Michaela Machicote

Photography by    Diana Ascarrunz

Photography by Diana Ascarrunz

Tell us about yourself. Include where you’re from, what you do, how you’re thriving, and anything else everyone should know about you.

I am PhD student focusing on African and African Diaspora Studies at UT. I am originally from Chicago, raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am thriving by involving myself in the Austin community working with marginalized populations toward equality and, hopefully, liberation. I especially connect with Black women across ethnic groups to form a necessary community in such a white city as Austin.

How do you identify culturally?

I identify as Afro-Puerto Rican and/or African American.

How does your cultural background inform your thinking and sense of being in the world? How has it informed past decisions, successes, failures?

As a Black woman I cannot escape the matrix of oppression that determines how I navigate the world. My identity informs my studies, where I seek allies, who I feel comfortable around, how I relate to others and my environment, etc. Basically, life as an Afro-Latina has pushed me to analyze anti-blackness within the Latinx community as well as outside; it has pushed me to identify as a Black feminist/womanist; it has pushed me to seek answers to my history as a black woman in the diaspora; and it has given me no other choice but to constantly fight for Black liberation.

What inspires you and who do you look up to?

Michaela Machicote

I am inspired by the Black women I see daily—those that struggle to survive and yet still manage to find joy in the midst of chaos.

What is your best piece of advice to anyone who may be struggling?

My advice is that only you know your struggle, but never doubt your abilities to overcome that struggle. You are capable and worthy.

What are your future goals and aspirations?

I’m still trying to decide if I want to be a professor or just work directly with the black community and engage the diaspora outside of academia.

Michaela Machicote

Share one thing people should know about the Latinx community.

WE ARE NOT HOMOGENEOUS. Latinxs are a complex community and because of various histories of colonialism and white supremacy, we are not a hive mind. We are not all “olive-skinned, wavy haired” mestizos. Many of us are Black, some of us are Indigenous, some are Asian, some are white and some a varying mixture of three or four races. Because of this, we do not operate with the same thought-process socially, politically, or economically.

What is your favorite Latinx driven project and why is it your favorite?

I am always drawn to projects that focus on community building and liberation, whether that be grass-roots or otherwise. I also love cultural productions by Black and Brown people (art of various forms).

Where can people find you on the internet?

Instagram: @moreniqua