Afro-Latinos on the Move: Migration, Civil Rights and Politics
This year’s Schomburg Symposium examines the migratory challenges of Afro-Latinos in the Americas and how societal differences and geographic locations affect politics and civil rights. Regardless of location, there are common experiences and distinctions in the adaptations and responses that Afro-Latinos have made to economic, racial and social pressures. This symposium takes into account the advancement, or lack there of, that has happened over time
The Annual Arturo A. Schomburg Symposium explores different aspects of the complex relationship of the African diaspora to Latin American culture. With presentations by distinguished scholars, this event offers the opportunity to deepen knowledge and understanding, foster dialogue, and educate audiences and speakers alike.
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Events Speakers, Presentations and Schedule:
Saturday, February 28, 2015
9:30-9:50 am “Continental Breakfast”/Café y bizcochitos
Speakers and presentations:
9:50-10:00 a.m. Welcome & Introductions
10:00-10:45 am “Rituals, Violence & Black Bodies” Dr. Herman L. Bennett is professor in the Ph.D Program in History at the City University of New York (CUNY). He received a Ph. D. in Latin American History, Duke University, 1993. His academic fields include: Latin American History (emphasis on the colonial period), African Diaspora (emphasis on colonial ethnicity), among others. He is author of Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009).
10:45-11:30 am “Orishas on Trial: Afro-Caribbean Religions and the American Legal System” Dr. Terry Rey, received a Ph.D. in Religion, (with “Distinction”), Temple University, 1996. His areas of specialization include: African and African Diasporic Religions; Democratic Republic of Congo; Republic of Haiti; and Anthropology and Sociology of Religion, among others. She co-authored with Alex Stepick Crossing the Water and Keeping the Faith: Haitian Religion in Miami, New York University Press, 2013.
11:30-12:15 am “In Times of Solidarity and Tragedy: Haitians Across the Americas” Dr. Jeanette Charles, Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela (November 2013-present), Caracas, Venezuela, Doctoral Program in Strategic Development. She received a Bachelor of Art degree (cum laude), Scripps College, Claremont, Ca, 2010. Areas of interest include: African diaspora, indigenous and labor history, popular forms of expression in, and political thought of the Americas
12:15 am-12:45 pm Plenary (Theater) Q & A
12:45-2:00 pm Lunch (Provided by La Finca Café Caterers, Dance Room, 2nd floor)
Lunchtime Roundtable “Afro-Latinos on the Move: Implications for Social Workers”
Moderated by *Rosemary Barbera and Veronica Medina*****
Rosemary A. Barbera Ph.D., MSS, is Associate Professor and Field Coordinator in the department of Social Work at La Salle University. She has been working in human rights since the 1980’s in the U.S. and Latin America working on human rights, surviving torture, community rebuilding after human rights violations, participatory action research, and Social Work in Latin America.
Veronica Medina, MSW, ACSW, LSW, CCM, is Regional Director of the Rapid Response and Outreach Team, (RROT) for AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies, (AMFC) overseeing Clinical Services Contact Centers for Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
2:00 – 2:45 pm “Are We Between or Within Black and White? Racial Inequality and the Myths of Inclusion in Puerto Rico ” Dr. Zaire Dinzey Flores is Associate Professor of Sociology and Latino & Hispanic Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and a Research Scholar at Penn Institute of Urban Research, Philadelphia. Her research focuses on understanding how the urban built environment mediates community life and social inequality. Her book, Locked In, Locked Out: Gated Communities in a Puerto Rican City (University Of Pennsylvania Press: 2013), was the winner of the 2014 Robert E. Park for best book in urban and community sociology.
2:45 – 3:00 pm Q & A
3:00 – 4:45 pm PANEL “Afro-Latinos on the Move in the United States.”
Moderator: Dr. Samuel Cruz received his Ph. D. in Religion and Society, Drew University, Madison, NJ, 2002. He is Assistant Professor of Religion and Society, Union Theological Seminary, NYC 2008-present. He has participated extensively in symposia, workshops and lectures on themes of religion and race, culture, human rights, immigration, and cultural and ethnic diversity, among others.
