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Racism against Afro-descendent minorities in Latin America and the Caribbean

A call to churches worldwide to educate people about racism, this declaration was made by church leaders from across the Americas and Caribbean at the end of a conference held 22-24 June 2011 in Managua, Nicaragua.

25 June 2011

Declaration

In this International Year for People of African Descent declared by the United Nations and the Organization of American States, we, the representatives of churches and ecumenical organizations from Peru, Brazil, Panama, Switzerland, Colombia, Costa Rica, USA, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Canada, Honduras, belonging to the CLAI Afro-descendent Pastoral team, working with Afro-descendent communities of Latin America and the Caribbean, and meeting in Managua, Nicaragua from 22 to 25 June 2001, convened by the Latin American Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches, after days of deep reflection and guided by the revealing words of our Lord Jesus Christ, considering the reality of racism today in Latin America and the Caribbean and its challenges to our churches and ecumenical organisations, we make the following declaration and proposal:

1. The message of Jesus Christ invites us to continue struggling against social injustices such as racism and social exclusion, they are considered sinful.

2. As churches we are part of the world and we call people to be the salt of the earth in this world.

3. The members of churches and ecumenical organizations present here commit ourselves to carry on working for our churches to have a prophetic voice, which is the churches’ vocation.

4. We call on the churches:

a. To commit themselves to make the theme of afro-descendents run transversally through the curricula at their universities, institutes, seminaries, sunday schools and other places of teaching.

b. To create spaces for dialogue to responsibly take on themes of racism, its manifestations and consequences.

c. To recognize that as afro-descendents we have a right to express ourselves in church according to our cultural inheritance.

We propose that the Latin American Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches and other ecumenical organizations:

1. Promote the participation of the Afro-Descendent Pastoral team in international events such as the World Summit of Afro-Descendents to be held from the 18-21 August in the city of La Ceiba, Honduras, and the pre-assembly of the World Council of Churches in 2013.

2. Show real commitment regarding the problem of racism being suffered by around 150 million afro-descendent citizens in the Americas living in situations of exclusion, marginalization and poverty (statistics from the Economic Commission for Latin America, CEPAL).

3. Open up positions of ecumenical leadership for young afro-descendent church people to promote generational changes.

4. Forge strategic alliances with ecclesiastical and non-ecclesiastical institutions and organizations to promote projects and programmes for sustainable development among afro-descendent communities.

5. Strengthen the Afro-Descendent Pastoral team across the continent as part of CLAI’s key challenges and recognize the ethical and moral debt to the afro-descendent population.

6. Promote spaces for reflection with the Afro-Descendent Pastoral team  to contribute to a contextualized theology inspired by the afro reality.

We want to highlight and express our gratitude for the support and solidarity of the following churches and organisms: The Lutheran World Federation, The United Church of Christ of the USA, the United Church of Canada and the Population Fund of the United Nations in Nicaragua.

City of Managua, Nicaragua, 25 June, 2011