The International Republican Institute (IRI), in conjunction with leading Afro-Colombian civil society partner groups, the National Conference of Afro-Colombian Organizations, the National Movement for the Human Rights of Black Communities in Colombia and the Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians and Research Center of the National University, designed a nation-wide campaign to raise civic awareness of Afro-Colombian’s continued challenges and help build momentum for the approval of the Afro-Colombian Congressional Caucus’ anti-discrimination legislation in congress.
This campaign was launched during Afro-Colombian week for maximum visibility and focused on three specific areas of discrimination: the labor market, access to education, and forced displacement of the Afro-Colombian population due to armed conflict. In preparation for the week-long celebration and campaign, civil society partner groups distributed 10,000 posters, 12,000 flyers, and 25 large bus stop posters to key parts of the city including schools, universities, and various social organizations and governmental buildings. The posters were designed with insight gained from partners that met with the Dean of Howard University Law School, Kurt L. Schmoke and Professor Aderson Francois, who traveled to Colombia a few months earlier to assist in developing and analyzing the current anti-discrimination legislation.
The posters highlight the difficulties faced by the Afro-Colombian’s but also portray the contributions of Afro-Colombians to Colombia’s society, culture, and economic development.
In Colombia, May 21 signifies the day when Afro-Colombians commemorate the anniversary of the abolition of African slavery with various political, social, and cultural events. However, during the week of celebrations, the most significant activities occur as the communities emphasize the disproportionate circumstances and racial discrimination of the Afro population.
IRI and the Afro-Colombian civil society groups will continue to promote the Afro-Colombian awareness campaign throughout the year in various parts of the country. The civil society groups will also build additional visibility by spreading their messages to heavily populated Afro-regions along the country’s Atlantic Coast. These efforts will strengthen civic awareness of the Afro population and stimulate further Afro-Colombian participation in the community.