#BlackLatinxHistory Highlights Afro-Latinos Who Changed History



Excerpt: Remezcla

by Yara Simón

On February 1, when Afro-Cuban/Dominican singer and writer Juliana Pache checked out what was new online, she was disappointed she didn’t see any Latino content sites posting about Black History Month. “Now, it was February 1, and it was the morning, so, granted they may have just not posted yet,” she told Ain’t I Latina. “But I noticed on one of the accounts, they somehow managed to post a picture and article about a non-Latinx white woman that morning. I was low-key infuriated. Not because there was a white woman getting representation, but because we got none.”

Juliana Pache. Founder of #BlackLatinxHistory. Image courtesy of @cityofjules

Juliana Pache. Founder of #BlackLatinxHistory. Image courtesy of @cityofjules

Though she did try giving U.S. publications the benefit of the doubt, the general lack of coverage Afro-Latinos get in the media inspired her to start #BlackLatinxHistory – a hashtag to celebrate Latinos who are also part of the African diaspora. (The term Latinx, pronounced “La-teen-ex,” is an effort to create a gender neutral term for communities of Latin American descent.)

“We’re so often left out of the conversation,” Pache said. “Black Latinx is so rich, and it’s right here in the U.S.”

Once she started posting things on her social media accounts, other people soon joined in. Here are 10 Afro-Latinos who changed history, according to #BlackLatinxHistory:

1 – María Elena Moyano



Moyano became an activist as a teenager. By age 25, she was the president of the Federación Popular de Mujeres de Villa El Salvador, and she started programs to help low-income communities gain access to food and education.

Read more about her life in a pdf version of Diana Miloslavich Tupac’s biography on Moyano here.

2 – Modesto Cepeda



Modesto Cepeda was born in Puerto Rico in 1938, and though the island’s rich percussion tradition of bomba y plena were part of his childhood, he realized that not everyone grew up connected to this Afro-Puerto Rican heritage. So he started the School of Bomba and Plena for children from low-income families, to keep this folkloric music alive and well.

3 – Jose Francisco Peña Gomez



Jose Francisco Peña Gomez – who was born to a Dominican mom and a Haitian dad – was a skilled orator. He served as mayor of Santo Domingo in the 80s, and he also ran for president multiple times.

4 – Carlos Moore



As a pan African historian, Carlos Moore – a Cuban of Jamaican descent – would approve of Pache’s hashtag.

5 – Zulia Mena



Zulia María Mena García was born in 1965 in Quibdó, Choco. Even though she didn’t have political experience or the money to run a campaign, Mena became the first Afro-Colombian congresswoman.