Tag

african diaspora

Browsing

Ghana is now requiring visitors to prove they’re fully vaccinated, officials recently announced.

As of Dec. 12, travelers 18 years and older will have to provide proof of being fully vaccinated from Ghana’s approved list, which includes AstraZeneca’s, Sputnik V, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna.

This comes after health officials noticed a more than 40 percent increase in cases when comparing the numbers from November 2020 to November 2021. Data shows that a majority of new cases in Ghana are from the unvaccinated, who are three times more likely to test positive for COVID-19, health officials stated.

Ghana is cracking down as it gears up for a busy and festive season as the world simultaneously deals with the new Omicron variant, which scientists believe to be more transmissible.

“The new variant, Omicron, which is said to be more transmissible has been detected at our airport,” a statement from Ghana’s Health Service, reads. “Of the 34 cases detected, 75% of them were unvaccinated. Over the last weeks, cases from the airport account for about 60% of the total cases recorded in the country.”

#AfricanCreativeSeries: How Surf Ghana Is Building A Vibrant Community of Surfers In Ghana

There is an exception for unvaccinated Ghanaians and residents living outside out of Ghana, as they will be exempted from providing proof until Dec. 26. Health leaders, however, say they will be vaccinated on arrival at the airport.

Other arrival requirements that are still in effect include a 72-hour negative PCR test before departure and completion of the health declaration form three days before arrival.

The form asks travelers more about the countries they visited before landing in Ghana, including any layovers. Other questions include your reason for traveling to Ghana, if you’ve been around anyone who recently tested positive for COVIV-19, and if you’re currently experiencing any symptoms.

Ghana also requires all visitors to undergo Antigen testing.

The country has recorded just over 131,000 cases and 1,200 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

An Afro-Colombian journalist worked behind-the-scenes for Disney to ensure its “Encanto” film told the story of her native Columbia in all of its rich Afro heritage and culture.

Edna Liliana Valencia, who’s focused her career and personal life on highlighting the importance of Afro representation, brought her expertise with her to Disney when they reached out for her help with the 2021 animated story.

According to Travel Noire, she shared her contributions to the animated movie in an interview with Infobae. While working with Disney; she supported directors, producers and animators to create the most accurate representation of the Afro-Colombian people.

“Colombia is an extremely diverse country, where there are Afro, indigenous, and peasant farmers. Even between Afrocentric regions, there are differences, because there is no homogeneity in Afro-descendants in Colombia,” Valencia told Infobae.

In the film, a family lives in a magical home in the hills of Colombia. Each of the family members has a super power—except for one child.

Netflix’s ‘Jiva’ Takes South Africa’s Dance Culture To The World

“For me, it was important that the Afro-Colombian characters not be caricatured in an exaggerated or stereotyped way,” she shared. She also stated that Columbia is an extremely diverse country where no Afro-descendant is exactly like the other.

Over the year and a half process, Valencia contributed to the characters’ costumes, as well as hair and other features. For her, “Encanto” is historical because Colombian children now have a movie of their own to look up to.

“The people of my generation grew up with the reference of a distant Disney princess, who did not look like us, who lived a life of queens that we could not have,” she said. “Now, the girls of this generation are going to grow up with a Disney character that looks just like them, dress just like them, with curly, wavy hair, who eats arepa and plays shuffleboard … it gives us the chance to believe that we are the protagonists of history and feel that we are part of that international narrative.”

Other Colombian-inspired details in the film included Chocó, the region where Valencia was born, and chonta marimba, African braids with colored shakiras. Valencia said she’s seen the movie many times with the team, as well as with loved ones.

“In the end, I could take each character of the Madrigal family and compare it with someone in my family and I think it is something that can happen to all Colombians.”

Tremé is one of the oldest black neighborhoods in the United States’and is home to restaurants that have fueled the Civil Rights Movement and gone on to win James Beard Awards. In Tremé, you’ll find delicious New Orleans cuisine, landmarks with fascinating pasts and museums that help tell Tremé’s history.

