Sunday, February 28, 2010

Latinegr@s Project: Thank You!

Last day of Black History Month. It has been a great ride. I have taken myself to a different place with all the readings and research. However, the project will continue. While it will not be everyday on this blog, will always highlight Afro-Latinos in a positive light!

I want to thank a few people. First, I want to say that the hits on this blog has gone up which means people have been reading and I appreciate that. So thanks to all you for showing support. I think I have learned more by posting all the bios than I have from taking classes in History.

I want to also thank Bianca. I did not post as many blogs as she did. She did all her homework on this subject and truly carried me through this project. She also moderated the tumblr page. This project came to life on twitter in January when we both had a very open discussion about the lack of Latino representation in Black History Month. I had no idea about what type of involvement we would get and I am surprised by the end result.

Thanks also goes out to Professor Surro. I am always impressed by someone of such intelligence. Her passion for sharing knowledge is unmatched. Her blog is incredible. I would encourage people to frequent her site as well.

For those who participated, you are another reason we started this project. While we wanted to educate people on Latinegr@s, we also want to get back what we put in. I know that I have spoken to many people in person and via the internet about this project and the feedback has always been a good one.

There are the haters as well. I want to thank you too. Without your ignorance this project would not exist. So keep sending the hate mail. We love it. Someone of you thought this was not going to amount to much and that is ok. I thinking we all proved the naysayers wrong.

I anticipate that we will still do profiles every now and then and hit up everyone again in time for Latino Heritage Month. So, please do not think that because this month is over that you cannot submit something or that you cannot contribute. The tumblr site is always open for submissions or you can guest blog here.

Thanks again! I will be returning to my regular blogging tomorrow!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Latinegr@s Project: Did You Know?

I didn't realize that we are currently in the last week of Black History Month. It wasn't until I read Latino Sexuality (shameless plug of my, that I noticed that I only have days left to get all the things I wanted to get done with project. I have done much research and not all of the things I found were long enough to sustain a single post. However, I figured I would compile some of the things I found interesting so I can share with you all.

Afro-Latino Fraternity

I found this bit of information to be a surprise. Many people in the Greek community knew that there was a Afro-Latino Fraternity called Beta Sigma Kappa. Founded in 1998 at the the University at Buffalo, Beta Sigma Kappa Fraternity Incorporated set out to "promote African and Latino culture throughout society."

Being that Beta Sigma Kappa is almost twelve years old, there isn't much information out there for me to document any philanthropies or the number of men through out the entire organization. The only thing that I do know is that there is a chapter at the University of Buffalo. I have made attempts to contact a few brother of that organization so I will wait to see how that pans out.

Afro Latino Festival

There is a festival in Bree (Belgium) where Afro Latinos celebrate culture. This was something that I was practically drooling over. I am still doing some research, but this is something that happens every year. I posted a following video from last year's festival on There is a facebook fan page as well.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Latinegr@s Project: Nicomedes Santa Cruz

Nicomedes Santa Cruz was a Peruvian poet, journalist, and folklorist. He was born on June 4, 1925 in Lima, Peru. He was best known for raising public awareness of Afro-Peruvian culture.

As a child, his mother, Victoria Gamarra Ramirez would recite décimas to him. A décima is a style of poetry that is octosyllabic and has 10 lines. This artistic form of poetry is often found in Latin America. In 1945 he met Don Porfirio Vasquez who was a decimista and folklorist. He was one of the pioneers to regain cultural identity of Afro-Peruvians. Vasquez became a major factor in Nicomedes development as a decimero.

Nicomedes began his professional life as a blacksmith. He opened his own store called Herrira Y Cerrajeria Santa Cruz" in 1954. However, in 1956, he abandoned his shop to fulfill his destiny. Santa Cruz decided to travel throughout Peru and Latin America, composing and reciting his décimas. After his travels he became an a radio announcer and a commentator for various playhouses throughout Peru. He made his theater debut in 1957 at the Teatro Municipal de Chile, with the company Pancho Fierro, in a show called Black Rhythms of Peru. Through his radio broadcasts, and collaborations in the daily newspapers like "Expreso" and "El Comercio", him along with his sister Victoria began to revive Afro-Peruvian folklore through a theater company they formed. They wrote several playwrights together from 1959 to 1961.

