This Thursday will kick-off a nine-day festival celebrating the Caribbean’s rich and vibrant music, dance, art, history and politics.

The San Francisco tradition is now in its 13th year and will not just honor the contemporary and folkloric cultural expression of the Afr0-Caribbean Diaspora, but pay a special tribute to women and their contributions to Latino and Caribbean cultures where gender roles remain dominant.

Entitled “Manos De Mujeres,” this year’s festival will focus around delving into the complex role of women through panel discussions, film screenings, artistic performances and more.

“Their physical, artistic and intellectual work is often not recognized and yet they often carry the weight of their communities in their hands,” said CubaCaribe Festival and Alayo Dance Company Artistic Director Ramón Ramos Alayo.  The festival was founded in 2003 to preserve and promote the vibrant cultural and artistic traditions of the Caribbean and its Diaspora.

This Year, performances and classes will be split between two venues – the Mission’s Brava Theater at 2781 24th St. and the Museum of the African Diaspora at 685 Mission St.

A panel discussion held at the Museum on March 30 will explore the diaspora and is centered around Bay Area women making a difference in the arts. On Saturday and Sunday, April 1-2, the Brava Theater will feature a mixed program that includes performances by the Mexican Folk dance company Los Lupeños and the Brazilian dance company Amor Do Samba.

Tickets range from $10 to $30 and vary with each event. They can be purchased here or at the door. Additional information about the event’s programming can be found here.