Movement for Justice & Equality – Global Issues
SAN JOSÃ ‰, Costa Rica, January 11 (IPS) – Jan André is a cheerful and outgoing young man, a wonderful dancer and an aspiring teacher. Indeed, he wants to be the best teacher in Costa Rica. Strengthened by his own will and the encouragement of his family, he overcame violence and adversity to become an outstanding college student.
However, despite his achievements, some people crossed the street when they saw him approaching. They hid their belongings when he approached them on the bus. The guards and single staff he went out to supervise as he entered a supermarket. The police searched him and seized his belongings even when he was in a crowd in a public space.
Deeply influenced by these experiences, Jan André is now fighting for the rights of people of African descent in Costa Rica.
Inspired by Jan’s work, my colleagues and I decided that the UN had an important role to play in collecting and sharing the stories of Afro-Costa Rican lives. The resulting stories were collected under an initiative called “I’m Afro Descendant in Costa Rica and this is my story.”
Published online and in book form, these stories are also designed to celebrate the first International Day of People of African descent and the second anniversary of Costa Rica’s independence.
With this initiative, we wanted to stop talking about the descendants of the Afro people in the summary and instead introduce our readers to the many women and men, young and old, rural and urban. town. They are all unique individuals that helped make Costa Rica what it is today.
What have we learned from these stories?
On the one hand, we were able to reveal the incredible diversity of Costa Rica’s Afro-descendant community, the life stories, struggles and dreams in each person’s profile. On the other hand, however, we identified a shared experience of discrimination and injustice, a shared feeling of not being ‘seen’ in their country, and the collective strength generated by the family and community.
Not for Afro descendants to “get over” the discrimination and exclusion they were subjected to. We all depend on the eradication of racism and the lasting legacy of slavery.
That is why, in December 2020, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution that 31 August would then be the International Day of People of African descent. The resolution was initiated by the Government of Costa Rica, led by Vice President Epsy Campbell and has attracted the support of 52 member states.
With UNFPA as the leading organization, we in Costa Rica marked the first anniversary of this international day last year.
“The legacy of slavery echoes through the centuries,” United Nations Under-Secretary-General Amina Mohammed reminded us as part of this celebration. “The world has not yet overcome racism. Equality and justice for all still elude us. Millions of people of African descent continue to be subjected to systemic discrimination, perpetuating inequality, oppression and marginalization.”
When we ensure equal opportunities for all to reach their potential and realize their rights, we are creating a more equitable and prosperous society for all of us.
International Day of African People is an opportunity to promote the diverse heritage and extraordinary contributions of the African Community. It is also a call to action, a call for all of us to commit every day of the year to building an ever greater culture of freedom, inclusion, equality and opportunity.
The source: United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
Allegra Maria del Pilar Baiocchi is the United Nations Coordinator for Costa Rica. Editorial support was provided by Carolina Lorenzo, Office of Development Coordination, and Paul Van DeCarr, Office of Development Coordination. To learn more about UN work in Costa Rica, please visit CostaRica.UN.org.
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