AfroPeruvian Youth Find Their Power

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.

slave trade

The transatlantic slave trade brought Africans to North and South America.

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.

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The Racial State of Puerto Rico

Demonstrating for statehood, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Demonstrating for statehood, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

With the structure of race, ethnicity, and culture in the United States, Afro Latinos often have a difficult time maintaining and celebrating both sides of their racial identity. From assumptions based on skin color to strict categorization in surveys and standardized testing, those of mixed heritages are often told that they need to pick a side. A study by the State University of New York at Albany found that “Hispanics who define themselves as ‘black’ have lower incomes and are more likely to reside in segregated neighborhoods than those who identify themselves as ‘white’ or ‘other.’” Even in multi-ethnic states, such as California, Afro Latinos feel pressure to choose sides or find themselves lumped into one category or another instead of being accepted as both Black and Latino.

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