Dr. Marta Moreno Vega has grounded her life's work in the powerful experiences
of people of African descent, developing cultural institutions that affirm their impact
on the world stage. She has created a legacy of international advocacy and institution-building.
Dr. Vega is recognized globally for her contributions as:
MARTA MORENO VEGA
Dr. Moreno Vega has been an advocate for cultural equity, cultural studies, art as a tool for culture, social change and education. She started her career as an elementary school teacher in New York City. Since then, Dr. Moreno Vega has been invested in assuring that the contributions of African and African descendants are integral to the lives of civil society in the Americas.
Institution building has been one of Dr. Moreno Vega's life's purposes. She has established, founded, and cofounded institutions for more than 50 years.
She became the Museo del Barriosecond director in 1971, and then went on to establish the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI)in 1976, inspired by a vision to create an international organization to promote and link communities of African descent.
As CCCADI’s founder and executive director, she guided the capitol’s campaign for the renovation of the landmark firehouse at 120 East 125th Street, that later became CCCADI's new home.
Through her lifetime, she was the founding director of Association of Hispanic Arts, founder of Network of Centers of Color and first director of the Roundtable of Institutions of Color as one of the founding board members. Moreno Vega has been consistently involved in uplifting Latino Arts and Culture and for that reason, she went on to be one of the founding board members of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture and Global Afro-Latino Network Centers initiative co-founder.
Moreno Vega is also the co-founder of Global Afro-Latino and Caribbean Initiative (GALCI), a former program of Hunter College/Latin-American and Caribbean Studies.
In 2017, Dr. Moreno Vega founded Creative Justice Initiative, and two years later, became the co-founder of Corredor Afro, along with Maricruz Rivera Clemente, Ph.D., longtime cultural worker, activist, and founder of Corporación Piñones Se Integra (C.O.P.I.).
Recently seeing the need for collaboration within the Caribbean, she founded Afro-Global Network, a Caribbean based organization with a global perspective.
The Latinx Project
Moreno Vega continues her legacy of institution building, in 2017 she created the Creative Justice Initiative (CJI) with the intention of building an intergenerational, inclusive platform to confront systemic inequality. In a recent interview Marta told The Latinx Project’s Neyda Martinez & Néstor David Pastor: “Arts and culture organizations representing communities of Black/African and African Descendants, Latinx, Native, Arab, Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander, Appalachian, LGBTQIA+/Two Spirit and People with Disabilities remain chronically under served and underfunded. Rooted in community and solidarity, Dr. Moreno Vega believes that “it is in honoring our unique contributions that we establish common grounds of understanding.”
To that end, Marta lead built a coalition for CJI’s first national action, a survey under the banner “Achieving Cultural Equity;” a title that reflects the mindset which has informed her life-long approach to work.
In 2017 after devastating hurricane Irma and María hit Puerto Rico Marta Moreno Vega moved to the land of her parents and ancestors and a year later 2018, co-founded Corredor Afro. Corredor Afro is an international creative, sociocultural, educational, and artistic innovation project focused on highlighting, conserving, and making visible the cultural heritage and ancestral intelligence of Afro-descendants of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and the World. The project was created along with Dr. Maricruz Rivera Clemente, a sociologist, and a long time racial, social and environmental justice warrior from Piñones. Corredor Afro creates innovative, intersectional, and multisectoral networks that unite creative entities, communities, researchers, and academics with educational and community-based institutions to develop comprehensive projects with community, local and international impact.
Dr. Vega was a professor at El Centro de Estudios Avanzados Puertorriquenos de Puerto Rico y El Caribe in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was also 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.
Moreno Vega 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 Muñoz and A SNAP SHOT: Landmarking Community Cultural Arts Organizations Nationally with Dr. Sonia Bassheva Manjon.
Se also participated on the documentary In In Our Mothers’ Gardens which celebrates the strength and resiliency of Black women and Black families through the complex, and oftentimes humorous, relationship between mothers and daughters.
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.
With community-based organizations and in collaboration with human rights lawyers in New York City and Puerto Rico, she participated in the organization of Town Hall Meetings at which testimonies from Puerto Ricans displaced by hurricanes Irma and Maria were being collected and documented. Moreno Vega was key in 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.