Meet the Brujas, the Bronx’s all-female skate crew and the subject of the New York Time’s aptly named mini-doc, “Brujas of the Bronx.”
The video, released on Facebook July 29, explores the ways in which the group of young women of color are staking their claim in New York City’s male-dominated skateboard scene – and beyond.
“Skateboarding, even though it has a very revolutionary energy, it’s very heteronormative and very patriarchal,” explains Brujas co-founder Arianna Gil in the video above. “That in a lot of ways makes skateboarding less cool. I was critical of them because they were exclusive, sort of, to women.”
It’s with this in mind that she co-founded Brujas.
Named for “Skate Witches,” a 1986 video which depicts female skateboarders pushing men off their boards, Brujas represents camaraderie and sisterhood among female skateboarders. “It’s a way to find people who think about the world the same way as you. That’s why we skate every day,” explains Gil.
In an accompanying interview with the New York Times, Gil said the collective also empowers women and people of color to reclaim their freedom in rapidly gentrifying communities. “Every time we skate, it’s a way to tell the city we’re not just going to take these changes in stride. We’re here to add a little chaos,” she said.
With the help of social media, the group also organizes, hosts and announces upcoming events and workshops that promote inclusivity, acceptance and cultural empowerment. In June, the Brujas collaborated with By Us for Us, a project advocating Black-Asian solidarity, to organize an “Anti-Prom” at a former factory in Brooklyn.
“Brujas was never just limited to skateboarding,” Gil told the N.Y. Times. “It’s about regaining power for our community in any way we can.”
At present, the group is focusing on putting together a free alternative summer camp for local youth who would otherwise have nothing to do during the summer months, complete with nutrition classes, alternative medicine workshops and hikes through Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. It’s just one of the many ways this group spreads it’s magic to the community and beyond.
To learn more about this badass group of women, check out New York Times mini-doc (above) and accompanying article. Follow the Brujas on Instagram for information regarding upcoming workshops and events.