5 Campaigns for Black Lives in Latin America
Black Lives Matter has become the rallying cry for the latest chapter in a long struggle for Black liberation in the United States. Whether on protest posters or Twitter hashtags, BLM has become synonymous with major issues impacting the Black community, including, though certainly not limited to, police violence, mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, affordable housing, food insecurity and more.
Beyond the U.S.-Mexico border and across the Caribbean Sea, Black Latin Americans are also coming up against similar instances of violence and discrimination, prompting campaigns and movements of their own. Ahead, a non-comprehensive list of some of the orgs and campaigns making changes for Black lives in Latin America.
1. DRECCA: This is a Colombian nonprofit organization that promotes the human rights of afrocolombianxs, negrxs, raizales and palenquerxs in the South American country. The group, established in 2008, empowers and educates the Black community of its culture, history and struggle while implementing practices and proposals to bring changes in the public sphere. Some of DREECA's previous campaigns have centered on labor, African-descended youth and Black women domestic workers.
2. “Ah. Branco! Dá Um Tempo!:” Last year, Black students at Universidade de Brasília in Brazil started a campaign called "Ah. Branco! Dá um tempo!” ("Come on, white guy, give me a break!”) to spotlight the microaggressions Brazilians of African descent experience on their campus. Inspired by a similar campaign in the U.S. titled "I, Too, Am Harvard," "Ah. Branco! Dá um tempo!” encouraged students to take photos of themselves holding a board or poster with some of the racist things they hear on campus written on them. The comments ranged from "your hair is not that bad" and "I didn't know people like you understood architecture" to "you're lucky for being black. You don’t even need to study to enter college" and "if you want to be a lawyer, first you better have cut your hair."
3. The Network of Afro-Venezuelan Organizations: In the year 2000, the Network of Afro-Venezuelan Organizations, which is made up of 23 Black Venezuelan groups, was created. Together, these organizations fight for a series of issues facing their community, including the incorporation of Afro-Venezuelan history in education, environmental justice, sustainability, health care and prevention, among others.
4. Cero Discriminación: This year, the Panamanian government launched its Cero Discriminación campaign, which aims to educate its population about racial discrimination and promote justice, diversity and equality.
5. Mexico Negro: Mexico Negro is a pro-Black Mexican activist group. Last year, the organization successfully campaigned for the inclusion of Afro-Mexicans in the Dec. 8 national census. Blacks account for 1.2 percent of the country’s population, approximately 1.38 million people. As a result of the campaign, Afro-Mexicans can accurately identity themselves in the national census report.