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In the fall of 2019, the Latin American Studies Association (LASA)’s Forum published a series of articles concerning the rise of violence, including assassinations, against Black and Indigenous political and community leaders throughout Latin America, many of whom are women. The 2019 publication preceded a number of others similarly reporting on the development, while many have since followed, including the revealing Mongabay Latam September 2020 report. The reasons for these attacks are multiple, though they often involve disputes over narcotrafficking and control of lands and resources. In Brazil, where Rio de Janeiro councilor and activist Marielle Franco was killed in March of 2018, over 75 percent of all police killings are of afrodescendentes, while the Bolsonaro regime has fought against formal recognition of quilombos, slashing budgetary support for them. In Colombia, President Iván Duque has been criticized for his government’s slow and insufficient response to the murders of community leaders, of whom some 225 have been murdered by October of 2020. Meanwhile, Garífuna leaders in Honduras have likewise been progressively killed or kidnapped, in instances by uniformed police, in the struggle over claims to their ancestral lands.
This panel assembles distinguished scholars and activists to examine mounting challenges faced by afrodescendiente/afrodescendente political and community leaders in various parts of Latin America, and particularly in Brazil, Colombia, and Honduras.
Interpretación al español disponible.
Presented by The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and Center for the Study of Africa and the African Diaspora (CSAAD) at NYU.
About the Speakers:
My intellectual journey in African and related studies began on the African continent, and expanded out from there to other parts of the black world, especially the Americas. Southern Africa generally, and Mozambique more particularly, were the site of my first major scholarly engagement. My agrarian interests in southern Africa led to another line of inquiry, notably rural sociology and social movements in the African diaspora. My current research focuses on Brazil’s quilombos or African descended communities struggling for land and livelihood, and critically examines the national quilombo land movement that is fighting for black land rights. Brazil, home to the largest population of people of African descent outside of the African continent, is an ideal location to explore the impact of land reform on class, race, and gender in rural settings. Merle is Associate Professor at College of Liberal Arts & Sciences,
Department of African American Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Francia Elena Márquez Mina
Líder de comunidades afro y mineros artesanales del norte del Cauca, Francia Márquez, fue la ganadora del premio The Goldman Environmental Prize 2018, considerado el ‘Nobel del Medio Ambiente’, que reconoce la labor de los líderes del mundo por la lucha, defensa y conservación de la naturaleza.
Francia ha participado en muchos foros y conferencias organizados por varias universidades de Estados Unidos, Suiza y América Latina, también ha participado en reuniones con parlamentarios de Congreso de los Estados Unidos, en institutos gubernamentales y no gubernamentales, también ha realizado eventos académicos sobre cómo funciona el racismo estructural en Colombia, y sobre cómo las mujeres negras son fuertemente violentadas y sus cuerpos usados como un instrumento de guerra. Francia, finalizó sus estudios en derechos en la universidad Santiago de Cali pasado 12 de junio de 2020.
Miriam Miranda is the General Coordinator of OFRANEH, the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras, which organizes Garifuna communities in defense of ancestral territory along the Atlantic coast of Honduras.