Celebrating the African Diaspora
The African Diaspora includes countries and communities around the world with descendants from native Africa. For most, the movement and disbursement was involuntary as they were stolen from their land as enslaved people. Many countries and communities have been deeply influenced, and often built upon African culture and traditions, due to this involuntary movement. We celebrate the diaspora and FleishmanHillard employees sharing their perspectives as members of it.
By Gaetane Gomes
This YouTube video speaks volumes to me. I can relate to this as I am a first-generation American, of multi-cultural heritage. I was born in New York and my family is from the Dominican Republic. I didn’t understand until I was much older why I was frequently asked to “explain” my background…and why if I grew up in the United States, how did I come to learn Spanish? Documentaries such as these (and I encourage you to watch) have helped me share with others the robust culture I am proud to be a descendant of. If something shorter is more your vibe, 1:03 – 2:05 will say it all for me.
Adolescence is not easy for most of us, yet today in 2022 we have so much opportunity to learn from and grow with each other. Someone’s name, complexion, accent nor first language tells the full and complete story of how dynamic and unique we each individually are.
I’ve been fortunate to have been able to spend significant time in Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Brazil. I love to dance and am always in the mood for some Cuban salsa. And if you could use a dance break, I’ll leave you with this song – Los 4 con Alexander Abreu – “Yo Represento.”
Here are some of the song’s lyrics translated to English:
Wherever you are
Let our voices reach you
Our messages, our hands be proud of who you are
Isle of Spice
By Cheyenne Cameron-Pruitt
Grenada, 21 miles long, 12 miles wide, nestled in the West Indies, the southernmost of the Lesser Antilles, often confused for a city in Spain, known for its spices, beautiful landscapes and unique underwater sculptures. I know it as my home away from home, a place that has instilled in me so much of who I am, even halfway around the world. There is a richness to the culture, where a strong sense of pride and a love from the people can be felt like none other I’ve known.
I found my love for storytelling through listening to the oral history shared by my great-grandma, who is now 105 – stories of pride for a nation, fear of fallout from political discourse, accounts of the strength shown by Grenadians throughout the country’s development and our ancestors’ resistance and revolution in the face of colonization and enslavement.
I found the courage to question the things that weren’t right as I learned about how my grandparents fought for Grenadian independence through protest and civil disobedience, and allowed their children to march with them 48 years ago. My grandpa was the first to teach me that sometimes what we read in the history books isn’t true, and that revisionist history not only exists but can be extremely dangerous.
I am blessed to have a place where I can feel my roots, and to feel at home outside of what I know. I’ve felt the energy, love and pride for my little island, but know that isn’t the experience of all. As I’ve explored what it means to be a Black American while also identifying as Grenadian, I’ve realized that having this cultural influence is not something to take lightly. The bittersweetness of being a part of the diaspora is that while many of us have the great privilege of honoring the culture, heritage and ancestors that we know, we must remember to not take it for granted as the same privilege was stolen from millions of others and their generations to come.
Bon Jay Peni Mueh!