Media Used for Justice Equity and Respect (M.U.J.E.R.) is a program launched in 2020 by Loisaida, Inc. that provides an opportunity for emergent or pre-emergent creators, artists, media enthusiasts, makers/inventors, entrepreneurs, and creatives, to learn about independent media production, how to share personal stories, develop strategic messaging and work on script writing, video editing, film and more.

Selected participants also receive a modest stipend for their commitment, consistent attendance and participation throughout the 8-12 week program. Participants are chosen through an application process, applications are reviewed by a committee of fellow artists, professionals, educators, counselors, and community leaders.

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Presenters’ Bio

Loisaida, Inc.

Our roots are Puerto Rican, and we are deeply committed to serving the Latinx, BIPOC and im/migrant community. As evidenced in our mission, Loisaida was founded on principles of equity, access, and inclusion to address systemic poverty and carries out its mission through culturally competent accessible programming. In addition to our programmatic strategy for inclusion, Loisaida also advocates for cultural equity, which we define as the right of all people to develop their traditions. Loisaida, Inc. is filling an important gap in the neighborhood as the one surviving nonprofit Puerto Rican/Latino-based cultural group in the heart of Loisaida, and one of the three remaining cultural organizations with a Puerto Rican/Latinx founding legacy in all Lower Manhattan. Loisaida Inc. has established itself as a leading community-based organization that thrives on community access, environmental justice, independent media production, education and producer of culturally sensitive public programs, activities, events representing the cross-section of art and technology. We strongly believe that education, access, arts & culture are fundamental to human development and a crucial service to uplift the underrepresented and marginalized populations of the Lower East Side.


Maria Torres is a director, choreographer, instructor, and producer that began as a critically acclaimed performer, contributing choreography while performing in the film Dance, with the six-time Tony-nominated Broadway musical Swing and Me!. Torres was nominated for a 2018 Ovation Award for Best Choreography for Luis Valdes’ Zoot Suit, is a Lucille Lortel & Carbonell nominee of Four Guys named Jose’, The Donkey Show and Celia, the musical based on the life of the late Cuban singer Celia Cruz. At Loisaida, María is the lead Program Coordinator for the Media Used for Justice, Equity & Respect (M.U.J.E.R.) program.

Catiria Ayende is a Lower East Side resident and M.U.J.E.R. 2021 program participant who is passionate about her community, heritage, and culture. Catiria has a degree in Anthropology from John Jay College, her interests include social justice research, Latinx culture and art. Through community engagements Catiria looks forward to further learning more about her community’s history. Aside from her administrative duties, Catiria leads various outreach efforts through Loisaida including the distribution of dry goods, winter clothing and essentials for the local homeless population.


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