Tremé was a plantation in the late 1700s. Hat maker and real estate developer Claude Tremé owned and subdivided this land, and in 1810 he sold it to the city of New Orleans. This new subdivision became home to several free persons of color and residents of European descent. This historic community is where many Enslaved obtained, bought, or bargained for their freedom were able to own property.

In the 1800s, the city designated a portion of land for free persons and black slaves to congregate, play music, and sell goods. This gathering place later became known as Congo Square.

Food Migration: Foods Brought To The Americas By Enslaved Africans

Tremé is also home to one of the oldest African-American Catholic parishes.

St. Augustine Church is located on the corner of Governor Nicholls and Henriette Delille streets and was created by free Blacks in 1841.

Resting next to one of the walls of the St. Augustine Church sits a metal cross made of thick chains, and smaller crosses are planted on the ground. This is known as the Tomb of the Unknown Slave ­– a landmark that commemorates the lives of slaves of African descent who died in New Orleans and were buried in unmarked graves.

Like many Black neighborhoods around the country, Tremé was ruined by the highway building boom in the 1950s and 1960s.  This was a time when city officials ruined neighborhoods they considered to be “slum areas” to make space for highways.

With the federal government backing a majority of these projects at the time, these “urban renewal” projects displaced more than 1 million Americans, many of whom were reportedlylow-income minorities, including in New Orleans.

When Interstate 10 was built in New Orleans, the elevated expressway project wiped off many businesses in the Tremé neighborhood. Despite that, Tremé is still one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city that holds some of the best Creole architecture in the city.

There are two cultural museums, the Backstreet Cultural Museum, which guides guests on a journey of Black contributions made to the City of New Orleans, as well as the Tremé’s Petit Jazz Museum.

Tremé was also one of the first 26 sites designated on the state’s Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

By now, We’re sure most of us have seen the horrifying photos of ICE agents on horseback, whipping asylum seekers from Haiti. Deportation flights started this week, with the U.S. using a Trump-era rule to deport Haitian asylum seekers before they even have a chance to seek asylum.

2021 brought unprecedented tragedy for Haitians.Haiti President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, leaving many parts of the country’s capital under gang control. On top of that, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake this summer killing more than 2,000 people and injuring more than 12,000, and was followed almost immediately by flash floods caused by tropical storm Grace. That has only added to the pressure of getting people to leave.

The U.S. has deported at least 1,400 asylum seekers so far, and thousands more have retreated back to Mexico after hearing about the deportations. If this situation leaves you feeling devastated and angry, here are some actions you can take.

Call your senators and representatives

As outlined by Haitian American author Maika Moulite in this Instagram post, clogging the phone lines of senators and representatives all over the country can help emphasize the urgency of the crisis, and with enough pressure, could prompt the Biden-Harris administration to change policies. Moulite is using a script from the Haitian Bridge Alliance, which can be found here. The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), a racial and immigration justice organization, has also created a tool kit to guide you through how to advocate for Haitian asylum seekers.

Donate

Unless you’re able to travel to the border and volunteer with organizations providing aid on the ground, the next best thing you can do is donate. Even if you can’t afford to send large donations, setting up regular donations (monthly or biweekly) is the best way to offer sustained support for Haitian asylum seekers, even after Haiti is no longer in the headlines. Here are some organizations to consider donating to:

The Haitian Bridge Alliance has been supporting Haitian immigrant communities in California for years, and is one of the primary organizations currently on the ground in Texas. Its work includes providing supplies, reuniting families, and welcoming the few asylum seekers who aren’t being deported. Donate here.

YouTube Music opening the 2022 applications for #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund

San Antonio–based Black Freedom Factory is a grassroots organization that is on the ground distributing food and supplies at the border, as well as providing shelter, supplies, and food for newly arrived Haitian asylum seekers in Texas. Donate here.

BAJI is a national organization with staff in Texas that organizes for immigration justice and advocates for Black immigrant communities; it’s currently fighting to stop deportations by the Biden administration. Donate here.

