June 5, 2020
We want to express the ache we feel as our Black friends, colleagues, peers, and communities continue to experience injustices across the United States and across the world. We, the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy (HJHP) Editorial Board, believe progress begins by taking a stand and speaking up against systemic racism and the violent oppression of Black lives. The needless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many others must end, and they must end now. Change starts with us.
We ask our fellow Latinx community, alumni, and partners to step up in the fight against systemic racism and white supremacy. Truly being allies means mobilizing our resources year round, not only in times of distress. As members of the Harvard Latinx community, we have various privileges not afforded to our Black peers, and we have a duty to use those privileges in intentionally dismantling anti-Black and racist systems. This means critically examining our upbringing, beliefs, and actions, and acting as a community to enact change. We believe this process must include the following:
- Confront anti-Blackness in the Latinx community – Racism against Black people, including Afro-latinos, has a long history in the Latinx community. Let’s not forget that George Zimmerman, the son of an Afro-Peruvian mother and a white father, shot and killed Trayvon Martin while he walked home unarmed. Or that Jeronimo Yanez, a Latino police officer, shot and killed Philando Castille during a traffic stop. We must educate our families and community members about the embedded racism in our actions, how our own oppression is connected with Black oppression, and how we must support each other to enact systemic change.
- Uplift and Promote our Afro-Latinx members – Black Latinx individuals are doubly affected by white supremacism and racism from our own Latinx communities. We must no longer be complicit in their oppression but instead enable these members to thrive and celebrate their rich contributions to our cultures. A publication by the National Latinx Psychological Association celebrating AfroLatinidad can be read here.
- Use our Political Strength for Change– In 2016, 28% of Latinos voted for President Trump. As the largest minority voting bloc in the United States, Latinos have considerable political power, and thus, the ability to challenge systems that capitalize on the oppression of our Black brothers and sisters. We must educate ourselves about how our current systems are failing marginalized communities, and how we can engage our communities in creating a more just society. This requires action at every level, from organizing locally, to volunteering for progressive anti-racist candidates, to voting against structurally racist policies, to uplifting and promoting the voices of Black communities.
- Financial Support – Donate towards anti-racist causes, such as the Minnesota Freedom Fund, that support the Black Lives Matter movement (see here for organizations accepting donations). Shop at black-owned businesses in your local area (here are 77 Black owned businesses you can support). Providing financial support will help these organizations and businesses continue their missions and enact meaningful change.
As we process the events of the past few months, the Editorial Board challenges our readers to educate themselves on topics surrounding anti-racism and take an active stance against racism. The following resources are available for those who are ready to take steps in becoming an effective ally:
- Anti-Racism Resource Guide – a compilation of books and articles to educate ourselves on effective anti-racism, including chicanx/latinx-focused readings and issue-specific resources (e.g. healthcare, criminal justice, housing, and many more)
- Anti-Racism Resources – a list of podcasts, film and TV series, and organizations to follow, along with resources for raising anti-racist children
- Read about Afro-Latinidad in Higher Education
The HJHP Editorial Board