He recorded 4 notable albums in his career. The first was in 1959, after his mother's death with his group Conjunto Cumanana titled Kumanana. The next two came out in 1960 titled Ingá and Décimas y poemas Afroperuanos. The final was a four-album set called Cumanana which came out in 1964. He also wrote a series of books filled with poetry. All listings of books and recordings can be found here.

In the 1970s, he continued promoting Afro-Peruvian folklore. Nicomedes presented the first Black Arts Festival, held in Cañete, in August 1971. He then went to Africa in 1974, where he participated in the symposium "Négritude et Amérique Latine" in Sengal. That same year he traveled to Cuba and México, participating in a series of television programs.

In 1980 he moved to Madrid to work as a journalist at Radio Exterior de España. During this time he does some traveling including a trip to Brasil in 1985, where he participates in the Consultation on Black Culture and Theology in Latin America, by giving a lecture entitled "Aportes del Negro al Cristianismo en America". In 1989 he taught a seminar on African culture in Santo Domingo. He did manage to travel back to Peru several times always promoting his culture through his books and teachings. Nicomedes Santa Cruz died on February 5, 1992 from lung cancer in Madrid, Spain.

While I did not highlight everything he did, I consider him to be a very prominent Afro-Latino that not many people may have heard of. I know up until this project, I have never heard of him. If you wish to learn more about him and Afro-Peruvian culture, please check out:

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Latinegr@s Project: Buena Vista Social Club

I have to admit when I first thought about highlighting this amazing group I thought it would be an easy thing. However, like most things as significant as they are, the history is very deep. My love for music is well known and when I heard these band of musicians play, I was hooked. So let's stick to the facts.

Buena Vista Social Club is the name of the album by a group titled "Buena Vista Social Club". This was a compilation of sorts led by a Cuban musician Juan de Marcos González and an American guitarist Ry Cooder. They brought together some of the finest veteran Cuban musicians such as such Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González, and Compay Segundo, whose careers were stunted by the revolution of 1959.

The album itself was inspired the actual Buena Vista Social Club. This members-only club was located in the Marianao neighborhood of Havana. The members of this club was the social elite that dates back to the Spanish colonization of Cuba. As in most clubs through the island, membership was determined by ethnicity which started during the time when Afro Cubans were discriminated against during and after slavery. However, Havana had a social black elite called Sociedades de Negros (Black Societies) made up of doctors and engineers. Buena Vista Social Club was the place they came together.

Many prominent musicians and bands performed there during the 1930's and 40's. This musical era saw the birth of mambo, the charanga, and development of traditional Afro-Cuban music. Most of that music of the time as made a strong impact on current Latin Music today.

In 1959 the Cuban Revolution gave birth to communism. Led by President Manuel Urrutia Lleó, the government closed all gambling spots, nightclubs, and any other establishments associated with Havana's luxurious lifestyle. This included any organization in which membership was exclusionary. The Cuban government made an effort to build a "classless and colorblind society", but it struggled to define policy toward cultural expression in the Afro-Cuban community. Ultimately, these measures led to the closing of the Buena Vista Social Club.

These closures put some the greatest Afro-Cuban musicians out of work for more than 40 years. This style of music was sharply in decline until the Buena Vista Social Club collaboration resurrected it.

In 1996, Ry Cooder was invited to music producer Nick Gold of World Circuit Records to record a session two musicians from Mali and a collaboration of various Cuban artists. The African musicians could not obtain their visa which made Cooder and Gold changed their plans and record an album of Cuban music with local musicians. Some of these local musicans, like Ibrahim Ferrer, were the same artists that played in the actual clubs of Havana in the 1950's. The album was recorded in just six days and contained fourteen tracks. Most of the communication was conducted via an interpreter, but anyone will say that music was the universal language spoken during that week.

