UHD Center for Latino Studies Celebrates Afro-Latino Day

On Monday, February 26, the Center for Latino Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown celebrated Afro-Latino Day for Black History Month. The CLS organized this event to invite UHD students to explore, learn, and celebrate Afro-Latino culture.

“UHD students and staff represent immigrant communities from Latin America’s Afro-Latino enclaves, and it is important that we create awareness, as well as opportunities, to explore issues of identity and belonging within those communities,” said Albert DeJesus, Interim Director of CLS at UHD.

Immediately upon entering the event room, guests could enjoy Latino snacks, such as plantain chips and Mexican cookies, along with refreshments. There were also raffle tickets provided with opportunities to win CLS swag and copies of books by Afro-Caribbean poet and scholar Jennifer Maritza McCauley and Afro-Mexican poet Natasha Carrizosa.

The event started with Ms. McCauley reading from her debut book, When Trying to Return Home. It is a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice about Afro-Latino experiences in various parts of The United States, such as Puerto Rico, Pittsburg, Louisiana, Miami, and more. Each character in her book grapples with their identity and belonging as Afro-Latinos.

Ms. Carrizosa performed various of her spoken word poetry works, such as 3600 Block of Willing. This poem was about the memories of her watching her Black mother cooking Mexican food in her childhood home. She also did a reading from her poetry book, Crown.

Albert DeJesus, Interim Director of the Center for Latino Studies leads a Q&A session with Jennifer Maritza McCauley and Natasha Carrizosa at UHD.

“The strong maternal bond both poets felt meant that each poet’s journey into a sense of self included accepting that hybrid culture between two worlds, where Spanish is often heard, but not always understood, where flavors and accents mix to create something unique and very personal,” said DeJesus.

At the end of the event, the audience participated in an interactive bachata dance lesson taught by Latin Dance Factory, and raffle prizes were given out. This event is part of the Center’s ongoing series of exploring Afro-Latinidad. For more information, visit the center’s website and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.


  • Sonia Sanchez

    Sonia Sanchez is a Latina with Mexican roots and a graduate student at University of Houston-Downtown earning a Master of Science in technical communication with certificates in plain language and medical & applied health communication. She is an experienced professional writer that runs a digital marketing and communications business called Simply Write. She enjoys taking Hip-Hop and Street Jazz dance classes around Houston for fun. A lover of fashion & beauty, you can find her creating different outfits, makeup looks, and hairdos. To relax, she will cozy up with her puppy at home while watching romcom movies and eating yummy snacks. She is passionate about the advancement of women, especially Latinas.

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