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.
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.
Dr. James Jennings Why is identifying as a Black Latino/Afro Latino important to you? *There are two responses that I will offer. Acknowledging and celebrating one’s roots brings self-respect. If you are going into an educational system where your culture is not celebrated or acknowledged it is difficult to then, navigate society. If you […]
Gwendolyn McCoy Why is identifying as a Black Latino/Afro Latino important to you*It’s important to me because it is who I am. As a child raised in Boston predominantly with my mother, who was from the South, I struggled with the fact that I have family members that I didn’t understand. I would ask, why […]
Christopher Flores Why is identifying as a Black Latino/Afro Latino important to youIt’s important to me as an educator and a person with my platform, ex international basketball player from Honduras, to provide representation for the youth and other individuals of black and brown communities in my spaces, Honduras, here in Boston community as well […]
Denise Isaac Why is identifying as a Black Latino/Afro Latino important to you?For me it is important. It’s tuff here. I did not start using the word till 5 years ago because it was resonating more to me at the time. The importance of being Afro Latina is a complete different genre from the norm. […]
Naheem Garcia Why is identifying as a Black Latino/Afro Latino important to you?It is important because Black Latinos need a voice. We are always chalked over as other things and not as the Black Latinos that we are. We are looked over and ignored and looked in disbelief. I am more than just dark […]
Danilo Avalon Why is identifying as a Black Latino/Afro Latino important to you? For me, it is exactly who I am. That shows you everything of what you are. I say this to my kids. I want them to see the culture. They see us as Black and only know we are Latino when […]
Sendy Suazo Why is identifying as a Black Latino/Afro Latino important to you? I think for me in particular because I grew up in both places it was because of my family. The value and the significance was at the forefront for me. I only had black dolls growing up as a kid. In that […]
Rosario Ubiera-Minaya Why is identifying as a Black Latino/Afro Latino important to you?As I was growing up in the Dominican Republic, because of the color of my skin and the way I look, I was treated differently by some friends and relatives. I was trying to figure out who I was. Coming to this […]
YVETTE LEPOLATA ADUKE MODESTIN
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.