Este libro es la culminación de tres años de investigación y trabajo de campo y no hubiera sido posible sin el ánimo y apoyo de instituciones e personas comprometidas a esta temática durante los momentos cruciales en su confección. Estoy profundamente agradecida tener la oportunidad volver a Montevideo para presentar este trabajo y devolver este registro a las personas que hicieron todo de este proceso posible. Iré ofreciendo más detalles acerca del evento.
On September 14th, a historic affirmative action bill was presented in Uruguay which would mandate that 8% of seats in Congress must be occupied by Afrouruguayans. This bill has been in the works for 10 years and it will also incorporate the instruction of Afrouruguayan history in schools (not officially part of national school curricula) and the cultural and historical contributions of Afro-descendants to Uruguayan society. Congress will vote on the bill October 12th.
Nunca habia visto una muestra de dulsori, y ademas al lado de un grupo practicando capoeria (por 18 de Julio).
Fue asi la noche pasado en frente de la Sala Zitarossa, el primer dia de la Semana de la Cultura Coreana. Tanta emocion y energia. Tantos tambores. Si perdiste la oportunidad de verlo, justo tiempo para ver lo que viene en las proximos dias. Animate de ir y aproximarse a la celebracion de la diversidad de cultura en Uruguay!
Por fin, viene la primavera a Montevideo! Que ideal, durante este ano de la conmemoración de los afrodescendientes, para dar la bienvenida a la primavera con una poema de una mujer poetista Afro-Uruguaya, Cristina Rodriguez-Cabral. Que disfruten.
Fuente: Memoria y Resistencia, Cristina Rodriguez-CabralPrimavera en Montevideo Me atropellan remolinos de hojas secas abanicadas por septiembre. Primavera montevideana, crujir de árboles sedientos que golpean la cara despeinan mi pelo libertan mis alas. Por eso, te entrego mi vuelo mi vaivén natural mis trópicos sureños y soy aroma de frutas soy sed, brisa y deseo.
Is Ruben Rada! The beloved percussionist, composer and singer is giving Uruguayans yet another reason to amp up the patriotism and chant ‘celeste’ this year as they celebrate 200 years as an independent nation. Albeit perpetuating Rada’s tokenism as one in a handful of Uruguay’s black male icons, this victory is a notable motion towards achieving national and global visibility of Uruguay’s Afro-descendent community. Historian George Reid Andrews’ latest publication, Blackness in the White Nation, highlights the ongoing efforts of the Afro-Uruguayan community to retain a foothold in dominant culture and history. Kudos to talent, success and re-writing history!
Read more (en español): http://www.180.com.uy/articulo/20471_Rada-recibira-un-Grammy-a-la-excelencia-musical
African Diaspora, Afro-Uruguayan women writers, Archivos de la Negritud, black folks, International Year of People of African Descent, Joaquin Torres Garcia, United Nations, Uruguay, Uruguay Bicentinneal
In my last post I touched on how the United Nation’s has declared 2011 as the International Year to celebrate People of African Descent and how the histories of black folks around the world are being systematically recognized so that mainstream society can get hip to the notion of the African Diaspora (if you didn’t catch Henry Louis Gates ‘Black in Latin America’ get acquainted, black folks live in Latin America, too). I’m assuming that most of you who are reading this post are basking comfortably in the sun (global north), or, if I was mistaken, you’re bundled to the button hovering over a space heater (global south). For those of you in the global north (anywhere above the equator), I’d like to encourage you do a simple yet bizarre exercise, which requires un-learning the wee-bit of geography some of you have managed to retain (some stereotypes about American’s are sadly true). I’m asking you to flip your map upside down (a la Joaquin Torres Garcia style-see above) and discover the array of rich cultures and histories that exist below the equator. Shift your gaze to South America, trace your finger along the Tropic of Cancer and stop at Uruguay (if Homer Simpson could find it, so can you)!
