LISTEN: Meet Brujas, A Black and Brown NYC Skating and Organizing Collective

By Sameer Rao Jun 21, 2017

Skateboarding’s outlaw culture appeals to many American youth of all identities, but you might not know it from watching popular trick videos that feature predominantly White and male skaters. Seeking intersectional liberation and community in that world, a group of Black and Brown women and queer folks coalesced in New York City to form Brujas, a skating and activist collective profiled on yesterday’s (June 20) episode of WNYC’s "United States of Anxiety: Culture Wars" podcast. 

"Skateboarding culture is very difficult to explain to people who aren’t in it, but it’s like—you film videos with your friends, that’s part of the culture," says Brujas co-founder Arianna Gil, who founded the group (whose name means "witches" in Spanish) with friends at a Bronx skatepark in 2014. Gil specifically wanted to shoot videos, which can help skaters court an audience and endorsements, and so they decided to organize their own when male friends wouldn’t include them in their clips. "How are we going to be relevant to this culture that we care so much about?" Gil asked herself.

Brujas’ membership grew out of Gil and others organizing house and club parties, complete with hip-hop and reggaeton playing over the speakers, which complimented the skateboarding. The parties also have a political edge, with the intent of bringing women and queer people of color into skating and shared sociopolitical passions. To that end, Brujas also organizes workshops and public conversations around issues like transphobia, gentrification and racism.

Listen to the episode below and learn more at