Green Festival Speakers
Bianca I. Laureano is a first generation Puerto Rican who was born and raised in the Washington, DC metro area. The oldest daughter of an artist and educator, Bianca was raised in an activist environment that valued art in all its various and dynamic forms. At the beginning of high school Bianca's parents encouraged her to become active in a youth led program called Raising Hispanic Academic Achievement, Inc. (RHAA), where she tutored and mentored Latino youth in the Washington, DC metro area. Bianca has been mentoring a young woman, Candy, for 13 years. Through RHAA Bianca developed critical skills and training as positive youth development was central to the program. Beginning as a tutor with RHAA, Bianca quickly became a part of the youth leadership and began assisting with program planning. She not only tutored and mentored on Saturday mornings, she arranged guest speakers, field trips and eventually co-led the all-female Saturday School in Silver Spring, MD, where the focus was on providing Latinas a space of their own to excel and find affirmation. Bianca attended the University of Maryland, College Park (UM) and graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Individual Studies: Women's Health and Latino Communities. While at UM Bianca was active in peer education and mentoring programs through the University Health Center and became the Assistant Coordinator for Sexual Health Programs. The summer of 2000 she spent in Xhualtez, Espita in the Yucatan working with one of the first government funded health centers that provides western trained physicians and indigenous Mayan healers as a part of holistic health care. Upon her return she attended New York University and received her Master of Arts degree in Human Sexuality Education in 2002. After spending one year with the Child Welfare League of America as the Program Manager of Adolescent Sexuality, Pregnancy Prevention and Parenting, Bianca began working on her second Master of Arts degree at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Department of Women's Studies. Bianca's research areas include Latina feminisms, Puerto Rican studies, sexuality, youth and media culture. Her training in feminist theory and intersectionality were developed at the Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity where she was a CrISP Fellow. In 2006 Bianca received her second Master of Arts degree in Women's Studies where her focus included race and racialization, bodies, gender and sexualities. While at the UM, Bianca continued to be involved in direct action and activism with a grassroots not-for-profit organization called Visions in Feminism (ViF). ViF is a collective of activists who work to create a low-cost, accessible national conference devoted to creating a space to discuss complex topics facing modern feminism. During her last year in the Washington, DC metro area, Bianca became involved with a group of young professional women who were all devoted to eliminating cervical cancer through HPV education. Bianca became the Director of Sexual Health for Tamika and Friends, Inc., (T&F) in 2005 and worked to create peer education handbooks and training's for people interested in having HPV (House Parties of fiVe) parties. T&F is one of the first organizations to focus on educating men and youth regarding HPV and cervical cancer and that provides technical assistance and survivor support. Currently residing in New York City, Bianca lives in the Bronx and provides consultation, capacity building and training, and facilitation to organizations dedicated to helping youth reach their full potential. She enjoys live music and concerts, the independent movie scene, museums, a good flea market, traveling, reading, dancing to dope beats, the beach, and is a fierce karaoke performer. Bianca has published one book and several articles. She has presented both locally and internationally on various topics concerning activism, Latino sexual health, feminisms, youth and hip-hop culture, Latinos and race, curriculum development, and teaching. Bianca is an instructor at a private college and a freelance writer.