Now that you’re here–it’s time to celebrate! Don’t flatter yourself though, the marching bands and national guard aren’t lining the streets to salute you–this is one of several planned demonstrations throughout the year commemorating Uruguay’s Bicentennial. This year, as Uruguay celebrates 200 years as an independent nation, an array of government and non-profit organizations representing different public sectors have organized panels, conferences and publications in an effort to present Uruguay’s history in all of its entirety. This vision of accomplishing an all-inclusive presentation of the nation’s history couldn’t be anymore pertinent to the Afro-Uruguayan woman, who, although maintaining a strong voice in the public and private sector, historically, remains isolated at the crossroads of gender and racial sectors. As an advocate for Afro-Diasporic communities, a stickler for challenging marginality, systematically induced silence and the construction of official stories (and, as someone always looking for a reason to celebrate) I’ve inserted my own biased logic–combine the two declarations (International Year of People of African Descent, and Uruguay’s Bicentennial) and you get the’ year to celebrate Afro-Uruguayan women.’ Other than my own political reasons, my bias is informed by a project I am conducting this year as a Fulbright research grantee.
As a ‘Fulbrighter’, I am sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the International Institute of Education to spend 9-months in Uruguay carrying out an independent research project related to my field of study, comparative literature. Since my arrival at the end of March, I have had several invaluably enriching experiences that range from engaging with middle and high school students in rural Uruguayan towns and giving presentations about Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Afro-Uruguayan women writers (the former, not officially included in Uruguayan classroom curricula), maneuvering archival materials, mapping out my investigation with my project advisor, and enriching individual perceptions of Uruguay’s literary canon and history in day-to-day conversations about my work here. As my focus is on 20th century Afro-Uruguayan women writers, the work is challenging in the sense that it relatively segregated and sparse in record (but not in quantity!). My frustration at the marginality and exclusion of black women’s literature from the Uruguayan literary canon has fueled my desire to produce a valuable and informative report on the subject.
In the spirit of the UN’s declaration of 2011 as Year of People of African Descent, Uruguay’s celebration of 200 years as an independent nation, and the sheer necessity of highlighting the rich history and literary works of Afro-diasporic women, let’s take the time to commemorate the literary and cultural contributions of black women in Uruguay.
you can start here: Archivos de la Negritud (click ‘Archivos’)
Did you know that the United Nations has declared 2011 as the year to celebrate people of African descent? Throughout the world, the UN has partnered with local government and non-profit organizations to organized conferences and cultural events that foster an awareness and appreciation of the history and human rights of people of African-descent. This is an ambitious campaign, undoubtedly, headed in the right direction, however the following statement has caused me to hold my applause:
(excerpt taken from the United Nation’s website)
Righting Past Wrongs
“This is the year to recognise the role of people of African descent in global development and to discuss justice for current and past acts of discrimination that have led to the situation today. “
Mirjana Najcevska, Chairperson,
UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent
Don’t get me wrong-I am not bashing the UN, nor am I opposing this declaration. On the contrary, I’d say (save the pom-poms and frilly skirt), I am one of their biggest cheerleaders, primarily because of the projects they have rolled out this year related to Afro-Hispanic communities. So, what is the issue? Despite the benevolent intentions behind this worthy cause, I find the emphasis on “righting past wrongs,” not only misleading, but undermining the original purpose of the campaign. Perhaps this statement was a mere freudian slip stemming from a mild case of first world guilt. Perhaps I am being sensitive, brash, overreactive? Regardless, the focus is shifted elsewhere, and aside from the over-ambitiousness of remedying ‘past wrongs’–the paradox of seeking reparations from the American government for their upholding of slavery reflects a perpetuation of systemic enslavement–this statement devalues a worthy campaign, as the focus is now centered on an institutional guilt complex.
What does “righting past wrongs” entail? This has been a heated debate in the African-American community for decades, leading many to petition the government for reparationsand official apologies. How do you remedy blatant systemic oppression–is not the petitioning for financial reimbursement for the effects of slavery on one’s ancestors a subtle manifestation of this evolved systemic oppression? Could a check suffice? Would handwritten letters from Barack Obama himself leave us half satisfied?
Rather than devaluing a respected global campaign that is transforming the ways in which the world views the African Diaspora, I seek to make an example out a statement that represents the complicated pathway to celebrating African Diasporic communities. The need to acknowledge the systemic and individual destruction caused by the transatlantic slave trade is evident; the need to remedy this historic tragedy, that is, to seek justice for an atrocity that cannot be undone, is up for debate.
(To be continued…)