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Afro-Mexicanos: Mexico Finally Recognizes Its Black Citizens

February 26, 2024
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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San Diego Central Library
330 Park Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92101 United States
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Join Worldbeat Cultural Center’s Afro-Mexican program ambassador Jorge Gonzalez for a stimulating discussion on the presence and history of people of African descent in Mexico. For the past 500 years, Afro-Mexicans have been omitted from Mexican history, governmental rights, and society.  According to the 2020 census which was the first time the country’s Black population was officially recognized, there are 2,576,213 self-identified Afro-descendants. Mexico was previously one of only two Latin American countries (with Chile) to not officially count their Black citizens.

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Mexico has a deep and long African history. Between the 1500s and 1600s, one of every two enslaved persons bound for the Caribbean was dropped off in Mexico, mostly through the port of Veracruz. Upon landing, many escaped to the mountains where they founded a maroon colony and fought against the Spanish for over 30 years led by rebel leader Gaspar Yanga. In 1618, the Spanish sued for peace. The maroon settlement achieved self-rule as the town of San Lorenzo de los Negros, now known as Yanga, considered to be the first liberated and independent non-Native locale in the Americas. Mexico’s iconic son jarocho song, La Bamba, is an Afro-diasporic anthem rooted in anti-slavery resistance.

About the speaker:

Gonzalez is a first generation Mexican-American/Chicano fronterizo from from San Diego and Tijuana. He lectures widely to raise awareness of the Afro-Mexican presence in Mexico. He is an expert on the Afro-Mexican movement for social justice and recognition in Costa Chica, Oaxaca.  He’s the author of The (Re)construction of Blackness in Costa Chica, Oaxaca: NGOs and the Making of an Afro-Mexican Ethnic Group, and his work is published in the book Converging Identities: Blackness in the Modern African Diaspora.He works full-time as the director of civic engagement for a climate and democracy national organization, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Gonzalez is also a curator of Afro-diasporic global rhythms as DJ Mafondo.

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