Washington D.C. July 24, 2020.– The International Day for Afro-Latina, Afro-Caribbean and Diaspora Women is celebrated across the hemisphere every July 25th to commemorate the first Summit of Afro-Latina and Afro-Caribbean Women, held in the Dominican Republic in 1992. The Summit was a key moment for Afro-descendant women’s fight to claim greater visibility and proper recognition for their contributions to culture and society.
Along with our grassroots partners, including the Red de Mujeres Afrolatinoamericanas, Afrocaribeñas y de la Diaspora (RMAAD – Network of Afro-Latina, Afro-Caribbean and Diaspora Women), the International Institute on Race, Equality & Human Rights (Race and Equality) has designed graphic materials in collaboration with Afro-descendant women activists, including trans and lesbian leaders, from 11 Latin American countries.* These materials recognize the invaluable work of Afro-descendant women in the Americas and their contributions to their homes, their communities, the work of cultural preservation, and the fight to end discrimination against Afro-descendants, women, and LGBTI people.
Race & Equality fully concurs with RMAAD’s core analysis and premises, which describe how Afro-descendant women suffer a triple form of discrimination because of their gender, race, and economic status. We are committed to raising awareness of the challenges facing Afro-Latina women and to reviewing our own practices to determine how we can contribute to Afro-descendant women’s quality of life across the Americas.
Estimates of the Afro-descendant population in the Americas vary from approximately 133 million people (according to the World Bank) up to approximately 300 million people, which would represent about 30% of the region’s population. Having worked to address statistical gaps regarding Afro-descendants in several countries, Race & Equality recognizes that statistics regarding Afro-descendant women’s situation are severely lacking. We call on allies across the region to work for improved data collection, emphasizing that such data is the most basic tool for meeting the needs and demands of Afro-descendant women.
As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens the vulnerability of Afro-descendant women, we commit to lifting up their voices and magnifying their message of strength for women across the world who fight to overcome hardship. We call on states to create and strengthen policies to combat violence and discrimination against Afro-descendant women, for only by working together can civil society and states bridge the gaps facing Afro-descendant women throughout the continent.
*Marianita Minda, who passed away in May, is listed posthumously to honor her work as founder of the Coordinadora Nacional de Mujeres Negras de Ecuador (Nacional Ecuadorian Coordination Group of Black Women)