Afro-Latinx Candidates Stand Together During Latinx Heritage Month

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During Latinx Heritage Month we recognize the contributions and influence of Latinx folks to the history, and culture of the United States. As Afro-Latinx candidates, we are proud to stand against the erasure of the Afro-Latinx community. Now more than ever we must lift up the voices of Afro-Latinx folks during Latinx Heritage Month.

Through our advocacy to center Afro-Latinx voices, part of our work is to educate our communities on the fact that more enslaved people from Africa were taken to the Caribbean and Latin America than to the United States. Our deeply rooted mixture of being Black, Latinx and Indigeneous is expressed throughout our culture, and does not negate one over the other. Our emphasis on our Latinx heritage is intentional, and despite the existent racist and colorist history, where traditionally our presence has been denied through the false narratives of what it means to be Latinx — today (and everyday), we stand proud of our Spanish, Black and Indigeneous roots. We will no longer accept the whitewashing of the Afro-Latinx experience that does not embrace the richness of our African roots.

From Arturo Alfonso Schomburg who curated an extensive collection of literature, art and materials which would become the foundation of the Arthur Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture to Esteban Hotesse, the only known Dominican to serve as a Tuskegee airman during World War II to Celia Cruz, who spent a lifetime proving that Afro-Latinx identity must be associated with pride and celebration, rather than shame and omission — we stand on the shoulders of those who lived authentically against ingrained sentiments of anti-blackness and colorism within our culture and the preconceived ideas of Latindad.

History has attempted to enforce this narrative that we are only what we appear to be through our phenotype, but our identity as both Black and Latinx will always be unwavering. Latinx Heritage Month must serve as an opportunity to clarify the historical record, embrace our collective history and cultural impact and stand as testaments that being Black and Latinx aren’t mutually exclusive experiences.

As we run for elected office in the most diverse City in the world, we stand to exemplify the duality of our unique Afro-Latinx experience, highlight the importance of having representation, and bridge the divides systemic racism have successfully imposed on our people.

Wilfredo Florentino Candidate, New York City Council — 42nd District (East New York, New Lots, Remsen Village, Spring Creek, Starrett City)

Shaeleigh Severino Candidate, New York City Council — 32nd District (Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach, Woodhaven)

Amanda Farias Candidate, New York City Council — 18th District (Soundview, Castle Hill, Parkchester, Clason Point, Harding Park)

Pierina Sanchez Candidate, New York City Council — 14th District (Morris Heights, University Heights, Fordham, Kingsbridge)

Leonardo Coello Candidate, New York City Council — 16th District (Claremont, Concourse, Concourse Village, Highbridge, Morris Heights, Mount Eden, Morrisania)

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Wilfredo is running to serve as the next Council Member for the 42nd District, which includes East New York and Brownsville. (wilfredoflorentino.com)

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