Buena Vista Social Club earned a nomerous amount of praise and accolades from several music writers and publications. In 2003, the album was ranked number 260 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

I personally have this album and I feel it makes me connect to my roots. This is a must buy for any music lover.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

The Final Cut

What do you do
when the urge hits you
when all you want to do
is love someone?
Do you tell them
in hopes they wont
recoil because they
have no idea what to say
because, clearly on this day
expressing those feelings
becomes Paramount.
Almost in a cinematic
type of way, in which
we think that's what love should be
but once we hit reality
it is not even close
we are too stuck on
the idea that love happens
in a perfect way and
we never ever admit
that the love we currently have
right now, at this moment
is fucked up.
Nothing is simple
yet we hold on to
dreams of what was
only to say "I Love You Because..."
but before a word can
leave your lips
this scene is cut out
of this movie since
your love scene or
romantic interlude is
just not perfect enough
to make it... (sorry)
So we need to try again
maybe if you decide
to change your relationship status
on facebook or declare on twitter that is
because, of course we all know,
it is totally official
if facebook says it
otherwise anything "not real" will be deaded
in a second since the
love is not socially real
for the cinematic reel
then it doesn't really matter how any of us feel!
When all I want to know is
what do you do
when that urge hits you
and you know that expressing
that one thing
will only end up
on the cutting. room. floor.

Latinegr@s Project: Afro-Colombians

As this project continues I wanted to make sure that profiles and education was not just our main focus. I want us to also think about awareness of what is really happening in the world around us. Since so many of us think that racism and oppression may not be as prevalent this world, but indeed it is, particularly, for Afro Latinos in Latin America. 45% of the Latin American Population is Afro Latino.

Today I will put the spotlight on Colombia. 21% of the 44 million people live in this country are Afro-Latino. Most of them live through severe poverty despite being recognized in 1993 as citizens under law 70 (yes you read that correctly). This law was highly celebrated as a step in the right directions for Black Colombians, who are direct descendants of slaves. However, not much progress has been made since this law was passed. Afro-Colombians continue to be displaced due to economic interests

Even though slavery was abolished in 1851, Black Colombians were forced to live in the jungles as a form of protection and begin to share the territories with the ingenious population. After the abolition of slavery, the Colombian government came up with this idea of mestizaje, or miscegenation. They wanted to eliminate or at least minimize the African population by "whitening" them. This caused both minority population in further into the jungles. Afro-Colombians and indigenous people were, and continue to be, displaced them in order to take their lands for sugar cane, coffee, and banana plantations; as well as for mining and wood exploitation.

As of today, this came across the AP Wire:

BOGOTÁ(15 February 2010) – The UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Ms. Gay McDougall, called on the Colombian government to concentrate efforts in improving the situation of those communities identified as Afro-Colombian, Black, Raizal and Palenquero, especially in key issues related to displacement, dispossession, poverty and violence against individuals and communities, in both rural and urban environments.

I have come across some very interesting site on this topic. I gave brief history because there is just some much to know about the black struggle in Colombia. I wanted to mention this sight: Afrodes. This site has commentary and photos (like the one above) documenting the current situation in Colombia. I also found Afro-Colombian News to be very helpful in regards to information on Law 70.

This project has allowed me to learn about all these issues as I share them with you. I still feel very priveledged to share it.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

This was supposed to be a Love Poem

I am trying to convice my hand
to write a poem about
all the wonderful things
that remind me of the
L, the O, the V, the E
but you see
the trouble with me
is that love requires two
maybe more, but no less
and while I can love myself
there is no "self love day"
although to some this could be "self loathe day"
beacuse of all the missed
chances of all the dismissed
and those we leave on a string
twirling in the air until a knot forms
At best,
I cannot express
how I do not hate on the
L, the O, the V, the E
of another
I just want to define
what it is I see
L for the living in fear of it
O for being overwhelmed by it
V for valentines making us buy into it
E for everyone falls for it
This was supposed to be a Love Poem
but that changed
because there is
no chocolate covered dreams
no fat little angel with wings
no rose that lives forever
the only thing that is real
is the heart.
This was supposed to be a Love Poem

