navigations Project, is a steering committee member of The Jubilee and the Latinx Theatre Commons- both National movements for equity and parity in Theatre, and runs the Latinx Theatre Alliance Los Angeles playwrights circle with Luis Alfaro. Since 2017 you can find her facilitating Creative Renewal, Collaborative Leadership, and Leading Change retreats, workshops, and training in her favorite cities around the world. She was a 2019 Center Theatre Group Sherwood Award Finalist.

DR.NICOLE VILLEGAS, OTD,OTR/L, is an occupational therapist whose clinical practice promotes social justice and wellness to improve quality of life.

Through the use of therapeutic activity, Nicole helps clients participate in things that they need and want to do (occupations). She compassionately collaborates with clients to help them realize their strengths, connect to resources, and develop supportive tools.

Nicole believes that practicing self-determination, respect and empowerment can improve overall well-being. Nicole completed a Master of Science (MS) and Post-professional Doctorate (OTD) in Occupational Therapy from Boston University, with focused study in primary care services. She earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Human Development from University of California, Davis. Nicole’s holistic occupational therapy practice is informed by research evidence, theory, and experience in the following areas: in-home services for adults living with HIV, inpatient physical rehabilitation, community-based mental health services, and graduate student mentorship.

VANESA MENDOZA is the executive assistant for Hacienda CDC.

ABOUT HACIENDA CDC Hacienda CDC is a Latino Community Development Corporation that strengthens families by providing affordable housing, homeownership support, economic advancement and educational opportunities.

Hacienda Community Development Corp. was formed in 1986 to provide necessary housing and supportive services to Cully’s low-income, predominantly Latino community. At that time , NE Portland’s Cully neighborhood was home to the largest population in Oregon. They have built 10 housing communities in the Northwestern Oregon- creating a portfolio of 441 units of supportive, community centered affordable housing. A number set to double in 2022. Today, their community developments house 1,500 people, over half are children. Their Small Business advising, Homeownership support, and Youth & Family Services grew from the needs of their residents and they continue to embrace holistic, client-centered approach to strengthen their community. Hacienda is now Oregon’s largest Latino-led, Latino-serving housing organization and remains a trusted name in the community as they continue to expand their services through the Portland metropolitan area.

GABRIEL HIGUERA is an instructor of Ethnic Studies at Portland Community College, representing Adelante Mujeres.


Founded in 2002 by Bridget Cooke, Sister Barbara Raymond, and 15 Latina mothers, Adelante Mujeres was created to do something no other nonprofit was doing in the state of Oregon: focus on the needs of marginalized immigrant Latina women.

Through their work with the Latino community in other local organizations, Bridget and Barbara noticed that Latina moms did not actively participate in classes or activities, and often remained isolated in their homes.

When Adelante Mujeres began to offer programs specifically designed for their needs, these women quickly found their voices. At Adelante Mujeres, we recognize that despite the fact that more than 18% of the US population is Latino, they are underrepresented in decision-making roles in our society. Latina voices are particularly missing from discussions that guide policies and legislature that directly impact their lives. We want to change that. Latina women have the capacity to lead and we are working to empower the women and girls in our programs to do just that. More than 80% of Adelante Mujeres staff identify as Latina and share similar lived experiences as our participants.

Adelante Mujeres provides holistic education and empowerment opportunities to marginalized Latina women and families to ensure full participation and active leadership in the community.


El Zócalo
537 SE Stark Street
Portland, OR 97214 United States