The Haitian Immigrant Bail Assistant Project (HIBAP) helps pay bail to free detained refugees, asylum seekers, TPS holders, and other undocumented immigrants. Donate here.

Since its founding in 2015, Houston Haitians United has worked to connect and uplift Houston’s Haitian community. Now, the organization is on the ground helping run a shelter where volunteers are providing Haitian food and supplies, translation services, COVID tests, and even hairstyling. Donate here.

Undocublack is a support network that advocates for undocumented Black immigrants by building community, providing education and training, and organizing for immigrant rights and racial justice. Donate here.

Mexico’s Government Approves Law To Recognize Human Rights Of Afro-Mexican

Border Kindness was founded in 2018 in response to the caravan of migrants from Central America. Since it has continued to provide food, shelter, medical services, transportation, and legal services for asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants of all kinds. The group is offering support services to Haitian asylum seekers who have passed through the border. Donate here.

Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition provides food, supplies, and transportation to newly arrived refugees who have gotten through border patrol. Donate here.

Black Immigrants Bail Fund is a collaborative effort from the Haitian Bridge Alliance and the Detroit-based African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs whose ultimate goal is to end the mass incarceration of Black immigrants. Donate here.

Detention Watch Network is a national coalition whose goal is to abolish immigration detention in the United States. It recently hosted a national day of action to stop the deportations and continues to organize for the rights of immigrants. Donate here.

World Central Kitchen is an international organization that goes wherever there are hungry people to feed. It’s currently on the ground in Del Rio, feeding hot meals and fresh fruit to Haitian asylum seekers. Donate here.

 

Racism, poor education systems and lack of opportunities bring problems that Afro-Brazilians have to face during their lifetime. However, there are some who challenge this and reach heights beyond those they have dreamed about. This is the case for Ingrid Silva, a Black ballerina and activist from Rio de Janeiro who is revolutionizing the professional ballet scene in New York.

The mother of a 1-year-old girl, works as a lead ballerina with the Dance Theater of Harlem.

Ingrid Silva gained global prominence by becoming the first Black ballerina to have her pointe shoes painted in her skin color. Seen during her performances in New York, the ‘afro’ pointe shoes have become so popular, that in 2018 they were sent for exhibition in The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

But, this Black ballerina has more to offer than dancing itself. She has also become an important voice for more diversity within the ballet world.

She is the co-founder of Blacks in Ballet, created with the purpose of highlighting black ballet dancers and sharing their stories.

“Every Black ballet dancer has a different background, a different path, a different story to tell, and that’s what Blacks in Ballet wants to share with the world,” Ingrid Silva told Travel Noire.

In 2017, she founded EmpowHer NY, a non-profit organization that aims to amplify women’s voices in matters regarding various areas, while fostering female sorority.

Ingrid Silva Is The Pregnant Ballerina Who Defines Strenght And The Beauty  Of Motherhood – Lifestyle Nigeria

“We are a platform that generates opportunities for education and network for those aspiring to claim their own path.”

Last May, she returned to perform “The Movement of Motherhood,” now available on video on her YouTube channel.

Silva’s story is remarkable, indeed. It started when her mother, a house maid, decided to put her in a dance school in order to take her away from the streets at the age of 8.  The dance school was part of a social project located in a slum in Rio de Janeiro.

Six Women Embrace the Joys of New Motherhood—Even in a Pandemic | Vogue

“Although I have always been involved in sports, it was there that one of the neighbors introduced me to the social project called Dançando para Não Dançar (Dancing for not being in Trouble, in Portuguese), created by Thereza Aguilar. I didn’t think much of it, but I took the test and passed. I was only 8 years old. Little did I know that, later, that simple activity would take me to the United States,” Silva told Vogue Brazil Magazine during a past interview.

It was at this Dance School that Ingrid Silva’s life changed.

Netflix’s ‘Jiva’ Takes South Africa’s Dance Culture To The World

Seeing her remarkable talent as a ballet dancer, one of her instructors told her to send a video to the Dance Theater of Harlem School for a scholarship opportunity.

