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Black and Indigenous Liberation Day

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On Black and Indigenous Liberation Day, over 70 organizations from across the Americas are issuing a statement of resistance against racism, discrimination and colonialism

Indigenous and Afro-descendant organizations demand an end to development projects that accelerate climate change and devastate territories and their peoples.

Los Angeles California, October 12. More than 70 organizations from all over the Americas presented a blunt statement in which they call on governments, States, international organizations and cooperation agencies to take immediate action to stop the racism, discrimination and colonialism that these groups are currently experiencing. They also demand an end to development projects that accelerate climate change and devastate their territories and peoples.

These organisations are part of the Black and Indigenous Liberation Movement (BILM), a coalition of collectives, peoples, grassroots organizations and social movements from across the Americas that was born in 2020 with the aim of supporting the struggles against racism, discrimination, violence, colonialism and the ravages of racial capitalism

We are at a moment in humanity when we must be united to face major challenges such as climate change and the devastation of nature. But this cannot happen if we do not first confront problems such as racism or discrimination. This is why we are united in BILM, because there can be no climate justice without racial justice,” explained Leonardo Cerda, a young indigenous Kichwa from Ecuador and founder of BILM.

For her part, Majo Andrade, member of the Yuturi Warmi Indigenous Guard, said: “The union of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples in this Liberation Movement is an unprecedented event. We are consolidating this collective struggle with more strength. By uniting we generate more capacities and visibility of this process of demand.

Today, October 12, the organizations that make up the BILM will carry out a series of actions of resistance and visibility in countries such as the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Suriname and Spain. These actions seek to draw international attention and raise awareness about discrimination, racism and colonialism.

The document presented has several considerations regarding the situation of Indigenous and Afro-descendant Peoples, as well as a series of demands to International Organizations and Governments, among them:

  1. Compensation and reparation measures at the national, regional and international levels to redress injustices that have been perpetrated against our peoples to date.

  2. Respect for the territories, forests, rivers, biodiversity and minerals inside and outside the indigenous and Afro-descendant territories, because they are not resources to be exploited; on the contrary, they are fundamental for our life and for life on the planet.

  3. That the States and companies respect and guarantee the right to our territories, to self-determination and to the management of all the resources contained in our lands, because we are tired of seeing how the colonial-extractivist model devastates nature and our communities.

  4. Stop the criminalization of our brothers and sisters who have been assassinated and attacked for defending our territories, our forests, our culture and our lives.

  5. Combat the inequality and injustice that we, indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples, live with, which in our daily lives translates into greater difficulties in accessing decent employment, education and health services, among others.

  6. Eliminate from public spaces symbols and monuments representing colonialism, genocide, and white supremacy.

  7. Protect, conserve and sustainably manage at least 80% of the Amazon and other areas of vital importance to the planet by 2025, in collaboration with indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples, recognizing our leadership.

As for international organizations and cooperation agencies, the declaration demands the following:

  1. Design programs and actions hand in hand with indigenous and Afro-descendant actors to eradicate and fight against racial discrimination.

  2. Allocate resources and direct funds to support collective processes of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.

  3. Implement programs and actions to overcome gender inequality and social discrimination.

  4. Develop international cooperation programs and actions based on the strengthening of human rights and the identity of our peoples.

We demand the recognition of the damages caused to our peoples and territories and we demand reparation actions. At the same time, we ask for the overcoming of the colonial thinking and discrimination that prevent us from advancing towards a more just and egalitarian society,” said Gema Tabares, representative of the Afro Caracolas Saberes Itinerantes collective from Mexico.

For more than 500 years, indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples have been victims of a racist system that violates their rights and pushes them into poverty. Proof of these violations are the figures presented by the World Bank, which state that indigenous peoples represent 14% of the impoverished population and 17% of the extremely impoverished population in Latin America.

Furthermore, this same organization indicates that the Afro-descendant population in Latin America is 2.5 times more likely to live in chronic poverty than the rest of the population. ECLAC also states that the evolution of poverty and extreme poverty are higher among indigenous and Afro-descendant people in Latin America, which represent 48.8% and 17.9% of the impoverished population, respectively.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) states that access to education for the indigenous population is 2.1% to secondary school and 20.5% to primary education. It also states that the indigenous population has less access to health services.

In addition, the average wealth of an Afro-descendant family is seven times less than that of a white family in the United States. Finally, people of African descent are twice as likely to be killed as a result of police actions in the United States, according to the Urban Institute.

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