When the Spirits Dance Mambo
Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega established the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) (http://cccadi.org/) in 1976, inspired by a vision to create an international organization to promote and link communities of African descent. She guided the capital campaign for the renovation of the landmark firehouse at 120 East 125th Street, the Center’s new home. Dr. Moreno Vega has been an advocate for cultural equity cultural studies and education. As the second director of El Museo del Barrio, one of the founders of the Association of Hispanic Arts, Network of Centers of Color and the Roundtable of Institutions of Color. Dr. Moreno Vega has contributed to assuring that the contributions of African and African descendants are integral to the lives of civil society in the Americas. She has conducted research in Yoruba belief systems in the African Diaspora and has organized international conferences uniting scholars and leading traditional experts focused on expanding the knowledge and importance of sacred African Diaspora traditions.
Moreno Vega is co-founder of the Global Afro Latino and Caribbean Initiative (GALCI), a former program of Hunter College/Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program. She is chief editor of Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora (Arte Publico Press) and author of The Altar of My Soul (One World/Ballantine, 2001). She is director and co-producer of the documentary When the Spirits Dance Mambo: Growing Up Nuyorican in El Barrio and has written a personal memoir by the same name (Three Rivers Press, 2003, Black Classic Press, 2018). Dr. Vega is also co-editor of Voices from the Battlefront Achieving Cultural Equity.
Dr. Moreno Vega also co-edited Actualidad de las Tradiciones Espirituales y Culturales Africanas en el Caribe y Latinoamerica with Maria Elba Torres Munoz and A SNAP SHOT: Landmarking Community Cultural Arts Organizations Nationally with Dr. Sonia Bassheva Manjon. Dr. Vega was a professor at El Centro de Estudios Avanzados Puertorriquenos de Puerto Rico y El Caribe in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is an adjunct professor at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico and an adjunct professor in New York University’s Department of Arts and Public Policy. Previously, she was an adjunct professor of Afro-Caribbean Religions and Afro Latinos in New York City at Hunter College, City University of New York where she was acting director of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program.
Dr, Moreno Vega has created cultural and social equity courses for the Arts and Public Policy Department of NYU, based on the work of the network of community based art organizations, known as the Cultural Equity Group. The lecture/seminar series, Art of Justice and Futurology a collaboration between NYU and CCCADI focused on an African Diaspora agenda for CCCADI. Her book, When the Spirits Dance Mambo is being reprinted and will be released in April 2018. Dr. Moreno Vega is presently working for sustainable environmental recovery with community based organizations in Loiza, Puerto Rico.
With community based organizations and in collaboration with human rights lawyers in New York City and Puerto Rico, she is organizing Town Hall Meetings at which testimonies from Puerto Ricans displaced by hurricanes Irma and Maria are being collected and documented. Moreno Vega is currently assisting community based organizations and representatives to organize a community tribunal to present documented evidence to the United Nations on International Human Rights Day in December 2018 of the genocidal conditions existing in Puerto Rico.