- Fernando Treviño
- Angelo Falcón
- Marla Soffer
- Erika Almiron
- Hiram Rivera Marcano
4:45 – Remarks and Closing
About the Speakers/Presenters
Dr. Herman L. Bennett is professor in the Ph.D Program in History, the Graduate Center, at the City University of New York (CUNY) since 2009. He received a masters and Ph. D. degrees in Latin American History, both from Duke University, 1988 and 1993. his Bachelor’s degree in History and Afro-American Studies is from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1986. He is the author of Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009); and Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity, and Afro-Creole Consciousness,1570-1640 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003; paperback edition 2005). Among his many articles is “Writing into a Void: Slavery, History and Representing Blackness in Latin America” which appeared in Social Text (Winter 2007). Among his fellowships and honors are: the 2013 American Historical Association Equity Award, a 2012 CUNY Graduate Center, Advanced Research Collaborative Grant for “Humanities & Difference” and a 2007 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. He has lectured extensively in topics such as Latin American History with emphasis on the colonial period, the African Diaspora with emphasis on colonial ethnicity, Afro-Mexican History, and slavery, among others.
“Rituals, Violence & Black Bodies” What would it mean to conceive of violence as having a history? As historically-minded thinkers we might assume that change over time and space represents a common sense in the study of black life. I want to suggest that this isn’t necessarily the case regarding the long duree that frames the African and black pasts, free or slave, early modern and post-colonial or for that matter in the present. Indeed when we imagine either African or black, an embodied violence always already informs our thinking that rarely is subject to analytical scrutiny, a history, or temporality. In view of Michael Brown’s death and the mantra ‘black life matters,’ the urgency to think historically acquires an urgency that might call forth greater clarity on the history of violence and the contemporary story of power shaping the history and present of black life.
Dr. Terry Rey completed undergraduate studies in Philosophy and Linguistics from the University of Wollongong, Australia, and a BA in Philosophy and Religion (with “Distinction”). He obtained a Master’s degree, 1992, and a Ph. D., 1996 in Religion, both from Temple University. He has done Graduate Studies in Catholic Theology and Ecumenical Studies; Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 1991 and in Rural Development and African Languages and Cultures; Institut Supérieur Pédagogique de Bukavu, Université Nationale du Zaïre, 1986. His areas of specialization include: African and African Diasporic Religions; Democratic Republic of Congo; Republic of Haiti; Anthropology and Sociology of Religion; Bourdieu; Modern Catholicism; and Immigrant Religion. 7/12-7-13: He was the Director of the Intellectual Heritage Program, at Temple University from July 2012 to July 2013 and from 2008 to 2012 had been the Chair of the Department of Religion, at Temple. In addition to Temple, he has taught at the Florida International University, at State University of Haiti in Port-au-Prince, and at the National University of Zaire. Among many publications and articles he co-authored with Alex Stepick Crossing the Water and Keeping the Faith: Haitian Religion in Miami, York University Press, 2013, and Our Lady of Class Struggle: The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Haiti. Trenton, NJ and Asmara, Eritrea: Africa World Press, 1999.
“In Times of Solidarity and Tragedy: Haitians Across the Americas”
Jeanette Charles is presently in the Doctoral Program in Strategic Development, with Mention in Multipolarity and the Integration of Our America in Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela (November 2013-present), Caracas, Venezuela. Her research project involves: Designing Popular Spaces for Organizing and Political Formation to Promote Solidarity between Venezuela and Haiti. Her undergraduate degree is from Scipps College, Claremont, Ca, 2010. Some of her research projects include, Efímero Callejero: Afro Danza in Caracas with the Cátedra Libre África of the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela, November 2012-January 2013 and Afro-American Voices through a History of People’s Literature, Thomas J. Watson Foundation, Fellowship, August 2010-August 2011. She has lectured and offered workshops in California, Dominican Republic and Venezuela and is the recipient of awards and recognitions including a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, in 2010, and a Samella Lewis Scholarship for Women of African descent, in 2009
“Orishas on Trial: Afro-Caribbean Religions and the American Legal System” The presentation will discuss the history of the Haitian diaspora across Latin America and the Caribbean focusing mostly on Haitian experiences in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Recent manifestations of Haitian migration are a contemporary exodus part of the historical trajectory of the larger African diaspora. The conditions facing Haitians in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela are not without their contradictions and challenges ranging from laws rendering thousands of Haitians stateless to human trafficking of Haitian laborers. This presentation explores the ways Latin American nations look to continue their solidarity and cooperation with Haiti.
