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Rosa  Clemente

Rosa Clemente

2008 United States Vice-Presidential Candidate, Journalist, Political Commentator & Scholar-Activist


Rosa Alicia Clemente is a Black-Puerto Rican woman born and raised in the Bronx, NY. She is an organizer, producer, independent journalist and scholar-activist. In 2008, Clemente made herstory when she became the first Afro/Black-Latina to run for Vice-President of the United States on the Green Party ticket. She and her running mate, Cynthia McKinney are, to this date, the only women of color ticket in U.S. Presidential history. Read More >

However, her influential work neither started nor ended there. A media-maker, Clemente was recently an associate producer on Judas and the Black Messiah, a two-time Oscar-winning film by Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler about the betrayal of Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton at the hands of FBI informant William O’Neal.

As an independent journalist, Clemente has provided on-the-ground coverage of the U.S. Navy’s withdrawal from Vieques, Puerto Rico, after 67 years of military control; the devastation and government failures in New Orleans and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina; Black Lives Matters protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown and more. In 2017, days after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, Clemente organized a group of young Latinx media-makers to cover the destruction and its political implications through PR on the Map. Under the project, she produced multiple documentaries, photo series and articles. As a writer, Clemente isn’t scared to get personal, either. Her powerful first-person essays on Afro-Latinx identity, particularly her article Who is Black?, is read in classrooms across the country and has been translated into four different languages.

As president of Know Thy Self Productions, a full-service speakers bureau, production company and media consulting service, she has produced eight community activism tours. Through the production house, she also co-founded and was the national coordinator for the first-ever National Hip-Hop Political Convention in 2003, which helped bring together more than 3,000 activists to create and implement a political agenda for the hip-hop generation.

A fearless voice against injustice and violence, including high-profile perpetrators, Clemente has famously called out Russell Simmons on accusations of sexual violence as well as confronted rapper Rick Ross on his lyrics normalizing rape culture. A longtime champion for survivors in the hip-hop industry, it’s no surprise Clemente caught the attention of celebrities in the #MeToo movement. On January 8, 2018, she and six other women of color organizers joined Hollywood actresses at the Golden Globes Red Carpet as part of an initiative by Time’s Up and #MeToo. There, she spotlighted sexual harassment and violence against women from Beverly Hills to the South Bronx.

Currently completing her PhD at the W.E.B. DuBois Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Clemente’s academic work centers national liberation struggles inside the U.S. with a specific focus on the Young Lords Party, the Black Panther Party, Black and brown liberation movements of the ‘60s and ‘70s as well as the effects of COINTELPRO (Counterintelligence Program) on such movements. Clemente is also one of her generation’s leading scholars on the issues of Afro/Black-Latina/Latino/Latinx identity. In 2020, she created the Black Diasporic Organizing Project, a nonprofit dedicated to combating anti-Blackness within the wider Latina, Latino and Latinx community. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Sizzle Reel

The 2016 Presidential Election

Institutionalized Racism

People Don't Want to Center Racial Justice

Promo Video

Speech Topics

Can’t Stop Our Blackness: Black Latinx Narratives & Resisting Erasure

More than 90% of enslaved Africans landed in what is today known as Latin America and the Caribbean via the Trans Atlantic Slave trade. The presence of our ancestors is still felt and maintained throughout these regions, including in the United States. Black Latinx/African descendants and people(s) are part of the broader Black community’s cultural and historical landscape in the United States. Contemporary migration patterns of Afro-descended people throughout the Americas have created complex and diverse definitions of Blackness. Through the lens of Hip-hop, social justice and Black and Brown freedom struggles, this lecture or workshop discusses these diverse and complex experiences in an effort to illuminate intersections and findings about the experiences of people throughout the African Diaspora. In this keynote or workshop, Rosa engages with various topics and geographic locations to center Black Latinx and African descendant voices in service of providing historical context and contemporary realities about race, representation, and power within the U.S. Rosa, a voice of the Hip-Hop generation, draws from 30 years of movement building, third-party electoral politics, and independent journalism, weaving in her personal narrative with the histories and experiences of ancestors, elders, contemporaries, peers, and future generations.

Advancing Equity and Anti-Racism Strategies on Campus

What is equity in higher education? What does it mean and what does it look like? In this talk, Rosa Clemente lays bare the inequities that exist on college campuses across race, ethnicity, and gender. She discusses the varied ways inequality shows up, including in institutional structures, policies and procedures, resource allocation, academic equity and access, curriculum and pedagogy, hiring and promotion, and campus climate and culture. She shares a framework to advance anti-racism strategies across college campuses and offers tools to help create more diverse and inclusive educational spaces.

Puerto Rico on the Map: Hurricane Maria, the Legacy of Colonialism & How to Make a Nation

When the category 4 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, it devastated the archipelago. The storm claimed the lives of more than 2,975 people, destroyed more than 70,000 homes, caused more than $94.4 billion in damages, and led to the biggest migration of Puerto Ricans from the archipelago to the contiguous U.S. in history. Just days after the natural disaster, Rosa Clemente put together a team of young Latinx journalists, filmmakers, and media producers who went to the archipelago to report on the catastrophe. There, the team uncovered all the unnatural storms that contributed to the devastation, like colonialism, disaster capitalism, and political corruption, among more. In this talk, Rosa discusses the legacy of U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico, how this colonial relationship led to the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and how to make a nation.

When a Black Puerto Rican Ran for Vice President & Nobody Knew Her Name

In 2008, the United States made political history — and not just because it was the year the country elected its first Black president. The year also marks another first: In 2008, two Black women ran for the highest offices in the country, Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney and her vice presidential running mate Rosa Clemente. In this talk, Rosa Clemente discusses her historic run for Vice President of the United States as an Afro-Puerto Rican woman and the need to move beyond two-party politics in order to fix democracy in America.

From Moments to Movements: The Power of Community Activism & Organizing

We the people build power through community organizing, and in this workshop, Rosa Clemente shows us how. By examining the history of select social justice movements of the last 50 years and sharing the speaker’s personal narratives as an organizer, scholar-activist, and independent journalist, Rosa shows audiences how building movements provides space for people to work together for a common social, political, and cultural goal. She also outlines how to move from social media moments and viral hashtags to decentralized movements. What is needed for an idea of the few to be transformed to an idea of many? How do we build movements that are non-hierarchical? How do we make sure these organizing efforts are inclusive of the multiple identities that we all carry? The workshop will provide tools that we use to inspire and engage young people to become community activists and organizers.

Books & Media


Rose Clemente Website