2020-2021 BFI Fellowship Recipients

The CSW Black Feminism Initiative (BFI) offers two fellowships to support intellectual work that centers Black feminist frameworks of analysis: The Alisa Bierria Graduate Fellowship in Black Feminist Research and the Mariame Kaba Graduate Fellowship in Black Feminist Research. In the tradition of abolitionist feminist activism and labor, the BFI Graduate Fellowships seek to advance Black feminist work on any topic with a focus on scholarship that interrogates historical and ongoing regimes of violence, enclosure, and captivity and offers original insights for conceiving of freedom, redress, abolition, and refusal.

We are very proud to announce the 2020-2021 BFI Fellowship recipients! Congratulations!

Alisa Bierria Graduate Fellowship in Black Feminist Research

This award honors and continues the work of Alisa Bierria, whose writing explores race, intentionality, intimate organizing, antiblack racism, carceral culture, gendered violence, and anticarceral approaches to justice.

Victoria Copeland is a third-year doctoral student in Social Welfare. Her research currently explores the use of data and surveillance within the “child welfare” system. More specifically, she is interested in how multi-system data infrastructures, predictive analytics, and surveillance in decision-making processes impact Black families and communities. She uses the intersection between Black Feminist thought, abolitionist praxis, and critical technology studies as a point of entry.


Mariame Kaba Graduate Fellowship in Black Feminist Research

This award honors and continues the work of Mariame Kaba, whose writing examines policing, abolition, gendered state violence, youth activism, organizing and leadership, interpersonal violence, and anticarceral approaches to justice.

Akua AgyenAkua Agyen is a joint PhD/MSW student in the Department of Anthropology and the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. Akua earned a Master of International Relations from Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a Bachelor of Arts degree at Yale University. Her current research examines how institutions tasked with care enact violence in the lives of Black womxn and girls. Through ethnography, feminist science and technology studies, and Black feminist theory, their research connects historical legacies of medico-legal racism in the US to enduring institutional racism in contemporary hospital-based sexual assault care. With lessons learned from their experiences as a birth doula and sexual assault crisis counselor, Agyen conducts research with the aim of reimagining models of care that are Black feminist, queer, and abolitionist.

Kimberly FuentesKimberly Fuentes is a second-year Master of Social Welfare Student with a focus on Global Health and Social Services at the Luskin School of Public Affairs. Prior to starting her MSW program, Kimberly received her Bachelor’s degree with honors from UC Santa Barbara. Her thesis explores the compounded criminalization that Black sex workers face, and identifies individual and community resilience factors used to transcend the violence of the carceral state. Through art-based photo-elicitation, her project seeks to explore the impact of criminalizing a means of survival, anti-Black racism within the informal economy, and collective care as a means of resistance within a Black feminist framework.