Cabo Verdean women have been at the forefront of building their communities as mothers, partners, professionals and community leaders. As the Cabo Verdean community in the United States and other diaspora locations continues to grow, it is important to have a formal platform where we discuss issues that are specific to the Cabo Verdean woman. Although conferences are held in the Cabo Verdean community in the U.S., the level of discourse on topics specific to women and gender issues remains limited. Therefore, this bi-annual conference addresses the need for focused discourse on issues of importance to women.
The “Poderoza” conference offers a safe space for Cabo Verdean women’s voices to be heard. Panels at this conference celebrate their accomplishments and address the unique set of challenges they face in the areas of immigration status, self-image, health (physical and mental), education, domestic violence, community building, activism and beyond. The theme for the first conference held at Providence College in the Spring of 2016 and attended by hundreds of men and women from across the United States, Canada, Cabo Verde, and Portugal, was “Nos Storias: Honoring Our Past, Reclaiming Our Present and Future, Criolas in Our Own Voices”. As the theme suggests, this meeting was an important opportunity to REBRAND the image of the Cabo Verdean woman and the ways she has been previously portrayed, beyond her physical attributes, empowering her to RECLAIM her identity and agency as an intelligent, powerful person who makes strategic choices about her life and family—not as a victim of her circumstances but as a self-determined being. The Conference’s vision is to create a network of individuals who will empower and actively support Cabo Verdean women, particularly young women and girls, in seeing themselves as capable of achieving all of their hopes and dreams.