FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2022
Elyssa Pachico | +1 503 347 23 29 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Myneilles Negron | +1 703 585 6727 | email@example.com
This year marks the 225th anniversary since the Garífuna people arrived to Central America on April 13, 1797. Under the leadership of Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY), the House of Representatives is set to consider a resolution establishing April as National Garífuna Heritage Month. This accomplishment is the result of years of public education and advocacy by grassroots groups, including Hondurans Against AIDS, Casa Yurumein, and the Central American Black Organization (CABO or ONECA by its Spanish acronym).
“The Garífuna people are a people of resistance, a living people that resists through time. Thank you to Rep. Ritchie Torres for introducing this resolution that honors ongoing efforts by the Garífuna to preserve their culture, protect their ancestral land, and fight for policies that improve the quality of life for all immigrants in New York state,” said Mirtha Colón, president of ONECA, Hondurans Against AIDS, and Casa Yurumein, and head of the Alianza Americas Board of Directors.
“Across the U.S., too many in Afro-descendant and Afro-Indigenous migrant communities are living in daily uncertainty, due to the Biden administration’s lack of action in designating the TPS humanitarian program for countries facing dire crises, including Honduras and Guatemala,” Colón added. “To protect Black and Afro-Indigenous communities from being deported back to situations of suffering and harm, the Biden administration needs to grant TPS to countries including Honduras and Guatemala, and work with Congress in providing a permanent immigration solution to those with TPS.”
Garífuna communities are present in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Mexico; in the U.S., they have deep roots across California, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. Many are naturalized U.S. citizens; others are TPS holders, asylees, people fleeing violence and displacement, or they are U.S. citizen children of Garífuna parents.
“Thanks to this effort by Rep. Torres, National Garífuna Heritage Month would be observed in the United States every April. We want the Garífuna diaspora and other allies across the Americas to join their peers in honoring the history, diversity, voices, spirituality, food, and culture of Central American Black-Indigenous immigrants in the United States,” said Terry Bermúdez, an advocate for Garífuna rights at Lumalali Limu International.
“We honor the incredible contributions that Garífuna and other Black-Indigenous immigrants have made to history and culture across the Americas. This time of celebrating the resistance of the Garífuna is also a moment to reflect on the urgent need for immigration reform, in order to institute policies that recognize and repatriate Black and Indigenous peoples for the disproportionate harm that they endure in the current unjust system,” said Oscar Chacón, executive director of Alianza Americas.
“Thank you Rep. Torres for this effort to recognize April as National Garífuna Heritage Month, honoring our heritage in this country. I invite allies across the countries to join us in this celebration of Black-Indigenous resistance and culture,” said Dr. Ovelio López, an advocate for Garífuna rights at Webu Health Care Services.
Alianza Americas is the only transnational organization rooted in Latino immigrant communities in the United States focused on improving the quality of life of all people in the U.S.-Mexico-Central America migration corridor. As a network of Latino and Caribbean immigrants, Alianza Americas is working for change in the U.S. while also promoting a more stable, healthy, democratic and safer conditions in the countries of origin of their members.