Dr. Zaire Z. Dinzey-Flores is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Latino & Hispanic Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and a Research Scholar at Penn Institute of Urban Research, Philadelphia. Her research focuses on understanding how the urban built environment mediates community life and social inequality. Her book, Locked In, Locked Out: Gated Communities in a Puerto Rican City (University Of Pennsylvania Press: 2013), was the winner of the 2014 Robert E. Park for best book in urban and community sociology. Her new project examines race and class as enacted in the production of urban residential spaces. She has a bachelor’s degree is Sociology from Harvard University, 1995, a Masters in Sociology from Stanford University, 1997, a Masters in Urban Planning from University of Michigan, 2003 and a Ph. D in Public Policy and Sociology also from the University of Michigan, 2005. She is the author of many articles, reviews and reports that include: “Where Rights Begin and End: Community and Democracy behind Puerto Rico’s Gated Communities” Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 33 (2012). “Latinos as Protagonists in American Urban History and Planning Practice.” Journal of Urban History, 34(4) (2008). She has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
“Are We Between or Within Black and White? Racial Inequality and the Myths of Inclusion in Puerto Rico”
Dr. Dinzey-Flores consults socio-economic evidence to understand how race and racial inequality operate in Puerto Rico. Like much of Latin America and Latinos, Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans are often depicted as having a more democratic view of race when compared to the United States. This view places Latinos between Black and White and promotes a myth of racial equality among our communities. The presentation considers how race is elaborated in the everyday not through the continuum of Black to White, but in polar binary oppositions of Black and White that concretize social and economic inequality.
Lunchtime Roundtable “Afro-Latinos on the Move: Implications for Social Workers”
Moderated by Rosemary Barbera and Veronica Medina
Rosemary A. Barbera Ph.D., MSS, is Associate Professor and Field Coordinator in the Department of Social Work at La Salle University. She has been working in human rights since the 1980’s in the U.S. and Latin America. Her areas of practice include human rights, surviving torture, community rebuilding after human rights violations, participatory action research, and Social Work in Latin America. Current research examines the role memory plays in post-dictatorship society, community resilience after disaster and building human rights social movements. She has also worked with Juntos/Casa de los Soles, the Agrupación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos, and the Junta de Vecinos Concierto y Cultura. For the past 20+ years she has brought students to the población La Pincoya in Santiago, Chile where they learn about past and present human rights issues and learn from human rights activists.
Veronica Medina, MSW, ACSW, LSW, CCM is the Regional Director, Rapid Response and Outreach Team, (RROT) overseeing AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies, (AMFC) Clinical Services Contact Centers for Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. She has been with AMFC since 2003. Her teams provide care coordination for Medicaid and Medicare populations, reducing barriers to health care promoting preventive health care and use of Medical Home Model. She received a Bachelors in Theology, from the Philadelphia College of Bible, a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and has completed post graduate studies at the Wharton School. She is licensed as a Social Worker in Pennsylvania and is a Certified Case Manager. Her professional background includes consulting with public and private ventures, higher education with emphasis on health equity / diversity.
Panel Presentation “Afro-Latinos on the Move in the United States.”
Moderator: Dr. Samuel Cruz, received his Bachelor of Arts in Religion in 1987 from New Rochelle College, New Rochelle, NY; his Masters of Arts in Theology from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, NJ; and his Doctor in Philosophy degree in Religion and Society from Drew University, Madison, NJ, in 2002. Dr. Cruz is Assistant Professor of Religion and Society at Union Theological Seminary, NYC 2008-present. He has been a lecturer in Rutgers, The State University, New Brunswick, NJ in the Graduate School of Social Work from 1999-2003 as well as in the Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies Department from 2003-2007. From 1995 to 2005 he worked as Adjunct Assistant Professor for Drew University, Madison NJ, in the Doctor of Ministry Program. Dr. Cruz is an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament (December 14, 1994), and an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Church in America. He is the author of Christianity and Culture in the City: A Post-Colonial Approach, 2013, Lexington Books; and of Masked Africanisms: Puerto Rican Pentecostalism, 2005, Kendall Hunt Publishing. In addition to writing multiple articles and essays, he has participated extensively in symposia, workshops and lectures on themes of religion and race, culture, human rights, immigration, African Spirituality in the Caribbean, and cultural and ethnic diversity, among others.
