Thursday, March 3, 2016

Afro-Panamanian & Proud!

1. Do you remember when you first began using the term Afro-Latina?
I’d never heard of the term Afro-Latina until 2011. My dad sent me an email from one of his friends about a documentary featuring Afro-Latinos discussing being underrepresented in the media. After watching it, I went on to research the term and watch additional videos of the same topic on YouTube. After grasping the concept and realizing the term described me I started referring to myself as such.

2. Why are you proud of being an Afro-Latina?
I am proud of the woman I am and all that encompasses who I am. And being an Afro-Latina is a huge part of that. My Afro-Latina identity has shaped me in so many ways that there is no way I couldn’t be proud. The beauty, complexities, confidence, and strength of my African, West Indian, and Panamanian cultural mixture is what makes me proud.

3. What type of experiences did you have growing up Panamanian in the United States?

While growing up, my parents always did their part to make sure my brother and I knew about our Panamanian culture. Specifically, twice a month my mom and aunts gathered me, my brother, and all my cousins together to learn to dance Típico and learn various things about Panamá. After months of practicing we learned full dance routines and started performing at cultural events. This included wearing traditional Panamanian clothing: Polleras for the girls, Montunos for the boys.

4. What is a special memory from your visits to Panama?

I have so many special memories, but my favorite is from 2004 when we had a family reunion in Panamá. This was the only time that 90% of my mom’s side of the family was all together (even some of my dad’s family attended). This reunion stands out because we got to do so many activities which took us to different parts of Panamá, and also included a boat ride through the Panamá Canal.

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