Amplifying Our Afro-Latino Heritage

Afro-Latino 365 Blog Series

Afro-Latino 365 Blog Series Introduction

by Yvette Lepolata Aduke Modestin

“This is a teachable moment.” That was the first thought Profe. Jennings shared with all when the process began. Yes it is! Not just for those who turn the other cheek to this truth or those that deny this identity and exclude those of us who walk in this truth 365 days. It is also a teaching moment for each of us who found comfort in each story and similarity in our journey. It is a teachable moment for that young Latinx who is not being handed that book that allows him or her to see themselves in a bright and loving light.

Love of self and what you come from and who you are is what you will find in each interview. They put it all on the table. The rejection and exclusion has been so intense that there is nothing to lose when you speak your truth. We are not confused about our Blackness. There is no fear here because we are backed up by a history of resiliency and unbreakable pride of what we come from and how that history has shaped the world.

We honor those whose shoulders we stand on and celebrate our history, our Black History here in the US and I our home countries. We are a testament that we were dropped off everywhere. We are a bridge to understanding a global perspective of Blackness. Some grew up with that awareness and it has helped them navigate an anti-black narrative. Others have faced it later and are moving through it and past it.

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I have been blessed to have Profe. As a guiding voice in my journey. Interviewing him allowed me to hear out loud how much he has shaped my thinking. For that, I say, Gracias Profe.

I am deeply proud of each person for bringing their full self to this process. I have deep love and admiration for each person on another level after siting with them for this series.

Profe, shared this as we closed out the interview, “this idea of embracing self was deeply rooted in each of us and shining bright in our Blackness was a must. This is a message for the Latino community and for the African American community. We are not outsiders.”

Afro-Latino 365 is our truth, our love of who we are and how we Amplify and show up in a world that does not see us but we see ourselves and that gives us the fire to keep rising.

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Yvette Modestin, a writer, poet and activist was born and raised in Colon, Panama. Ms. Modestin was named one of “30 Afro Latinas you should know.” Ms. Modestin has been profiled by the Boston Globe as “The Uniter” for her work in bringing the Latin American and African American community together and for her activism in building a voice for the Afro Latino/Afro descendant Community of Latin America and the Caribbean. She is Founder/Executive Director of Encuentro Diaspora Afro in Boston, MA. Ms. Modestin is the Diaspora Coordinator of the Red de Mujeres Afrolatinoamericanas, Afrocaribeñas y de la Diaspora an international network of Afro descendent women. Ms. Modestin writes a blog about the events and experiences in the community called ‘Reflections from the African Diaspora.’ Ms. Modestin was recently recognized by the Boston City Council Black History Month event celebrating ‘Black Immigrant Achievers in Boston. Ms. Modestin received the inaugural “Every Woman is an Activist” Award from March Forward Massachusetts.  In September of 2018 she was named as one of the ’10 Central American Poets you should be reading. In March 2018 on International Women’s Day, she was named as one of the Latina Women Who Inspire. She was recently named as one of the Top 5 Latina Activist by Wear Your Voice Media. Ms. Modestin is the narrator of the film ‘Cimarronaje en Panama/Maroons in Panama’ a film by Toshi Sakai.

She is one of the editors and writers of the book, “Women Warriors of the Afro Latina Diaspora”. Ms. Modestin is a contributor to the books, The Afro-Latino Reader; History and Culture in the US, Afro- Latinos in Movement: Critical Approaches to Blackness and Transnationalism, The Trayvon Martin in US: An American Tragedy, The Psychological Health of Woman of Color. She is one of the featured poets in the book,” Rapsodia Antillana.” She is featured poet in, “Antologia de Poesia Colonense,” which is an Anthology of poets from her hometown of Colon from 1900-2012 and the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro Latin American Biography. She is a proud member of the Finishers Fit Club. As an artist, a mental health clinician, wellness facilitator, community organizer, educator and Ifa practitioner, Ms. Modestin speaks to the resistance and resiliency of people of African descent. Her purpose is to move with the intent of lifting the voices of the ancestors.