Afro-Latin@s Now! Strategies for Visibility and Action Resolution: An Afro-Latin@ Plan for Action
As part of the global struggle for human rights and social justice and in commemoration of the United Nations Declaration of 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent, the participants at “Afro-Latin@s Now!: Strategies for Visibility and Action,” affirm our commitment to promoting real and positive change in the daily lives of afrodescendientes throughout the Americas.
Convened by the afrolatin@ forum, this first transnational conference focused on the Afro-Latin@ experience in the United States, and gathered together more than 500 people for three days of dialogue and exchange. From the conversations among educators, community activists, scholars, artists, and youth in attendance, what emerged were the following recommendations for future actions.
Anti-racist unity. We resolve to move forward, in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Americas and the greater African diaspora, in exposing and combating anti-Black racism. We must challenge racial hierarchies and white supremacy, and confront the ways we are made invisible and socialized to reject our connections to Africa.
Education is key. Let’s teach our communities about our racial and cultural identity, to see ourselves as valuable and beautiful. Let’s advocate for integrating culturally-relevant education across the curriculum and at all educational levels. Afro-Latin@ history and culture classes should be required learning in our schools and colleges. Storytelling must be a central part of the core classroom experience, so that students tell their own stories and share them with the whole community, especially in primary and secondary schools.
Building new paradigms. Let’s become the experts on Afro-Latin@ history and culture and the issues that directly affect us. A priority is research that recognizes and analyzes our distinctive social experience and affirms our historical and present-day contributions to society. Afro-Latin@ students should enjoy access to higher education and study abroad opportunities.
We count! Let us challenge the prevailing ethnic and racial group categories, as manifested in the census and other official documents, so that our presence and socioeconomic conditions can be acknowledged and addressed.
Institutional racism. Let us call attention and address the criminalization of our youth and the disproportionate presence of Afro-Latinos and Afro-Latinas in the country’s prison system and in other repressive public institutions.
Focus on media. It is crucial that we confront our invisibility and/or our negative representation in the media and other public forums. We must hold both the mainstream and the Latin American and Latino media accountable. In addition, if we want to become more visible and more accurately portrayed, we should produce our own media— from social media to independent film, website and other forms of media. Let’s advance media that’s truthful and get it into our schools and our homes.
Working toward inclusion. It is time that we embrace multiple identities, including ethnic, gender, and sexual-orientation-specific identities. And let’s seek alliances across these identities to reach our common goals: dismantling racism and building stronger communities.
We affirm the crucial role of Afro-Latin@s in the struggle against racial and ethnic discrimination. We commit ourselves to building and strengthening ties among Afro-Latin@s, and with other communities of color. In view of the current racial climate in this country, we insist on the legitimate place of Afro-Latin@s at the “Black” and “Latino” tables —we are BOTH.