She got her place out of 200 girls who had auditioned when she was 19.

The next step was to find the means to survive in New York. Without knowing a word in English, she had to think not only about the classes, but also finding a job. She worked as a dog walker, nanny, at events, among other occupations.

Often times, she thought about quitting. Feeling upset and frustrated, she called her mother to share her feeling.  Her mother’s answer was always the same, “Daughter, there is nothing for you in Brazil.”

But soon after,  things started to change for the better, after she was noticed by the director of the Dance Theater of Harlem,  Arthur Mitchell. Since then, Ingrid Silva has become one of the most prominent Black dancers, with several good reviews from dance experts who pointed her as one of the most talented dancers in the US.

Now, she is committed to promoting her book in order to inspire other Afro-Brazilians to pursue their dreams.

Photo Credit: Courtesy

“Dancing was able to take me to other areas that made me grow not only as a professional, but as a human being. My book is not just about ballet. This is the story of my life, which led me to be this woman who, today, is very sure about her importance and her place in the world”, said the Black ballerina.

The book was written during the pandemic, and it is only available in Portuguese.

After winning the right to be counted   as part of Mexico’s population in 2020, Afro-Mexicans are still fighting for the right to protect their heritage. In a country where roughly 2.5 million people self-identify as Black, these communities are working to pass better legislation that protects the human rights to Afro-Mexicans.

“It’s extremely important that they count us as Afro-Mexicans,” said García, an engineer in the community of Cuajinicuilapa. “We’re of African descent – but we’re Mexicans because we were born here and we built this country.”

On June 8, 2021, the Mexican Federal Congress returned a reform bill with changes being presented by the Mexican Senate Culture Commission, which was sent to the United Commissions of Culture; Indigenous Affairs; and Legislative Studies, for its corresponding ruling.

Named ‘The New General Law for The Protection of Cultural Heritage of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Peoples and Communities in Mexico,’ the act intends to recognize the right to property of Afro-Mexican and Indigenous communities over the elements that make up their cultural heritage, which is their knowledge and expressions.

In general terms, the reform is an attempt to harmonize national legislation with international legal instruments on the matter, trying to give a seal of “inclusivity” to minorities, demonstrating the recognition and respect deserved by Indigenous and Afro-Mexican people.

7 Countries Where You Can Get a Passport Through Ancestry

“We are convinced that with this reform is an act of social justice for our peoples. That is why it is very important, because we will be able to achieve reconciliation with ourselves, with those who are different from us and, of course, reconciliation with the entire Mexican society and that this is the turning point for the regeneration and rebirth of our homeland,” Adelfo Regino Montes director of Mexico’s National Institute for Indigenous People told Reporte Índigo, a Mexican news outlet.

In June, Afro-Mexicans achieved a very important victory within the Mexican political system. The Mexican Federal Government took affirmative action to include Afro-Mexicans in the country’s legislative branch. 37 Afro-Mexicans were elected as representatives under the rules of this new program.

Afro-Mexican cultural contributions

Despite the fact that Afro-Mexicans constitute a significantly smaller segment of the population than indigenous peoples (who make up 10% of the Mexican population), the Afro-Mexican contribution to popular Mexican culture, economy and industry cannot be overlooked.

Historically speaking, Afro-Mexicans, alongside helping advance the Mexican silver mining industry and develop farmland and sugar plantations during their slave days, were vital in overthrowing Spanish rule during the War of Independence. In fact, the second post-Mexican Revolution president was Vicente Guerrero, an afromestizo with possible Filipino ancestry.

Culturally speaking, much Mexican cuisine shows rich African influence, thanks to the use of peanuts, plantain (which arrived via the Canary Islands) and tropical fruits like cassava, malanga, taro and sweet potatoes.

However, the principal African legacy in Mexico comes undoubtedly from music and dance, from Veracruz’s son jarocho style of music (of which La Bamba is the most famous example) to the Danza de los Diablos along the Costa Chica and the use of the typically Afro-Mexican musical instruments guijada (a percussive made from donkey jawbone) and bote (a friction drum).