Sunday, August 7, 2011

Empowering Perú's Black Communities

Monica “Oru” Carrillo
Empowering Perú's black communities against racial discrimination and sexism.

As a Peruvian black woman, Monica Carrillo who herself faces racism and sexual discrimination, has become a role model and an advocate working to empower the Afro Peruvian community, particularly the young. She wants Peru’s rich African heritage to be included as part of the Peruvian national identity. Her work with impoverished black youth has given her international recognition.

The name, LUNDU, originates from a traditional African dance in The Kongo region of Western Africa, it means “successor.”

In addition, she is a hip-hop artist, writer, poet, singer, musician, journalist, and educator.
Monica, or Oru, as she is called, mixes poetry, Afro-beat, soul, hip-hop and Afro Peruvian music to highlight contributions made by black Peruvians to combat racism and sexism. Her
music has been featured internationally, particularly on MTV Europe, addressing how discrimination, sexism effects young black Peruvian women.

“The other day I left my house...and counted the number of insults I received in 20 minutes: 12. People say these things and they don’t run away, because they feel they’re in the right.”
--Monica “Oru” Carrillo

Oru founded LUNDU, the Center for Afro Peruvian Studies and Advancement (see Black Peruvian Rights Struggle), which strives to improve conditions for blacks who represent between seven and 10 percent of Perú's population. She and her organization LUNDU received threats because of their successful campaign to remove a racist television program from the airwaves (see Perú's Racist Propaganda).

LUNDU helps young Afro-Peruvians overcome discrimination using the arts, advocacy, education, civic engagement, and economic and educational opportunities. LUNDU
’s outreach to black youth involves life skills, sexual education, black pride workshops, and empowerment against violence, abuse, and forced sex, and unwanted pregnancies. Oru has been quoted as saying,
our girls believe their lives are worth something.
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