2021 Conference

36th Annual Empowering Womxn of Color Conference | March 13, 2021

Igniting leadership, confidence, and cultural strength amongst Black & Indigenous womxn and womxn of color


The 36th Annual Empowering Womxn of Color Conference (EWOCC), “ Igniting Leadership, Confidence, and Cultural Strength Amongst Black & Indigenous Womxn and Womxn of Color” taps into our collective power to renew our spirits, minds, and hearts after this past year of immense challenges.  We prioritize the safety, preservation, and nourishment within ourselves and between communities so we may continue to exist, resist, and thrive. Now more than ever we divest from compartmentalizing struggles and  move toward the deconstruction of structural oppression that especially targets Black & Indigenous womxn. 

As we continue our work to create anti-racist spaces, it is important to center the leadership of womxn of color, especially those affected most by the anti-Black and anti-Indigenous culture we resist today. We hold ourselves accountable for these realities and build resistance. This exclusion hurts the collective as the medicine, brilliance, and intuition of Black and Indigenous womxn is continually unheard, unseen, and un-nurtured. As world structures shift, it is crucial for humanity’s survival to return to mother earth and return to the innate knowledge within ourselves in order to uplift and empower everyone. We gather, with the means that the digital world allows, so our voices can speak their truth and ignite our power from within: to rise to positions of leadership, confidence, and overall strength. 

Through a series of innovative workshops, a panel discussion, and speakers, we will explore how we as Black, Indigenous, and womxn of color can hold each other accountable and hold each other up.  As we proudly celebrate 36 years of EWOCC, we invite self-identified womxn of color of all ages, abilities, socioeconomic backgrounds, immigration statuses, gender presentations, sexual orientations, nationalities, religions, and cultural backgrounds to join us. Together, through discussion, learning practical skills,  community building, and healing, we will discuss preservation and dissemination of knowledge, and imagine and cultivate revolutionary possibilities.

EWOCC has its own legacy of remarkable womxn imagining, shaping and creating the world we inhabit today. Founded in 1985, EWOCC was one of the first conferences to present womxn of color with an opportunity to address the most pressing racial, class, and gender issues we face. As inheritors of this legacy, we recognize the tireless and often thankless work of those who have come before us and those who will pick up the torch after we are gone. This year, it is our time to build and strengthen community, practice radical vulnerability, and manifest a future where our communities are protected. 

“Igniting Leadership, Confidence, and Cultural Strength Amongst Black & Indigenous Womxn and Womxn of Color” is a statement about re-centering the voices and knowledge that will bring us power to resist, build, and thrive. 

Roxane Gay: With One N

“Roxane Gay: With One N

Roxane Gay is an author and cultural critic whose writing is unmatched and widely revered. Her work garners international acclaim for its reflective, no-holds-barred exploration of feminism and social criticism. With a deft eye on modern culture, she brilliantly critiques its ebb and flow with both wit and ferocity.


Tourmaline: Film Screening & Keynote

Building upon her long-standing experience as a community organizer, Tourmaline’s research mines archival sources, tracing historical lineages of marginalized and excluded communities. By centering and inscribing black, brown, trans, and queer historical figures and narratives, she directly challenges dominant cultural histories and storytelling. Her work honors and links antecedents of resistance with current possibilities for liberation, and offers models in which to broadly imagine and thrive within self-actualization.

Available Workshops

Morning Panel: Reclaiming Ancestral Power In Our World As Leaders & Change-makers

Mickaela “Micky” B (They/She): Is a Black trans femme, bisexual artist and abolitionist. As a descendant of the first “free” Black welders on occupied Mvskoke-Creek land (Southwest Georgia), her work utilizes culture, buried histories, visual art, and physical movement as tools of abolitionist liberation.You can find them at @mickaela007

Maisa Morrar (She/Her): Is one of the founders of the Oakland Power Project (OPP) and a current member of the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM). OPP is a project of Critical Resistance that began in 2015, an abolitionist organization that began the Health workers cohort to respond to community needs for an option for a medical response without calling the police. You can find her at @uwase.m

Niria Alicia (She/They/We): Is a Xicana Indigena human rights advocate, climate justice organizer, educator, storyteller and social impact strategist dedicated to protecting the sacredness of Mother Earth and the dignity of historically oppressed peoples.You can find her at @niriaalicia

Nialah Edari (She/Her):  Is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and moved to New York to study at Barnard College of Columbia University. She is the co-founder of Freedom March NYC, a youth protest and policy group on the frontlines pushing for reform in New York City and nationally. You can find her at @nialahedari

This panel will be moderated by Henna Kaur (She/They). She works at the intersection of the immigration and criminal legal systems as a public defender representing detained immigrants. She builds community projects that center abolitionist praxis and transformative justice.

Afternoon Panel: Reclaiming Ancestral Power In Our World As Leaders & Change-makers

Beatris A. Mendez Gandica (She/Her): 
Is from San Cristobal, Venezuela. She is an engineer working as a Program Manager at Microsoft. She started a nonprofit organization, Nuevo Foundation, whose mission is to inspire kids to be curious, confident, and courageous by discovering the world of STEM. You can find her at @beagandica

Miriam Mosqueda (She/They): Is a Queer, Indigenous, poet/artist, community educator and worker. They blend together storytelling with digital collage art as spaces of healing – creating with love, tenderness, rage, breath, and reflection. You can find her at @vientoxsol

Pennie Opal Plant (She/Her): Is of Yaqui, Choctaw/Cherokee (undocumented), and European ancestry, is co-founder of Idle No More SF Bay and Movement Rights. She is a signatory on the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty. You can find them at @pennieplant

Marguerite Alexis Ferrera (She/Her): Is a singer, songwriter, pianist and reiki practitioner who was born and raised in South Los Angeles. Marguerite is the founder and creator of Freedom and Soul Healing, an organization that uses the arts as activism to promote positive mental wellness holistic health and restorative justice. You can find them at @freedomandsoulhealing

This panel will be moderated by Nathalie Villarpando (She/Her). She is a filmmaker, writer, and world traveler. She is a first generation American with cultures of Peruvian and Bolivian descent. She has previously been involved in directing a documentary for the youth refugee program, Soccer without Borders in Oakland, CA. You can find her at @thenatvillar.

EWOCC is recognized to be one of the longest running conferences in the nation that addresses the needs and concerns of womxn of color. The conference brings together cutting edge womxn of color activists such as Angela Davis, Elaine Brown, Cherrie Moraga, Gina Palcado and Chrystos with Bay Area community leaders and academics (especially students) to discuss and strategize ways of impacting the current issues facing womxn of color.