Afro-Mexican and Afro-American Encounters: Creating a Space of Convivencia in a Hollowed Out World

Gaye Johnson
Black Studies
UC Santa Barbara

This project involved a collaboration with music group Quetzal to stage a performance and a public discussion at La Casa de la Raza about Black-Latino conflict, competition, cooperation and coalescence in California. Framed by the arguments advanced in, Spaces of Conflict: Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles, shared sounds have helped Blacks and Mexicans in the U.S. find common ground, a community of a son jarocho performance was staged featuring open mike testimonies by participants, followed by an academic panel on the following day open to the public in which the fandango musicians and musicologists and sociologists discussed how music helps us understand the uneven yet related racial orders of the U.S. and Mexico. At a time when Black and Brown communities are pitted against each other by a myriad social issues, Quetzal’s “artivista” promoted public conversations necessary in providing mutual recognition rooted in social justice.