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Latin American Anti-racism in a 'Post-Racial' Age - LAPORA


The Association of Afro-Colombian Women (Amafrocol) was created in the 1990s in the city of Cali with the support of various black women the majority of whom had been displaced from rural areas and lived in precarious economic conditions. Emilia Eneyda Valencia, founder and current leader of the association, stated that this group of women was initially organized around the need to provide support to poor black women, and especially women facing situations of violence. Currently about 20 women of different ages participate on a regular basis: many of them are educators or entrepreneurs in the sectors of beauty, hairdressing, sewing, and making handbags and other accessories.

From 2004, Amafrocol has held the annual event, "Tejiendo Esperanzas" (Weaving Hopes), where discussion forums, hair-styling competitions and photo exhibitions related to aesthetics, beauty and racism are organized. This event has supported the creation and development of several microenterprises, mostly led by young black women from Cali, Medellín, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Putumayo and Quibdó. These new ventures are dedicated to the production and commercialization of Afro hair-care cosmetics (creams, oils, balms, shampoos), accessories (turbans, earrings, necklaces, purses, handbags) and clothing (shirts, skirts, tunics), inspired by Afro-diasporic aesthetics. Its creators are part of a broad movement of Afro-Colombian women who develop production projects from diverse ideological positions that include anti-capitalist decolonial feminism, multiculturalist ethnic recognition, and ideologies of solidary and family entrepreneurship. All activists agree on recognizing aesthetics as a field of action for the empowerment of black women and the denunciation of intersecting racism and sexism.