At a recent conference, activist, professor and author Angela Davis sat down with Puerto Rico Indie‘s Ezequiel Rodríguez to discuss liberation of Puerto Rico and Palestine, solidarity, better feminism, and intersectionality.
“We are on the U.S. occupied territory of Puerto Rico attempting to develop solidarity for Palestinians who are under occupation by the state of Israel, with of course the complicity and direct participation of the U.S,” she said. “So in a sense, to stand up to the U.S. with respect to its participation and the occupation of Palestine is also to challenge the U.S. as a colonial power with respect to Puerto Rico… The struggle for a free Puerto Rico has always been at the heart of my activism…”
On “intersectionality” in feminism she stated: “The term was developed within an academic context but the ideas underlying the term came from grassroots activism. It came from women, women of color, poor women of color who were often asked ‘How do you position yourselves?’ Are you a woman or are you black? Are you a woman or are you Puerto Rican?’ And of course many of us responded, ‘We can’t separate the fact that we are women, we are black and Puerto Rican, and are standing up against capitalism and imperialism. So the very notion of intersectionality came from grassroots women of color who were responding to the white feminism, the feminism that was raised as white, although that racialization was not unacknowledged.”
She continued: “The Black Panther Party wasn’t only about black people it was about justice. And there were many people who were not black who were members of the Black Panther Party. Just as the Young Lords, Denise Oliver was an African-American but she was one of the leaders of the Young Lords and the goal of course was freedom for Puerto Rico and freedom for Puerto Ricans. One does not have to be Puerto Rican in order to stand up for freedom for the Puerto Rican people; one does have to be black in order to stand up for black liberation.”