Justice and Equity Movement – A Global Issue

The cover of the
Caption: The cover of the online publication “I’m Afro-Costa Rica, This Is My Story”.Credit: United Nations Costa Rica
  • View by Allegra Maria del Pilar Baiocchi (San Jose, Costa Rica)
  • International News Service

However, despite his achievements, some people cross the street when they see him coming. They hid their belongings when he approached them on the bus. When he entered the supermarket, guards and staff singled him out for surveillance. Even if he was in a crowd in a public place, the police searched him and confiscated his belongings.

Influenced by these experiences, Jan Andre 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 United Nations had a vital role to play in collecting and sharing the life stories of Afro-Costa Ricans. The resulting stories were collected under an initiative called “I’m African American in Costa Rica, This Is My Story”.

The stories, published online in book form, also aim to celebrate the first International Day of People of African Descent and the Bicentennial of Costa Rica’s Independence.

With this initiative, we want to stop talking abstractly about people of African descent and instead introduce our readers to a variety of men and women, young and old, rural and urban. All of them have helped make Costa Rica the unique individual it is today.

What have we learned from these stories?

On the one hand, we were able to reveal the incredible diversity of the African-American community in Costa Rica, and the real life stories, struggles and dreams of each of us. On the other hand, however, we find a shared experience of discrimination and injustice, a common sense of not being “seen” in one’s own country, and a collective strength from families and communities.

People of African descent cannot “overcome” the discrimination and exclusion they experience. It is up to us all to eradicate the lasting legacy of racism and slavery.

As a result, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in December 2020 to designate 31 August as the International Day of People of African Descent. The resolution was initiated by the Costa Rican government, led by its Vice-President Epsy Campbell, and supported by 52 member states.

Under the leadership of the United Nations Population Fund, we in Costa Rica commemorated this International Day for the first time last year.

“The legacy of slavery has reverberated for centuries,” UN Under-Secretary-General Amina Mohammed reminded us at the commemoration. “The world has not overcome racism. Equality and justice for all remain a long way off. Millions of people of African descent continue to suffer from systemic discrimination that perpetuates inequality, oppression and marginalization.”

As we ensure that all populations have equal opportunities to realize their potential and realize their rights, we are creating a fairer and more prosperous society for all of us.

The International Day of People of African Descent is an opportunity to promote the diverse heritage and extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora. It is also a call to action for all of us to commit to building a more free, inclusive, equitable and opportunity culture every day of the year.

source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Allegra María del Pilar Baiocchi Is the United Nations Coordinator for Costa Rica. Editorial support was provided by Carolina Lorenzo, Development Coordination Office, and Paul Van DeCarr, Development Coordination Office.To learn more about the work of the United Nations in Costa Rica, visit Costa Rica.UN.org.

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© Inter Press Service (2022) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service