Amilcar Priestley: Recognize Uniformity in Issues

In the following excerpt from AfrolatinTalks hosted by The Afrolatin@ Project (a series of scholarly, relaxed conversations held at Cubana Social during the second day of Afrolatino Festival NYC 2015), Amilcar Priestley discusses the uniformity in issues being faced by Afrodescendant communities worldwide.

Reflection: Afrolatino Festival NYC 2015

First watch the video. Then read the transcription while listening to the excerpt. Later reflect on these questions.

Transcription: Regina Bultrón Bengoa – AfrolatinTalks

This year is the launch of the International Decade for People of African Descent. It goes from 2015 to 2024. One of the reasons why we decided to grow the festival this year was to make this year as impactful as possible. This year comes from a long trajectory of work. One of those who worked intimately on a lot of these issues is here with us, Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, who we honored last night. And the genesis of that goes back decades, before me, but closest from 2000 when the Durban Declaration was signed after the International Conference against Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia. And from that, the Afrodescendant Movement really tried to come together and even within that, the term “Afrodescendant” was developed and that was a political strategy to embrace everybody. And it’s grown.

As Regina said, fast-forward to 2015 and we now have laws in various countries, in Panama, in Costa Rica, in Colombia and Brazil, where you can no longer discriminate against people in public establishments, which has happened to me on numerous occasions in various countries. You can no longer discriminate against somebody by requesting a photo identification for their employment as the basis to not give them a job.

We are in a state here in the US where there is a serious upheaval in tensions around issues of race and ethnicity. And from that I feel like there’s an opportunity to connect a lot of the dots, perhaps around this decade, perhaps around other things, to connect those dots around whether it’s Black Lives Matter here or Jovem Negro Vivo in Brazil or the issues of racial profiling in Puerto Rico or in Panama or in Colombia or in Brazil or what have you, in Argentina, in Mexico (people don’t always mention those, but yes, there are absolutely… as I mentioned, we had one panelist who I don’t think could make it).

But this is an opportunity. We’re at a time now where we can bring these things together and cross boundaries, cross language barriers, cross cultural barriers and differences and recognize that there is a uniformity in issues that are being faced right now. And I think that that’s something that we should all try to embrace and grow with and learn from.

Jovem Negro Vivo

Additional Resources

To learn more about Amilcar Priestley, Director of the AfroLatin@ Project, visit his official bio page. Come back each day throughout August to see new interviews carried out during the Afrolatino Festival NYC 2015.

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