EWOCC is pleased to announce that this year’s keynote address for the 30th Annual Empowering Women of Color Conference, “No Better Time Than Now: Transnational Resistance, Solidarity & Love” will be made by Favianna Rodriguez and CeCe McDonald.
Favianna Rodriguez is a transnational interdisciplinary artist and cultural organizer on a mission to create profound and lasting social change in the world. Her art and collaborative projects address migration, global politics, economic injustice, patriarchy, and interdependence. Favianna’s practice is grounded in the desire to humanize and empower communities who are impacted by inequality and racism. She submerges herself fully in the issues she addresses in order to produce work that is informed by the social and political conditions of the time. She spends time on the front lines with affected communities, researches policies, and supports fellow artists of color and migrants through resources, mentorship, and collaborative opportunities. Born in Oakland, California, Favianna’s earliest mentors were artists and movement leaders in the Chicano and Black Arts Movement. When Favianna is not making art, she is directing CultureStrike, a national arts organization that engages artists, writers and performers in migrant rights.
CeCe McDonald, an aspiring fashion student living in Minneapolis, was attacked by a racist, transphobic mob while walking to the grocery store in July of 2010. One of her attackers, intoxicated and adorned with a swastika tattoo, died days following the incident. CeCe was charged with two murders and was threatened with up to 80 years in a cage for simply defending herself. While imprisoned, she discovered that her story was not unique, but that she was among many Black people—particularly Black, trans women—railroaded to prison. The stories of Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, and Mumia Abu-Jamal inspired her to fight not only for her own freedom but for all the trans women who have been slain or made victims of the criminal injustice system. Since her release in January of 2014, CeCe has become a leading and outspoken activist, inspiring many to take action against mass incarceration and for racial justice and trans liberation.