Sisterhood of the Skateboard | NY Times

By NOAH REMNICK

The Brujas

The Brujas are a crew of female skateboarders in New York City. Besides enjoying the sport, members use it as a tool for community outreach. From left, Yasmeen Wilkerson, 18, Sasha Alicea, 19, Arianna Gil, 22, Nesa Guzman, 21, Samantha Olivieri, 20, and Carla Cruz, 24. (Photo: Edwin J. Torres | NY Times)

Early one evening in June, River Avenue Skate Park in the Bronx was reverberating with its usual medley of screeching from the elevated No. 4 train and scattered applause from Yankee Stadium, when a young boy shouted, “Brujas coming, yo!”

And with that, in rolled some of the park’s most steadfast devotees, their ponytails waving in the breeze. The Brujas, a crew of female skateboarders, have gathered regularly there for more than two years, but they still tend to turn heads. Even as they have become fixtures in the local skateboarding community, the young women — all of them from ethnic minorities, most from Upper Manhattan or the Bronx — are frequently greeted with catcalling and rubbernecking.

“Silly boys acting like they’ve never seen a girl before,” scoffed Arianna Gil, 22, who helped found the group in 2014. “Skater bros all think they’re rebels, but who are the real outsiders here?”

Skateboarding, which long enjoyed a freewheeling, anti-establishment reputation, has gained substantial mainstream traction and corporate sponsorship over the years. And still the sport remains dominated by men, most of them white. The Brujas hope their presence on the scene will challenge skateboarding culture with what they view as a more radical agenda.

“There’s so little opportunity for young people of color in terms of jobs and education that we don’t feel like a part of this city,” Ms. Gil said. “Skating is a way to reclaim our freedom.”

Read more: Sisterhood of the Skateboard | NY Times

Related: Mira CoNYo: A Skate Scene Blossoms Uptown

BRUJAS – Latina Skate Crew from the Bronx from simona bua on Vimeo.

Related: Mira CoNYo: A Skate Scene Blossoms Uptown

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2 Responses to “Sisterhood of the Skateboard | NY Times”

  1. “I had a lot of anxiety and went through a lot of stuff when I was younger, but I always felt that at the end of the day, if I just had my skateboard, it helped me appreciate more of my time by myself” – Sam

  2. Rose, who also organizes open mics in the South Bronx, feels strongly about community organizing. “You can’t really do anything if you don’t have a good amount of people that are willing to speak out against these politicians who are totally backed by big money… All over the world, it’s a clear battle of rich versus poor. We have to unite somehow, get together and talk about how we’re going to change this shit.”  In a city laced with the underlying anxieties caused by broken windows policing and gentrification, skating allows the Brujas to push back and reclaim space for themselves and their friends, to create a culture and a city they want to exist within.

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