CantoMundo grieves and mourns the tragic slayings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and David McAtee, and countless other Black lives that have been lost through acts of violence stemming from a deeply imbedded history of colonization, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and racism within the United States. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and those who demand justice and those who in these moments, and always, organize and act to dismantle the systemic oppression and the machinations that disproportionately affect the lives and livelihoods of Black communities. We stand in unity with Black Lives Matter against all forms of racism and racial injustice, inequity and inequality, and the continued violence perpetrated by police and police states.
As a collective of Latinx poets from across the nation, made up of various diasporas and experiences, we honor and acknowledge the struggles of our Black/Afro-Latinx ancestors who broke down barriers in publishing & opened the literary landscape to more voices from marginalized communities. Additionally, Black/Afro-Latinx writers have led the way and made space for Latinx perspectives and politics by beginning literary and political movements that are steeped in the pursuit of justice, peace, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To continue in those footsteps, and to do so honestly and genuinely, CantoMundo recognizes the need to educate, empower, and engage ourselves and our respective communities in consciously addressing and dismantling anti-Blackness within our Latinx communities.
CantoMundo as an organization has made many mistakes. We have failed to be diverse and representative in the 10-year history of the organizing committee and other tiers of leadership. This also includes all of our programming. CantoMundo has not been adequately inclusive of the entirety of the Latinx diaspora. Black/Afro-Latinx fellows and other fellows have brought to the forefront the problem of CantoMundo’s exclusion of Black voices.
These mistakes have caused harm and continue to cause harm amongst Black/Afro-Latinx poets.
For these harmful actions aceptamos la culpa.
The best apology is changed behavior. We are reckoning with our long history of anti-Blackness and taking serious transformative steps to redress that history and work in service of reshaping our organization to honor and celebrate the lives and work of Black/Afro-Latinx poets.
With the utmost respect and commitment to ending racial injustice, externally and internally, CantoMundo vows to do the following:
Donate to #BlackLivesMatter, mutual aid, and bail out funds.
Change its Organizing Committee and prioritize Afro-Latinx leadership and ensure Afro-Latinx poets are proportionately reflected in tiers of leadership which has begun.
Connect with current Afro-Latinx fellows and listen to their concerns, demands, and grievances in order to address their needs.
Ensure there is proportionate representation of Afro-Latinx members in the application review process.
Create a fund for Afro-Latinx fellows to attend the retreat.
Partner with literary journals, nonprofits, and universities across the country to amplify Black voices and co-create Afro-Latinx programming.
Launch a social media Afro-Latinx Spotlight series in the form of digital content, highlighting Afro-Latinx writers through interviews, readings, conversations, video poems, and more.
Regularly undergo development to examine anti-blackness and racism, anti-racist professional development.