Advocating for Racial Equity in Puerto Rico

Colectivo Ilé is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to educate, organize and investigate to strengthen anti-racist and decolonizing work, and generate changes in the community, academic, spiritual, psychological-social, cultural, economic and political spheres within and outside of Puerto Rico.”

Since it was founded in 1992, it has been dedicated to anti-racist and decolonization work. Their work has been key to raising the understanding of personal, institutional and cultural racism and promoting structural changes that eradicate racism. In they journey, they have directed processes to promote a healthy racial identity that strengthens and affirms the self-image, self-concept and self-worth of women who assume their African descent.

Educating, motivating, assisting, and helping people to move towards awareness-in-action in a united and integrated way” has been the primary and transversal pillar of their political and community work.

This relevant and important work for racial equity, is what put Colectivo Ilé as a top priority for the Puerto Rico Women’s Foundation’s first grant distributions.


Through this donation, Colectivo Ilé contributed to the food security of 60 families affected by the precarious situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This was achieved through purchase cards for groceries. In addition, they managed to strengthen the work already started by other organizations, with a project to prepare food for bedridden people and others in need in different communities of Loíza.

Loíza has a predominantly Afro-descendant population and, according to the 2019 census, has between 40 to 49% of its population living below the poverty line, which makes its population in general more vulnerable to a health and economic disaster such as It has been the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commitment shown by Colectivo Ilé not only to create projects but also alliances with other organizations, produced spaces that allowed meeting the needs of Afro-descendant women who led community development projects. They expanded the support to other geographical areas such as Caguas, Guayama, Barranquitas, San Juan, Guánica, Sabana Grande, Mayagüez and Añasco.

Part of this grant was used to strengthen the capacity and scope of projects belonging to queer communities, women, and other projects on food security. This support was intended to amplify their impact during the pandemic and the 2020 earthquakes.

They managed to contribute to a agricultural project in Loíza in conjunction with the Asociación de Agricultores de PR and the Young and Junior Farmers by providing a planting kit and informational materials. They also established a collaboration with Lavandería Móvil and with the LGBTTQIAP+ community also affected by the pandemic.

Another of the achievements they had with this grant was being able to collaborate in the publication of the book series Cátedra de Mujeres Ancestrales. After the earthquakes, Cátedra de Mujeres Ancestrales lost sources of funding and several publications were left in the air. With the donation, the publication of the texts and anthologies that were pending were made possible.

Cátedra de Mujeres Ancestrales is a literary project, directed by Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro, which responds to the call issued by UNESCO to celebrate the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024. The objective of the Cátedra is to study the history of blackness and Afro-descendants from an anti-racist perspective. The creative texts emphasize the presence of black women that have been made invisible throughout history.

Thank you Colectivo Ilé for multiplying in community benefits a donation that we recognize as small, for the amount of work that is so necessary in our communities.

Grantmaking to women’s projects or community projects always has a multiplier effect. It is the most effective and sustainable route to end gender inequality and injustice, in addition to impacting their families and communities.

At the Puerto Rico Women’s Foundation, we are committed to continuing to support projects such as Colectivo Ilé, who fight to combat racism in Puerto Rico and provide the space for our women leaders to continue their activism.

Consider making a donation so we can continue increasing the economic resources that allow us to subsidize projects—powerful, effective, and sustainable—by women and for women in Puerto Rico.


En la FMnPR, visualizamos un Puerto Rico en equidad, comprometido con la justicia social donde las mujeres, niñas y personas de géneros fluido, son protagonistas y puedan desarrollarse plenamente desde su libertad a lo largo del transcurso de su vida. También, proveemos subvenciones y acompañamiento a organizaciones de base comunitaria dirigidas por mujeres que mejor representan y defienden los puntos de vista, las fortalezas, las necesidades y las situaciones de esos grupos.


Danelys Estévez Dávila, Gerente de Comunicaciones, Fundación de Mujeres en Puerto Rico

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