July 25th is the International Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women Day: The day to celebrate the resistance to racism and sexism of black women in Latin American and the Caribbean

With the establishment of neoliberal capitalist development models and their policies of exclusion that only further degrade the living conditions of the oppressed in recent years people of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean have seen their historically compromised status grow even worse As a result, poverty and marginalization increasingly affect this population even more severely, hindering their access to the resources needed to live in dignity and to participate in the benefits of development However, this discrimination tends to be hidden and ignored by the rest of the population and even by social movements claiming to defend the rights of all people
In fact black women endure an even greater impact compared to men of African descent as the factor of gender intersects with race/ethnicity worsening their situation of segregation And discovering proof of this double discrimination has led black women to raise their voices to demand that their agenda and social demands be met with specific and necessary remedies at appropriate levels including within the black movement African-descendant women have also brought their situation to the attention of the feminist movement urging their sisters to take up and endorse urgent priorities for black women
Recent decades have seen the emergence of many networks and coalitions of black women working to promote and establish strategies for action and collaborating efforts In this context following the First Meeting of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women in the Dominican Republic in 1992 the date of July 25 was established as the International Day of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women. Since then, this date has served as a mechanism for increasing awareness about the oppression of gender and race/ethnicity as experienced by millions of women in our region especially in those countries where African-descendant women constitute a high percentage of the total population. The most representative cases are Brazil and the Caribbean although there are populations of African descendants throughout in most of our region
Moreover on the international scene it is important to highlight the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban South Africa in 2001where the problems and needs of the African diaspora were recognized and explicitly linked to presence of a deeply engrained structural racism.At this international event led by the United Nations people of African descent and women in particular were identified as a priority sector in the fight against racism, xenophobia and all forms of intolerance
The International Day of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women is an opportunity to evaluate the living conditions of black women, to demand redress for the inequality, racism, sexism and social exclusion that has affected them for thousands of years and to renew the commitment to ongoing efforts of solidarity and support call for their rights to respected in all areas

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