Board Members

Ermínia Apolinario


Ermínia Jorge Apolinario, originally from Vitoria, Espirito Santo, is a singer, song writer, founder of ZKA Brazilian Soul Food, activist, and a Mom of 3. Ermínia moved to Minneapolis in 198l. During her stay, she created Batuque Brasileiro, Canto y Tambor, Black Music of Brasil, and Venzuela — all different musical groups. Ermínia also sang for Peter Nelson’s band called Shangoya. While in Minneapolis, Ermínia sang at Great Hall Coffman Union, Pillsbury House, William’s Night Club, New Riverside Cafe, The Main Street Jazz Festival, Cedar Riverside People’s Center, and also Fresh Air Radio station. In the mid 1980s, Erminia moved to NY, where she joined Jelon Vieira Dance Brasil, working as a vocalist and helping with wardrobe and props. In 1988, she joined the Movimento Negro Unificado (MNU). The group’s goal was to ensure proper respect for the constitutional rights of our Brazilian brothers and sisters. She worked with her peers under the guidance of Jose Santos and Lelia Gonzalez, Afro Brazilian intellectual, politician, professor, anthropologist, and woman’s rights activist. Erminia sings traditional Afro Brazilian songs in hopes of keeping our heritage alive so that it can be passed on to future generations. In the early 1990s, Erminia sang with Retumba Con Pie Dance Company, Katende Band, and Nego Gato Ensemble. During her time at Nego Gato Ensemble, Ermínia worked closely with musical director Emilia Biancardi. She has also collaborated with dance troupe O Samba and performed at Theater for the New City in New York. Ermínia has traveled with Logunede Dance Company to perform in cities like Greece, Spain, and Los Angeles, at events like Ohio’s Jazz Festival, and in theaters like New Mexico’s Popjoy under the supervision of the World Music Institute. Erminia has collaborated with Cacau Arco Verde, an artist who has featured Ermínia’s original songs on his web radio station called Catimbau, located in Pernambuco, Brazil. The radio show is called Amazonas Sonoras and features female voices from the Amazon. Erminia has also co-written songs with Cid Travaglia, recorded music in Vitoria, Espirito Santo with Leandro Bonfim (producer from Fusion Dub), and sang with Tribo Jazz Fusion Band with Jorge Amorin in New York City. Erminia has also sat in with Eduardo Brecho and Band at Mintons in Harlem, NY. Today, Erminia sings and collaborates with groups in New York, including Movement of the People Dance Company, an Art Resistance group and sings with the all-women Afro-Brazilian percussion group called Batala New York. She alsoworks with musical director and bass player extraordinaire Chico Jede En to record original political songs and continue singing and song writing. 

Ingrid Silva

 Board Member

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Ingrid Silva began ballet studies at the age of 8 at Projeto Dancando Para Nao Dancar. Silva studied at Escola de Danca Maria Olenewa, Centro de Movimento Debora Colker on full scholarship and at age seventeen joined Grupo Corpo as an apprentice. Following high School, she attended Univercidade da Cidade. Silva attended the Dance Theatre of Harlem Summer Program on full scholarship in 2007, joined the Professional Training Program and Dancing Through Barriers Ensemble in 2008 and became a member of the professional Company in 2013. As guest artist, Silva performed with Dançando Para Não Dançar in Brasil, Armitage Gone!Dance, and The Francesca Harper Project. Silva's work with choreographers includes Arthur Mitchell, Donald Byrd, John Alleyne, Darrel Grand Moltrie, Francesca Harper, Robert Garland, David Fernandez, Carol Armitage, Deborah Colker, Rodrigo Pederneiras and many others. With Dance Theatre of Harlem Silva has danced Principal roles in George Balanchine's Glinka Pas de Trois and Agon, Robert Garland's Return, Ulysses Dove's Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven and John Alleyne's Far but Close. Soloist roles include Alvin Ailey's Lark Ascending, Donald Byrd's Contested Space, and Darrel Grand Moltrie's Vessels. As a cultural ambassador for the U.S State Department Silva has performed and provided community outreach in Jamaica, Honduras and Israel. She performed at the Brasil Foundation's Lincoln Center 2014 Gala and was featured in the Brasilian film Mare Nossa Historia de Amor. She was featured recently in Vogue and Glamor magazines in Brasil. In 2016 Silva was part of Activia campaign and was also nominated the brand's Global Ambassador embracing Women's Empowerment. In 2017 Silva was the cover of Pointe Magazine (June/July Issue), being the first African Brazilian to be a cover and also shows Silva's inspiring journey. In 2017 she also did a inspirational Campaign with Alicia Keys to promote her story

Kenia Maria

 Board Member

Kenia Maria is an actress, writer and speaker, she’s a representative of Black Women at the UN Women Brazil , working in the agenda of the joint program Moverse - UN Economic Empowerment of Refugee and Migrant Women in Brazil, in the 2030-UN agenda, global initiative, “For a 50-50 planet: a decisive step towards gender equality and in the program of activities for the Implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by the UN in the period between 2015 and 2024. Represents Volvo Car Brazil as an Ambassador, disseminating technology allied to the commitment to the climate and the future. She is one of the 100 biggest influencers according to MIPAD, a UN award that annually honors the most influential people of African descent in the world. Winner of the Golden Globe as a consultant on the Christmas special – “Together Magic Happens”. 2019 Winner of the “It makes a difference newspaper o Globo” award. The award is an initiative of GLOBO Network in partnership with Firjan; 2018 Speaker for TED TALK (Sao Paulo) – “It's good for you” Women who Inspire – 2017 Race Award Winner -2015 Social Responsibility Award at ALERJ – 2015