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Latinegr@s Project: Being Afro Latino

The various concepts of Latino can be debated as a racialized identity, a political identity, or a cultural identity. In thinking about Latinos as a body of people, there has to be a thought revolving countries of origin. Just the mention of the words Latino or Hispanic brings out a broad spectrum of cultures and lands that are with the Latin American Diaspora. . The term Hispanic is problematic for many reasons and although it is widely used throughout the Southwest, Latino is a word that can have an assigned gender like most words in the Spanish vocabulary.

Latino is also a racialized identity that presents a series of social issues that I will focus on. Many Latinos are fighting for the right to not be categorized as “non white” for fear that being considered less than that would forfeit their perceived privileged. Theses would be the groups of people that would be identified as “White Hispanics”. This is a struggle that many White Hispanics fight for to maintain their social status. These are also the Latinos that popular culture identifies with.

Latino is also a political identity that many sub origins identify with. Chicanos may be used more by those Mexican Americans who refuse to be racialized by the vast majority. They deal with many issues of assimilation and immigration. Militant Puerto Ricans choose to use their origin as a political identity when dealing with issues of colonization of Puerto Rico by the United States. Political organizations like the Young Lords popped up in New York City in the late 1960’s during same time as the Black Power movement.

Afro-Latinos can be identified as dark skinned Latinos. Often times they will be referred to as Black Latinos. In the various Latino cultures throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, they represent the bottom of the social ladder. They are normally the poor and uneducated. I call myself Latinegro because it is something I feel best represents what I am in relation to other Latinos.

The social status of Afro-Latinos really depends on the country. In the United States, they are simply seen as part of the black minority, even though their ethnicity is Hispanic. However, when focusing on countries such as Mexico and Cuba the social standings are a little different. Mexico treats their Afro-Latinos as if they do not exist. They are not considered to be citizens. Cuba, on the other hand is 90% black. When Castro took power, many of Cuba’s white elite fled to the United States.

When I was a kid, my identity was clear; I was Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian. I was raised as such by my parents. We would listen to Spanish music and eat Latino food. Everything we did revolved around something that had to do with Latino culture. Yet, the in the public realm, I was felt there was something a little different about me. My father looks like a typical light skinned Latino. He enters the Navy and a young age and is proud to be American. My mother is a Afro-Latina and I get my dark complexion from her. She, like my father, was born and raised in the Bronx. Much of what I think being Latino is revolves around my parents. I never had much of an issue when I went out in public with my mother. However, I always felt that I got looks when I was out with my father. In school functions, I felt I had to say to people that, “yes, this is indeed my father”; after all, there was no other kind in the entire school who had parents that were two different shades of color.

The idea of considering myself black never entered my mind. It was quite obvious to me that I was Latino. My mother’s side of the family, including my brother, is just as dark as I am. There are a just few cousins here and there that are light skinned. However, on my father’s side of my family, I was the darkest. Everyone is fair skinned. In most Latino families this could be a very big issue. However, I can honestly say that I was not treated differently from my family because of the color of my skin. This doesn’t mean there weren’t any prejudices. I can recall on several occasions, being told that I should not marry a black girl. It was never explained why. The unwillingness to accept African roots into Latino Culture is nothing new to Latinos. This type of false sense of “whiteness” has been indoctrinated in too many Latinos since birth.

As, I grew older my parents separated and later divorced. My father and I became very close. He would tell me many stories about how his mother (who represents the Ecuadorian side of the equation) asked him not to date my mother because she was too dark. I almost get the feeling he may have done it out of spite. There was a fear from my grandmother to not darken the family. After, lighter skinned Latinos have made their place in society. When she babysat me, she would obsessively watch Novelas (Spanish soap operas) on Univision. Since I never really knew Spanish, I would watch them with her and try counting how many Latinos looks like me. I never saw one. My father once mentioned to me that he was always welcomed in my mother’s house because my maternal grandmother was proud that her daughter took a step up in marrying him. I always found it ironic that I am just as dark as my grandmother.

