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Friday, February 26, 2016

The Black Mexican Agenda


Afro-Mexican musicians in Cuajinicuilapa, Guerrero. Cuajinicuilapa has one of the biggest black population in Mexico.
Afro-Mexicans have been “erased from history,” says the activist Abel Barrera Hernandez.

Abel Barrera Hernandez will be given a national award recognizing his human rights work with the organization Mexico Negro (Black Mexico), the first organization in Mexico dedicated to fighting for equal rights and recognition of the country's African descendants. The award was announced by Mexico's La Jornada Monday.

Barrera Hernandez's human rights work started in 1993 when he helped found the Center for Human Rights in Tlachinollan in the southern state of Guerrero — a state that has seen a spike in violence in the recent years, including the disappearances of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college.

Three years after founding the human rights center, the organization turned its fight to promoting equality and the recognition of people of African descent, changing its name to Mexico Negro (Black Mexico). 

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: 
 "http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Black-Rights-Activist-in-Mexico-Wins-Award-20160222-0029.html". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english
Afro-Mexicans have been “erased from history,” says the activist Abel Barrera Hernandez.

Abel Barrera Hernandez will be given a national award recognizing his human rights work with the organization Mexico Negro (Black Mexico), the first organization in Mexico dedicated to fighting for equal rights and recognition of the country's African descendants. The award was announced by Mexico's La Jornada Monday.

Barrera Hernandez's human rights work started in 1993 when he helped found the Center for Human Rights in Tlachinollan in the southern state of Guerrero — a state that has seen a spike in violence in the recent years, including the disappearances of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college.

Three years after founding the human rights center, the organization turned its fight to promoting equality and the recognition of people of African descent, changing its name to Mexico Negro (Black Mexico). 

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: 
 "http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Black-Rights-Activist-in-Mexico-Wins-Award-20160222-0029.html". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english


Afro-Mexicans have been “erased from history,” says the activist Abel Barrera Hernandez.

Abel Barrera Hernandez will be given a national award recognizing his human rights work with the organization Mexico Negro (Black Mexico), the first organization in Mexico dedicated to fighting for equal rights and recognition of the country's African descendants. The award was announced by Mexico's La Jornada Monday.

Barrera Hernandez's human rights work started in 1993 when he helped found the Center for Human Rights in Tlachinollan in the southern state of Guerrero — a state that has seen a spike in violence in the recent years, including the disappearances of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college.

Three years after founding the human rights center, the organization turned its fight to promoting equality and the recognition of people of African descent, changing its name to Mexico Negro (Black Mexico). 

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: 
 "http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Black-Rights-Activist-in-Mexico-Wins-Award-20160222-0029.html". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english
I lived and worked around Mexican Americans for many years, and only met a few who knew anything about the racial diversity of their own heritage. To so many of them, a black person speaking Spanish is considered humorous and freaky. They know nothing of the black folks who are more “Mexican” than they are; meaning they were born and raised in Mexico, and know only the Spanish language and Mexican culture versus living in the U.S. as bi-cultural.

Recently, as a preliminary count before the 2020 national census, the Mexican government, for the first time ever, recognized its 1.38 million citizens of African descent in a national survey. In 2020, “Black" will debut as an official racial category.

A major force behind the government's recognition was a black activist group known as México Negro, founded in 1997 by Sergio Peñaloza Pérez, a school teacher of African descent working unceasingly to increase the visibility of Afro-Mexican culture.

Cuajinicuilapa, on Mexico's west coast, is one of the major black communities of Mexico located in the La Costa Chica region in the southwestern states of Guerrero and Oaxaca where the Afro-Mexican population is concentrated.

Mexico's post-revolutionary government made a conscious effort to create a national mixed-race identity that melded Hispanic, indigenous, and African ethnicities. Article 2 of Mexico's 1917 Constitution recognized its "multicultural composition," and today, over 60% of Mexicans identify as mestizos. 

One of México Negro's strategies going forward is to ally the black rights movement with indigenous rights, which are generally more widely recognized. In 2013, leaders from 26 indigenous communities released a statement pushing for constitutional reform that addressed the rights of both indigenous people and Afro-Mexicans.

In 2016, México Negro's most important outreach effort will work on having elementary and high schools include material on Africans and people of African descent in school curriculum. On the university level, there will be a professorship launched at the Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca to study Afro-Mexican women.

In addition to increased visibility in textbooks, a documentary filmmaker in Mexico City plans on increasing black representation in film and media. Citing the handful of famous black Mexicans who are few and far between on the national stage. Darkness has a negative connotation, and Afro-Mexican youth have no icons. It seems like their only options are to immigrate or be delinquents.