NEW YORK (October 19, 2011) -- In an effort to promote dialogue and commemorate the United Nations Declaration of 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent, the afrolatin@ forum announced a three-day transnational conference on Black Latinos and Latinas in the United States to be held November 3-5, 2011 in New York City. A number of institutions have partnered with the afrolatin@ forum to produce the conference, including: the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The Center for the Humanities of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, El Museo del Barrio, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. The Conference will open November 3 at the Schomburg Center, will continue November 4 at the CUNY Graduate Center, and will conclude November 5 at El Museo del Barrio. The Conference is open to the public but registration is required at www.afrolatinoforum.org.
While some attention in academia and in the general public discourse has focused on Blacks in Latin America, the Black Latin@ population in the United States is largely overlooked and generally misunderstood. The conference, the first of its kind to focus on this population, seeks to promote dialogue and mutual understanding among and between Afro-Latin@s, the broader Latin@ and African American populations, and the general public of all backgrounds. The afrolatin@ forum and other participating organizations aim to expand and solidify the widening network of educators and activists working on related themes, and to begin defining the key educational and policy issues that bear on the recognition and empowerment of Black Latin@s in the U.S.
What are the Issues?
Defining and advancing an understanding of Afro-Latinidad.
Debunking commonly held misperceptions about Black Latin@s in the U.S.
Addressing misleading group categories on the U.S. Census and other official documentation.
The representation of Afro-Latin@s in the media and visual and performance arts.
The role of gender and sexuality in understanding the diversity of group realities.
Community building at the local and regional levels through inter- and intra-racial dialogue.
The development of educational materials and methods pertinent to Afro-Latin@s and other people of color.
Invited participants include educators, community activists, cultural workers, scholars and policy advocates from different parts of the country, and from African-descendant movements in Latin America and the Caribbean. The conference begins at theSchomburg Center on the evening of Thursday, November 3, with a plenary round table that includes James Counts Early of the Smithsonian Institution, urban policy analyst María Rosario Jackson, activist-scholar Evelyne Laurent-Perrault and scholars Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and Silvio Torres-Saillant.
The dialogue continues the following day at the CUNY Graduate Center where more than 45speakers representing a diverse array of expertise and perspectives will participate in thematically organized panels that range from the practice of racial dialogues at the community level to current research. A transnational perspective will guide discussion of the historical and contemporary Black Latin@ experiences in relation to inter- and intra-group relations, health, education, criminalization, sexuality and other pressing social issues. On Saturday November 5, the gathering continues at El Museo del Barrio with family and youth focused programming that culminates with an Open Mic of Afro-Latino cultural expression.
In anticipation of the Conference, the afrolatin@ forum has been offering film screenings every Friday at various locations throughout the city during the month of October. The film series, ¡Aqui Estamos! Afro-Latin@s Now!, features documentaries on Afro-descendant communities in Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States and includes works-in-progress as well as completed films. The film series schedule is available at: http://www.afrolatinoforum.org/events.html