I never paid attention to Latino relations in the community. When living in such a melting pot of New York City, I didn’t think about those types of relations. I was taught to be more aware of people who may not look like me, such as Italians or immigrants. It wasn’t until college that I began to really see how Latinos are indoctrinated into the white binary. Trying to complete an undergrad degree at Syracuse University is not an easy thing for a person who doesn’t fit in. Due, to my skin color I found myself not having the ability to be comfortable in any one group. White people automatically assumed I was African American. The idea of me being Latino was incomprehensible.

In certain classes I found myself speaking for the wrong ethnic group. I also realized that I could not find any comfort in being with Latinos because I was just way too dark for them. There were clicks that I did not fit into; I was always felt to be the odd ball. African Americans, was the closest group to accept me, however, I never truly fit with them either. My culture is vastly different and I could not relate too many of the black experiences I was being told about at the time. My identity felt fluid. I could fit in when I needed to. Dating seemed impossible. My father would always ask me about why I was always alone or not hanging out with more Latinos. I would try to explain it to him, but deep down I knew he didn’t understand. I was called a late bloomer.

However, I did notice a change. When I started dating a light skinned Colombian in my junior year, I felt differently in the Latino student community. It was almost as if I was welcomed into the fold because I was now truly a Latino with a good looking Latina. I remember asking her about the prejudice of dark Latinos in her family, since I didn’t see any all the times I have met them. I was told by her that she didn’t think it existed in her family or her country for that matter since there was so many blacks in Colombia. Which I think was just her opinion.

As I have grown older I have become to understand the fluid nature of my identity. In college, I never fully understood that being fluid meant being able to identify with more than one type of culture. Within my current work at Syracuse University’s Division of Student Affairs, I am able to understand and mentor both African American and Latino males while having mutual respect from both. I have also had time to think about my place in the Latino community due to my volunteer work. I have yet to find a place, in large part because I still feel that the Latino identity with the city of Syracuse is in question.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Latinegr@s Project: Zoe Saldana

The last two profiles that I submitted for this project were of people who passed and while that is ok, I would like to show some Afro Latinos that are alive and well. I mentioned previously that media plays a pivotal role on how Latinos are portrayed. So, I decided to highlight one of the few Afro Latina making some waves in Hollywood at that would be Zoe Saldana.

Zoe Saldana was originally born as Zoe Yadira Zaldaña Nazario and is Puerto Rican and Dominican. After living in Queens for 10 years, her parents to decided to move the Dominican Republic where Zoe resided for seven years. During her time there, she was enrolled in to the ECOS Espacio de Danza Dance Academy, which a very prestigious dance school. She learned various forms of dance but specialized in Ballet.

Her family moved back to New York when she was 17. Her dancing skills caught her much attention when she became apart of the Faces theater troupe. Zoe was recruited by a talent agency that helped her land her first movie role in the film Centerstage (2000), where she played a head strong dancer Eva Rodriguez.

Since then she has landed a few roles in tv shows like Law and Order and starred in movies such as: Drumline, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Terminal, and Vantage Point (to name a few). However, her popularity skyrocketed when she starred in Star Trek as Nyota Uhura. This particular role landed her in the mainstream of Hollywood. The role that she is currently famous is Neytiri in the film Avatar, which is now the largest grossing film of all time.

I am impressed with her because she has not forgotten where she comes from. Looking back at some of her roles, she does play a Latina. It will be interesting to see what turns her career will make. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and I while I am quite certain you may never see her in a Novela, I would in fact like to see if she can incorporate her Puerto Rican/Dominican heritage in any of her future films.

