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Favianna Rodriguez

Women of Color in the Movement
Excerpt from an interview with Favianna Rodriguez

Favianna Rodriguez (favianna.com) is a celebrated printmaker and digital artist based in Oakland, California. Her composites, created using high-contrast colors and vivid figures reflect literal and imaginative migration, global community, and interdependence.  

As a young Latina I felt invisible. I am the daughter of immigrants and grew up in communities of color most of my life. I felt that my immigrant family, our communities were invisible. Yet, we all carried the brunt of what was happening to the economy in the country and even throughout the world. We were experiencing the effects of injustices in our own community. The injustices I saw as a child, the racism that I experienced via the media or the school curriculum, the xenophobia directed at my parents... angered me in a way that I didn’t have words for. Art became a way for me to talk about those experiences, reframe them, and do something positive. Making art was a way to have a voice and an empowering way to fight back, instead of acting out on my internalized oppression.

In my work, I approach issues that most affect me as a woman of color and that I see affecting the women around me, whether it’s my mother, family or friends. This includes issues around immigrant rights, economic justice, climate change, sexism, patriarchy, and globalization. I think about systems that work to oppress us and take away our agency to be the full humans we want to be. The same forces that are destroying the planet and organizing against workers and supporting the big banks as they rip off people all over the country are passing anti-immigrant laws and leading this conservative assault on women’s reproductive rights. I engage in campaigns that look at the intersections between these different struggles.

"I engage in campaigns that look at the intersections between different struggles." —Favianna Rodriguez

I’ve seen more women than ever before question and challenge the frameworks that we have accepted for so long. Women of color in particular are really challenging traditional feminism and thinking about how race is a key part of how we need to analyze being a woman. In the immigrant rights sector, I see women workers organizing for collectives that hold better resources and look at building infrastructures because many unions are not creating that space for immigrant labor—immigrant women in particular. I see women organizers usually outnumber men organizers and more young immigrant queer women are speaking out about their experiences. In the environmental sector, young women are drawing parallels between how we inflict abuse on mother Earth and on women’s bodies. Women are finally embracing their complexities and claiming their power.


New Political Spaces | Vol. 19, No. 1 – 2012 | Credits

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