This is a testimony to all my Latinas out there that battle with showing off or embracing their blackness. To my Latinas who already embrace their blackness but struggle with trying to fall in the right crowd without being told you too black to be white or you are not black because you are not black enough. Funny someone told me the other day, “The idea of calling yourself Afro-Latina, does not make sense to me just be black or Latina” Hmmm, if only it was that easy right. First let’s take about how long it took me and many of my sisters so long to love our hairs because curls were too ugly so being in the salon every Sunday was a thing. The most upsetting part today is that curly hair is embrace sisters, but the Eurocentric culture appropriated my hair, your hair and style. I feel your pain in so many ways when you trying to balance out who you are but also trying to fit in because you constantly are trying to get the validation of others! See this letter is more than me or us trying to get the message cross, this is a testimono of the unspoken feelings of always being the middle person, trying to defend that your blackness is truly meaningful! Writing this letter, I know I am repeating and saying the same words that our ancestors have cried, but the sadness part is are people listening? Because my cries are endless. The feeling that your culture or your identification being called out on as not enough hurts. My latinidad and my blackness is enough.
Our ancestors must be flipping in their caskets of all the pain we still encounter. They reflected courage, determination and persistence; but how must we continue their legacy of courage when we are being Afro-Latina is not a thing. You see I want to make it clear ladies, let’s NOT give up, let’s educate because sometimes we get caught up with the bad instead of the good. Educate so that future generations feel protected and secured. We should feel proud to say that we are Afro-Latina because we are somebody. We must unify together, and be the movement we want to see, standing together and supporting each other through it all. The first step is recognizing our OWN strengths and appreciating our OWN presence, no matter how many times our presence goes unnoticed. Our presence will speak volumes to those who are not ignorant, to those who understand the pre-fix of the word Afro-Latina. We must work towards building our own community and letting other communities know what the first part of our identifications mean.
I know at times my sisters we feel that that this color is a burden or the way we identify. Not at all. This our gift, your super power, your secret weapon, the skin cells we carry no one can take that away. Because we know what it is like to be different and discriminated against, you will be able to recognize it when it happens to someone else. You will be able to lift them up as I hope this letter will do to you. And then they will pay it back with someone else and so on and so on. This super power means you have the potential to stop this ugliness just by being you. If this is not a gift, then I do NOT know what is. Keep pushing my sisters …