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None of us can be free until everybody is free

Black lives matter.

Centuries of state-sanctioned racial violence against Black people — slavery, segregation, lynchings, Jim Crow, police brutality — are encoded in our culture, and the trauma in the genes of generations of Black families and communities.

It’s time for that to change.

As a Latinx, I’ve even encountered resistance in my own family. Anti-blackness runs deep in our community despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that many peoples across Latin America are Afro-descended. The peoples of Latin America have varying degrees of white, Indigenous, and Black heritage and our history is one in which colonizers have tried to make us “one” race through blanqueamiento — the “whitening” of Latin American peoples. 

We see the modern-day iteration of this through “mejorar la raza” (improve the race) that many of our families push on to us. Make our skin lighter, make our hair straighter, have children who are whiter. All to “advance the race” — a Latinidad — to one that is “pure” and “white.” “Latinidad” is a term often used in an attempt to “unite” the people of Latin America, but instead erases our various cultures, languages, and customs in the same ways blanqueamiento and mejorar la raza has. In the racial hierarchy, white supremacy places Black lives last.

It’s important that we don’t deny or ignore the unique experience of Black lives in the United States, Latin America, and globally.

We need to value and protect Black lives and experiences. As Maya Angelou said “no one of us can be free until everybody is free.” 

Black lives matter.

Click here for more ways to show up for Black lives and engage others in this moment.

Sources for epigenetic coding of trauma