As of this blog post she has 3 films in post production that are set to come out in 2010 and will soon be filming a sequal to Star Trek set to come out in 2012. Currently, Zoe is spending her efforts in raising money for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Latinegr@s Project: Dr. José Celso Barbosa

Today's Project highlight was actually a suggestion from one of my followers that I have met on Twitter. She had suggested that I look up the name: Dr. José Barbosa. What made me happy about today's highlight is that this is the true nature of the project. I do invite more communal involvement because I am not sure we will get to everyone we want to this month.

Dr. José Barbosa (1857-1921) was a citizen of Bayamón, Puerto Rico who moved to the United States in search for a better education. Notably he graduated with a medical degree from the University of Michigan and was the valedictorian of the class of 1880. Taking the knowledge that he learned, he moved back to Bayamón and opened his own practice.

Dr. Barbosa was the first native born Puerto Rican to have a medical degree from the United States and that was not an easy thing to deal with. The Spanish government did not recognize his medical degree because it was not acquired through a university in Europe. It took the intervention of the American Consul for Barbosa to be recognized as a legitimate physician.

Barbosa's work in the medical field became well known across the island. He became a proponent of employee based health benefits, which at the time was not really hard of. This was a very early start to health insurance in Puerto Rico

After the Spanish American war, Dr. Barbosa formed the Puerto Rican Republican Party. This was a political party the was for idea that Puerto Rico should become the next state of America. In 1900 he was appointed to The Executive Cabinet of the United States by President William McKinley. Finally in 1907, he created the first bilingual publication on the island called El Tiempo.

Dr. José Barbosa died on September 21, 1921. Since then Puerto Rico has declared July 27 an official holiday. His residence has been converted into a Museum as well. One thing that I did notice in my research of Dr. Barbosa is the fact that many Republicans are proud to consider him a conservative, which he indeed was. Many also refer to him as the father of the Pro Statehood movement that still exists today.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Latinegr@s Project: A Fluid Identity

I am pleased with the responses that we are getting for the Latinegr@s project. I think that it is a good start to something I know I have wanted to do personally. However, I feel that we are the tip of the iceberg here. The posts that we are receiving are amazing indeed but even I begin to struggle a bit on what or whom to highlight.

It is not the lack of trying or the lack of influential people, it is the simple fact that there is so much information and it is very hard to know where to begin. I would hope that the images are long lasting that we never forget those who are considered to be invisible. Many Afro-Latinos are indeed invisible in today's world and that is part of the reason why this project has life. Our identities as Latinos are a fluid one. We can fall into many different racial and ethnic categories and yet still identify as Latino or Hispanic.

As children, in the United States, we are indoctrinated with the belief that there is a black and white binary. While we never fully understand it until we are adults, there is an underlying sense that it is better to have a lighter skin tone. American history often demonstrates the superiority of one racial group over another within the white and black context. What is not taught in school, but is often learned, is the inequality within people of color. African Americans face this issue when dealing with different shades of black and the distinction of bi-racial and multi-racial categories. Many African American scholars point to the creation of such categories as “not wanting to be white”. However, this kind of problem goes unsaid within the Latino culture.

Latinos face a very real crisis of identity in the United States of America. The Black and White Binary paradigm in this country places everyone based on skin color into those two categories. Because this paradigm is indoctrinated into all of us, we are forced to describe people of all racial groups within the terms of black and white. This widespread thinking almost puts Latinos on the outside of that binary. This unnatural marginalization of people of color outside of the paradigm forces many to choose what part of the binary they fall into. More often than not the, choice is made for them.

Latinos can be described as a “hybrid category” within the black and white binary, specifically because white and black simply do not apply. Much like my family, Latinos represent every shade of skin color possible. Having another category would assume that were a third race and thus a paradigm shift. However, a large segment of Latinos would rather consider themselves to be white and completely deny their African heritage.