Marla Soffer is Of Counsel at Galfand Berger, LLP. Marla graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Urban Studies and Spanish. She received her J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law and has been practicing for over 30 years. Marla concentrates her practice in the areas of workers’ rights, safety, compensation and general personal injury and disability law. Fluent in Spanish, Marla is a frequent lecturer in community programs that focus on the rights and safety of workers, product liability claims and general personal injury matters. She serves as a consulting attorney to the Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia, and is on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, as well as of the Mexican Cultural Center. In furtherance of her commitment to community service and advocacy on behalf of immigrant communities, Marla is also a founding member of Puentes Latino Collaborative of Montgomery County, and is a member of the Coalition for Latin-American Migrants and Immigrants.
Fernando Treviño is the Deputy Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs in Philadelphia an office created to ensure the wellbeing of immigrants and other multicultural groups by providing access to services, engaging stakeholders, and promoting civic participation and advocacy. Prior to this, Fernando worked for President Obama’s reelection campaign as Pennsylvania State Director of Operation Vote. Fernando worked for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and its affiliate Democracia, and worked for Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as staff attorney for the consulates in Eagle Pass, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. Among other recognitions, Fernando has been named one of the most influential Latinos in Pennsylvania, received from the Philadelphia Bar Association the “International Law Award” for outstanding achievement by a graduate student, and is currently recognized as National Political Partner by the Truman National Security Project.
*Angelo Falcón is a political scientist best known for starting the Institute for Puerto Rican Policy in New York City in the early 1980s, a nonprofit and nonpartisan policy center that focuses on Latino issues in the United States. It is now known as the National Institute for Latino Policy and Falcón serves as its current President. He was also recently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Columbia University School of Public and International Affairs. He obtained a Master’s of Science degree in political science, State University of New York, 1980. He is recipient of a 1983 Nelson A. Rockefeller Distinguished Alumni Award from the SUNY-Albany. *Because of unforeseen complications, Mr. Angelo Falcón won’t be able to attend the panel discussion.
Erika Almiron is the Executive Director of Juntos, a Latino immigrant community led human rights organization based in Philadelphia dedicated to fighting for the rights of our community on issues like education, immigration, and worker’s rights. She has been working on social justice issues for almost two decades including immigration, education reform, youth organizing, women’s health, gentrification and poverty. Born in South Philadelphia to immigrant parents from Paraguay she spent most of her youth in Philadelphia or New York and after college she went on help start the Media Mobilizing Project while working at the American Friends Service Committee with the Mexico/US border program. In 2013 she was named one of the Most Influential Latino Leaders in the Delaware Valley and under her leadership Juntos has received numerous awards including the Hispanic Choice Community Impact Award for 2013 and Organization of the Year by Norristown Men of Excellence. She is also freelance photographer and her pictures have been published and exhibited over the last several years in Philadelphia and beyond. She has documented prison conditions in South America, mountain top removal in West Virginia, homelessness in Harlem, and most recently she received a Leeway Foundation award to document agricultural reform and land distribution in Brazil and Paraguay.
Hiram Rivera Marcano is a native of New Haven, CT. He’s worked in the field of Youth Organizing for almost 10 years in both Connecticut and New York City, where he was a staff member at Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform. While at Annenberg, Hiram coordinated the Urban Youth Collaborative, a collaborative of 5 youth organizing organizations working on education reform across New York City. His current position is as Executive Director of the Philadelphia Student Union. Hiram is a member of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party- NY Chapter and a member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.
As an additional component to this year’s Schomburg Symposium we will be presenting an excerpt of the Gloria Rolando’s documentary on the Haitian migration to Cuba, “Reembarque”, with an introduction by Reynaldo Fernández Pavón.
****Act 48 CEU credits, etc…….
***** Continuing Education Credits for Licensed Social Workers (LSW) are provided through the Department of Social Work At La Salle University.
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