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As a little girl growing up in Detroit, encountering an Afro-Latino was rare. There was little to no Latino representation in the midwest, leading me to rely on mainstream media for a portrayal of my community. My mother did her best to educate me on my Mexican roots, yet I still felt a slight disconnect from the Latin community. Because I didn’t resemble Latinas who had European physical features, I felt I wasn’t Latina enough—even though I identified as such, even though my Latinidad was all I knew. When I began taking trips to the tierra of Mexico ten years ago, I remember feeling overjoyed at the sight of people who looked like me. I felt seen. I felt recognized. From then on, a hunger to educate myself on the Black diaspora within the Latin American community grew exponentially. Once I moved to NYC in 2015, I was exposed to people of different backgrounds, cultural traditions, foods, and dialects. The more I started seeing different parts of the world—like Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic—the more I was able to connect with those who have the same complexion as me. With all of this new-found knowledge and experience, it felt like a new world was opening up for me and for many who look like me. That became a catalyst for me and the role I wanted to play: Fostering a community that celebrates and honors Afro-Latinidad. Behold, Yo Soy Afro Latina was born. My goal is to shed light on the beauty and the magnitude of Afro Latinas, to create a space where we are acknowledged, and to celebrate our beautiful, diverse culture. We’ve been here and we’re not going anywhere. This is our time to shine. — Bianca Kathryn. THE MISSION. At Yo Soy Afro Latina, we are on a mission to empower Black women within the Latin community. Founded by a Black woman, YSAL celebrates Afro-Latinidad in the Americas and we’re here to validate our hermanas’ experience. This is more than a trend or a movement. This is a celebration of a culture that is just as diverse as it is rich in pride.