Female power has never looked as badass until you've met The Brujas, an all girl skate crew located in The Bronx, New York fighting gentrification, sexism, capitalism and racism. These ladies are showing the world what can be done when diversity, strength, and knowledge are put together mixed with passion and the search for social justice. Taking the city of New York and a mostly white male dominated sport by storm, these women are hitting the pavement and working for change by challenging the social issues that their communities face on a daily basis.
Arianna Gil, 21, the collectives co-founder tells Konbini: “There’s so little opportunity for young people of color in terms of jobs and education that we don’t feel like a part of this city. Skating is a way to reclaim our freedom.” Not only is this collective of cultural importance, but it is a constructive and positive way for the women who make up the crew to relieve anxiety, stress, and anger they deal with internally as well. Just like any creative outlet, skating is as important as the air they breath, regardless of where they’re skating.
Gentrification is a huge issue they are trying to shed some light on, preserving the streets that gave them their sense of freedom in the first place, essentially preserving a part of their identity. Another member, 19 year old Sam describes the direct impact of a wealthy upper class that has taken over Upper Manhattan: “If I walk down the street and my hair is not done, I don’t look the cleanest, I’ve got my skateboard, me and my friends are laughing too loud, someone who just moved into the area will think you are being intrusive. And will be more likely to call the cops. Little do they know, we’re not intrusive, it’s just been our neighborhood. And doing stuff like that to quiet down the culture that’s already alive, is killing the culture. That’s why we need to preserve it.”
Using skateboarding as a political act is The Brujas’ way of reclaiming the safe havens and neighborhoods of those who have been swept away by rezoning and development. They’re also extremely active voices in their community, participating in City Council hearings, protesting, and collaborating with other like-minded collectives and groups around them.
Standing together, the women understand that change will happen regardless, it's something that comes with living in a developing urban city. Their sense of community, however, is something that can be carried on with them wherever they go, “...Taking our memories and continuing our community no matter what. In terms of my memory of New York, I’m thankful for skating because it at least preserves that continuity in community. That’s the only thing that really counts anyway.”
We love a strong group of women fighting for the issues they find most important in their communities, thank you to each member of The Brujas for inspiring us.
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All photos belong to The Brujas, article cited from Konbini online.