While Brazil was the largest recipient of slaves during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, African slaves were sent all over Latin America. In Peru, people of African descent currently account for roughly 10% of the population and face a number of economic, health and education issues that continue to keep them on the margins of Peruvian society.
Founded in 2001, Centro de Estudios y Promocion Afro-Peruano (Center for the Study and Promotion of AfroPeruvians), also known as LUNDÚ, promotes and develops grassroots organizing among AfroPeruvian communities through artistic and cultural projects to create change. Leading these efforts is Monica Carrillo, a poet, activist and organizer who saw the need to undo racism, beginning with youth. LUNDÚ is the only feminist, youth founded and led organization in Peru, addressing issues ranging from sexual and reproductive health to education through the mediums of publications, documentary films and grassroots organizing.
LUNDÚ has a number of projects going on. Most notably, their Inclusive, Anti-Racist Education Program focuses on improving the quality of life for AfroPeruvian youth by creating equitable conditions for access to primary, secondary and higher education – especially in rural communities. They do this by providing a scholarships for participants. Their Network of AfroPeruvian Youth is composed of 20 youth leaders from the El Carmen district. They work promote human rights, sexual health, reproductive rights. They publish the blog Estética en Negro or Black Aesthetics. The blog works to strengthen the identity and self-esteem of children of color and help them develop the skills they need to combat racism, violence and exclusion. Their program Advisory Center operates as a reference for organizers to develop advocacy skills through trainings focused on community organizing, sensitization and facilitating dialogue about sexual and reproductive rights. The overall aim of LUNDÚ is to give AfroPeruvian children and girls, both from rural and urban areas, the chance to overcome obstacles through an awareness of ethnicity and gender.
LUNDÚ is an important organization because Latinos both within and outside of Latin America are generally imagined as being outside the Diaspora. Racism towards Black Latinos is commonplace alongside a denial of their African roots. From the outside, most people only imagine Latinos as people who look like Ricky Ricardo or Sofia Vergara, which constantly leave AfroLatinos out of the picture. The work that LUNDÚ does helps engage the ethnic reality thousands of people in the Diaspora experience on a daily basis.
by Folashade Kornegay