What is the purpose of the Afrolatin@ Project?
Facilitating awareness about and promoting the digital curation of the Afrolatin@/Afrodescendant experience.
To use technological tools to promote awareness and research, ensure the preservation of the histories and cultures and build support for the struggles of Afrodescendant people in the Americas and the Caribbean.
The mission of the Afrolatin@ Project is to serve as a digital resource center and archive for the historical and material documentation and preservation of the cultures, histories and experiences of Afrodescendant people in the Americas and the Caribbean and to facilitate collaborations and programs that advance Afrolatin@ Studies and grass root activities.
- Develop digital tools that strengthen research and support ongoing documentation and archiving of the AfroLatin@ histories and experiences in the Americas and the Caribbean.
- Facilitate, develop and collaborate with research projects that ensure the ongoing cultural preservation of the AfroLatin@ histories and experiences in the Americas and the Caribbean in digital mediums.
- Use digital tools to increase regional and global awareness of the experiences, histories and struggles of Afrodescendant people in the Americas and the Caribbean.
The Afro-Latin@ Project was originally founded by Dr. George Priestley at CUNY-Queens College through an initial grant from the Ford Foundation’s Higher Education and Scholarship portfolio in 2005. Some of the projected outcomes of of this grant included: promotion and dissemination of original research on the Afrolatin@ experience, the design of curricula and other educational materials, promotion of dialogues between and among Latin@s and African Americans, and the collection and preservation of materials that document the AfroLatin@ experience globally. In keeping with its goal of establishing a bridge between the African American and Afro-Latino/Latino communities, the Project co-organized two major events: The Immigrant and Immigration Debate: Perspectives from Queens Multicultural Community,” which took place on November, 2006 at the Rosenthal Library at Queens College; it was co-organized with the Asian/American Center and Africana Studies Program, both at
Queens College, CUNY. The second event, a national conference held in December 2006 in collaboration with the Institute for Globalization and Education in Metropolitan Settings (IGEMS) at New York University, and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, and was entitled, “Race and Immigration: Challenges and Opportunities for the New American Majority”. The conference was held at Teatro Heckscher of El Museo del Barrio in Harlem, New York.
In 2007, the Afro-Latin@ Project was awarded a second Ford Foundation grant through their HIV-AIDS Initiative. In 2008, the Project launched the “Conversemos HIV/AIDS Prevention Initiative” in order to develop a transnational adaptive model to analyze the HIV/AIDS epidemic among select AfroLatin@ populations from three home countries (Honduras, Panama and the Dominican Republic) in the circum-Caribbean region and a number of communities in the United States to which these population groups tend to migrate. A final report of the 2008 findings was completed and abstract will be made available. The Project also developed a Facilitator Training Manual and a Curriculum Guide for HIV/AIDS education among Afrodescendant populations in the US, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Following Dr. Priestley’s death in 2009, the Afro-Latin@ Project was relaunched in 2012 as an entity independent of Queens College. Its focus has been using web-based and mobile technology to advance the work of ALP. Towards that end, in early 2012, ALP completed a pilot study to explore how mobile telephony can be used to facilitate development of digital citizenship for Afrodescendants and Afrodescendant social movements. Approximately 40 individuals between 14 and 85 years of age were surveyed about their experiences as Afrodescendants or their experiences as non-Afrodescendants working within these communities. Since Afrodescendant histories have often been excluded from official histories, ALP examined the possibilities of using Web 2.0 tools to teach these histories. The project examined mobile phone habits and queried participants about their perceptions of using mobile phones/Web 2.0 as viable tools to further the development of the Afrodescendant social movement. The results of the study will be published on the website in the coming months.