Cruz recast’s Gloria Gaynor’s famous “you’re not welcome anymore,” heartbreak anthem as a song about resilience and joy in the face of trials. The struggle for freedom, the tears for the friends we leave behind, the perseverance and the love for our people that carries us forward. The ancient song, hands on drums and feet dancing, the blood of our villages that we carry across all borders and barriers, into spaces that do not always love us but where we must love in order to survive.
After Bosch’s expulsion from the country, Guzmán participated in several protests. She visited jails and brought political prisoners food as well as helped single mothers gain access to sewing machines, milk and bread for their children. She told her mother Doña Beatriz of her plans for the revolution and would often entrust her with preparing and delivering food to political prisoners and revolutionary leaders.
There is an elegance to being able to capture such complex issues like Afro-Latino identities. This issue is really as simple as a question on the Living Environment Regents. I mean, imagine if science teachers taught the unit on genes and punnett squares through the lens of the diaspora; everyone in the room would not only be engaged, but they would know where the hell they came from…like genetically and geographically. Hell, this quote makes me want to get a science certification just so I can ask the question: “How do Afro-Latino features manifest?” or “Can two white people create a person with African features?”
The more I thought about it, the more I have realized how right Khalilah is. Anger can be useful as a spark that spurs us on toward the work, but it is a terrible life partner, and useless from a sustainability perspective. Anger, especially over the mistreatment of others is absolutely legitimate, but joy and love and gratitude are the only thing that can sustain us over the long haul, and we must cultivate love and gratitude in every corner of our soul.
Thus, in celebration of our Black history in what is currently called America, let me call your attention to one of my favorite sources of joy and healing for me and for so many of us: Black music.
The sad truth is that a number of forces – racism, colorism, language differences, limited depictions of history – keep Black and Latinx communities separate, even in a place like NYC where we live side by side.
The comment sections of these post are filled with people who think like Young Hollywood’s and serve as a reminder of how Latinxs often times ostracize their own and favor fairer skinned children, relatives and actors.
While doing this and experimenting with varying classroom structures to improve the discussion, one student’s statement last week in a fellow teacher’s class hit home, “Miss, why yall tryna make us angry? Ya’ll tryna make us hate white people?”
Now – as Malcolm X would say, “Before you come askin’ if I teach hate, ask yourself, who taught you to hate yourself?”