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Author Topic: Forging Links Between Blacks In the U.S. and Colom  (Read 5678 times)
Oshun_Auset
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Posts: 605


« on: December 02, 2004, 12:56:17 PM »

Forging Links Between Blacks In the U.S. and Colombia

http://www.seeingblack.com/2004/x031504/aristide_chavez.shtml


Child Dancers from Grupo Pasos por Colombia

Among them, list the Feb. 24-25 series of panels, performances, and discussions sponsored by the Afro-Latino Development Alliance (ALDA)—a new group founded in January 2003 by Luis Gilberto Murillo, the former governor of the predominately-Black state of Chocó, Colombia.

"It's one of our first efforts to generate discussion around Afro-Colombians," Murillo said about the ALDA events, which were held at Howard University, Georgetown University, the Colombian embassy and on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., "because, so far, we're not even on the radar here."

The Feb. 24 daylong symposium on Capitol Hill was meant to advance the idea of coalition building among Afro-Colombians and members of Congress— in particular, members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Testimony from invited activists, politicians, athletes, and celebrities focused on the daily challenges Blacks still face in Colombia.

Afro-Colombians still suffer the psychological terrorism of anti-Black images and sayings, Hugo Tovar, director of the Afro-Colombian Student Network noted during one panel discussion. Tovar recalled that during a conversation he had with an eight year old, the child proudly told him that when he grows up, he wants to be white.

Even at such young ages, Black Colombians know that they could live more prosperous lives if they had white skin, Rosa Carlina Garcia of the National Association of Afro-Colombian Women said. Garcia gave the known statistics: Blacks comprise 70 percent of the displaced from Colombia's on-going war; most Blacks don't have access to education; birth mortality rates are high and Afro-Colombians die from everyday diseases because they have limited access to health care.

In August 1993, "Law 70 (Law of the Blacks/Ley de Negritudes)" finally granted Afro-Colombians legal recognition as a distinct ethnicity and community title to the lands they have lived on since enslavement. But Garcia pointed out that Black title to the territory is proving of no use when there aren't any real plans to develop the lands for the benefit of the people.

In fact, government plans for Afro-Colombia's lands lean toward their development for international business purposes. Benedict College's Dr. Norma Jackson spoke of how similar this situation is to what happened to African Americans who held title to lands throughout the U.S. yet had their land stolen, as was documented in the December 2001 Associated Press series "Torn from the Land." "There's a phrase we have in English: 'Follow the money,'" Lisa Hugaard, the executive director of the Latin America Working Group remarked: "With regard to Afro-Colombians, I would say, 'Follow the land.' People are being forced off the land because somebody wants it. We should look into who's getting it, after (Blacks) have been run off."

-- By Karen Juanita Carillo
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