The idea of Latinos thinking of themselves to be anything less than white would mean they are closer to the oppression their ancestors felt. Simply put the darker the Latino the closer to Africa they are. The question is why is the black side of the binary so hard for Latinos to deal with? The answer lies with the Spanish colonization of the Caribbean and Latin America. The hierarchy of the dominant culture was quickly established that placed white Europeans at the top with African slaves at the very bottom and in the middle was the indigenous people. The ruling class was made up of white Europeans from Spain.

The media plays a huge role in Latino identity. The Latino Identity is typically defined as a light skinned, dark haired individual that is often made to look exotic. Afro-Latinos are rarely seen in areas of television media with the exception of sports. Despite what the media may consider to be Latino, the darker skinned people still remain fairly invisible. Print media, more importantly, magazines have the same issues.

I know I just got real educational right now, but there is a reason why I do have the slave trade map at the top. More often then not we tend to forget our history or just simply avoid it all together. That is why this project is so important to me. We should never think that we are all not connected because according to history we are.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Latinegr@s Project: Roberto Clemente

Let's take everything you think you know about baseball right now and throw it out the window. When anyone of us think about the color barrier in baseball, we think about the late great Jack Robinson. The man that stepped through the door in Major League Baseball. He is honored in every stadium in America by having his number retired by all 29 teams. Of course he made it possible for a man like Roberto Clemente to step into the scene in 1955.

Roberto Clemente is well known for the great plays he has made on the field as well as the 3000 plus hits he has accrued over his hall of fame career. However, he is also know as a humanitarian. He spent most of his off season time doing charitable work across the Caribbean.

Ironically he died doing the very thing he loved to do. I am personally inspired by this man based on his work ethic and the love of his people. He used his fame and money to help the less fortunate. He played with passion and proved that he was indeed worthy of everyone's respect. He was one of the most feared hitters of this time.

To this very day, he is the one person that is not talked about very much outside of Pittsburgh or Puerto Rico. I am waiting for the day that he truly becomes recognized for his efforts on and off the baseball diamond.

Here is his story...

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I Will Not Break

I will not break
I will stand firm
on my 2 feet
I will find a way
to blow away every obstacle
the tears in my eyes
are not from defeat
are not from the loss
these tears are for
the building of my courage
my eyes gleaming with
water in anticipation
of my next move
I will not break
I will stand firm
my emotions will not rule me
I will not let this fool me
I am a man
with real tears
I cry to mourn my past fears
I am ready for the future
but is the future ready for me?
I do not agree
with your assessment you see
there is no more "we"
there is just me
so I will not break
I will stand firm
I will stand strong
prove all of you wrong
and when the tears fade
I will remain whole
beacuse I
will not

Monday, February 1, 2010

Grassroots Project: LatiNegr@s

February is upon us and most people are taking the time to celebrate Black History Month. This month is so important to explore the contributions that black people have made in this country and perhaps across the world. In taking time to really look at this month, we normally focus on African Americans as they should. However, I would like to see that we expand the realm of this exploration to encompass Afro Latinos.

I have said so many times before that most Latinos don't consider themselves black in anyway shape or form. They seem to refuse to believe the evidence that is out there that indeed a part of our history can be traced to Africa. So the connection is there. Then there is the one drop rules that has existed during the times of slavery that if anyone had one drop of black blood in there system...then they were black.

So, in the spirit of exploration, I have been working on a project with fellow bloggers, La Bianca and Prof. Susurro on something that we are passionate about. It is called LatiNegr@s. This is a collaborative effort that allows a bit of community blogging from anyone interested in adding to this effort of our exploration. We are encouraging people to submit blogs, pictures, videos, poems...really anything in this effort to really celebrate Black History Month in the way it should always be celebrated: together.

The link below is to the submission page in which all of this will be post on via Tumblr. I will post this link on the side bar and have it there for the entire month. It is my hope that you will try to contribute to the cause. The fact of the matter is that Afro Latinos are not well recognized in their place in society. I am personally working on a few surprises that I hope come together for this project.

Consider this to be a call of action that is being made not only on this blog, but on twitter and on facebook. The submission page is:


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