Latino Community Stands in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter at NYC Festival

Afro-Latinos in New York City represented in a major way over the weekend.

The 4th Annual Afro-Latino Festival kicked off Friday with a series of panels that explored the nuances of Afro-Latino identity and continued throughout the weekend with a series of concerts, parties and festivities.

Co-founded and co-directed by Afro-Panamanian singer-songwriter Mai-Elka Prado Gil and her partner Amilcar Maceo Priestley, who is also Afro-Panamanian, the festival aimed to affirm, celebrate and educate people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds about Afro-Latino culture and identity. “Our objective is to educate ourselves as Afro-Latinos, as well as the broader community of Latinos, and everybody else about some of the issues that we are concerned about, but in solutions-driven manner,” Priestley told The Huffington Post Sunday.

Read more at HuffPost Latino Voices.

Somos: Afro-Latino

As we focus on Afro-Latino identity and issues, we wanted to start by going to people who live it every day.

In this segment we hear four people talk about what being Afro-Latino means to them. We meet an entrepreneur, an author and two sisters trying to educate others through the Internet.

They tell us about facing racism, their issues with the media and the way people have reacted to them over the years. (“Somos” means “we are.”)


Anthony Otero, a Bronx native, Syracuse University alum, Afro-Latino blogger, and frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, has aspired to be a published author for most of his life. He wrote his first novel as a therapeutic outlet while recovering from his divorce and realized that his story can shed light on a man’s side of a love story—an underrepresented angle.

His first book, “Hanging Upside Down”, is a fiction novel that explores the pressures men face after divorce, the consequences of letting good intentions go astray, and how a single turn of events can change the world as they know it. With support from his family, friends, and fellow Latino alumni at Syracuse, Anthony delivered a whirlwind, twist-turning, and explicit story of a man rediscovering the world around him before finally facing his “global warming.”

VictoriaArzuVictoria Arzu is the co-founder of Proyecto Más Color. Victoria is a first generation Honduran-American of Garifuna descent. Victoria was born in Fort Sill, Oklahoma and later moved to Katy, TX where she spent her middle school and high school years. Victoria graduated cum laude from the University of Houston with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Victoria now attends Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and aspires to be either and immigration or an international lawyer. Victoria is very passionate about social justice and equality and would like to see that reflected in Latin American media. Since she was a little girl she had noticed the racial inequities and stereotypes portrayed on Spanish soap operas, and with Proyecto Más Color she aspires to put an end to this. Her dream is to see positive and honorable portrayals of Indigenous and Afro-Latinos integrated into the daily programming of Univision and Telemundo. Victoria is 26 years old.


Sophia Arzu is the co-founder of Proyecto Más Color. Sophia is a first generation Honduran-American of Garifuna descent. Sophia was born in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, but she spent most of her childhood in Katy, TX. Sophia and her parents later moved to Georgia where she spent her high school and college years. Sophia now attends Georgia State University and is studying Communications & Journalism. Sophia enjoys listening to music and producing YouTube videos. From a young age, Sophia has noticed the racial disparity in Latin American television shows and her dream is to put an end to the discriminatory nature of Latin American media so that one day, her children can see Afro-Latinos like her on television. Sophia is 21 years old.


 Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist. Martinez currently serves as Content Producer at NewME, a customizable support platform that transforms cool ideas into great businesses. She previously served as Technology Editor at Black Enterprise, the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans, where she oversaw the editorial strategy for technology across the company’s platforms. Her work and insights have appeared on various media sites including TheGrio, Madame Noire and The Root, as well as Arise News and NPR’s Latino USA.

The Honduran-American added entrepreneur to her title, launching, an online destination celebrating diversity among Latinas. Founded to fill a void in the representation of Afro-Latinas in both mainstream as well as Spanish-language media, offers profiles of Afro-Latinas across the globe, celebrity news, career advice, lifestyle coverage and exclusive interviews with today’s hottest celebs.

Somos: What’s In A Name?

Latino, Afro-Cuban, Chicano, Mexican-American:  For as long as people of Latin American descent have been a part of the U.S. they’ve been referred to by many names. What’s more, we even have different names for ourselves. In this segment of our new Somos series, we talk to writers and activists about what name they choose to identify themselves by – and why it matters.

Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of

Explaining Somos

“Somos” is the name of a series that we are starting where we explore issues of Latino identity. We invite you to tell us how you identify yourself by making a video on youtube, posting a comment here, or leaving a message old-school style on our phone (yes, we have a phone attached to a wall!) at 646-571-1228. Don’t forget to tell us your name and where you’re calling us from. And after you post your video, tell us about it here or tweet us! We love hearing from you.

Marina Garcia-Vasquez is the co-founder and director of, a culture site and creative consultancy collective. The group aims to promote Mexican culture and heritage in a positive light through the accomplishments of Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans both in the United States, Mexico, and globally. Based in New York City, Marina is a working journalist dedicated to writing about art, design, and architecture. She is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism M.A. program in Arts and Culture and a published poet.

Roland Roebuck is a recognized DC activist nationally known as a leading spokesperson on issues that impact Latino Afro-Descendants. He has worked tirelessly to champion human and civil rights. He is a founding member of several Washington DC community organizations and has compelled national organizations and elected officials to implement initiatives that address the needs of minority groups.


Matthew Yglesias is Slate’s business and economics correspondent and author of Slate’s Moneybox column. Before joining the magazine he worked for ThinkProgress, the Atlantic, TPM Media, and the American Prospect. His first book, Heads in the Sand, was published in 2008. His second, The Rent Is Too Damn High, was published in March.