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Black History Month serves as a moment to reflect on the intricate and diverse essence of the Black journey within the United States. Afro-Latinxs, with their distinctive viewpoints and contributions, play a vital role in shaping the rich tapestry of Hispanic and Black American identity.

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in May 2022, approximately six million individuals, constituting 12% of adult Latinos, self-identified as Afro-Latinx. Although Afro-Latinxs have experienced significant growth over the past decade and possess a unique position, there has been limited effort in quantifying and prioritizing their lived experiences in academic studies.

Researchers and policymakers need to understand the connections between race, ethnicity, and ancestry and how they relate to social inequalities. Being both Black and Latino is possible, and it's crucial to recognize the challenges Afro-Latinxs face in areas like housing, finance, work, and healthcare. This understanding is vital as more Afro-Latinxs become eligible to vote and impact policies and elections.

This year, MamásConPoder aimed to spotlight the creativity, diverse viewpoints, and invaluable contributions of Afro-Latinas to our nation's social fabric and cultural landscape. We started by highlighting a series of children’s books written by Afro-Latinas that celebrate culture and identity. 

Additionally, we connected with two Afro-Latina Champions over Instagram Live and chatted about how they celebrate their afro-latinidad through identity, food, culture, and service. 

First we met Vanessa Mota, author of The Dominican Kitchen, who talked about the role of food in culture and how we can share it with our children. Vanessa highlights how involving the kids in the cooking process give an opportunity to open conversations that teaches them about their roots.

We also met with Yaritza Gonzalez, an Afro-Latina scholarship expert whose mission is to educate people on the options available to obtain a college education debt-free. She joined us for a chat about the importance of access to a college education and funds, and how it impacts people of color. In our conversation, Yaritza pointed out how important it is to recognize the barriers we face and do everything we can to overcome them whether that is by doing research or enlisting the help of our children’s college counselors because “we don’t know what we don’t know.”

As we conclude this exploration of Afro-Latinx identity and the significance of their contributions during Black History Month, it becomes evident that their stories and experiences are essential to understanding the multifaceted nature of Hispanic and Black American identity. The Pew Research Center's survey underscores the need for further research and recognition of Afro-Latinx lived experiences, particularly in addressing social inequalities. 

MamásConPoder's efforts to spotlight Afro-Latina creativity and perspectives through children's literature and engaging discussions with Vanessa Mota and Yaritza Gonzalez highlight the richness of Afro-Latinx culture and the importance of education and empowerment within the community. As we move forward, let us continue to celebrate and uplift Afro-Latinx voices, recognizing their invaluable contributions to our society and striving for greater inclusivity and understanding.

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