Migrants, Multiculture, United Kingdom

Latin American Recognition Campaign responds to Barnes’ letter

They sent a letter to the Latin American Community and the general public, and to the vice-mayor of London, Richard Barnes, responding to his message in which he announced the decision of the Mayor of London; to define the Latino community and the Latin American / Iberian American community within the city. The text from LARC is as follows:

Richards Barnes

Regarding the decision of the Mayor of London conveyed in the letter from Vice Mayor Mr. Richard Barnes of September 10, 2010, we state the following:

We disagree with the category “Latin American / Iberian American” because although this name apparently includes the Latin American community, we believe that the category “Iberian American” on the one hand creates confusion and on the other hand threatens the unity of our community .

From our point of view that name does not express clearly the wish of our community to be recognized as an ethnic minority with the category “Latin American”, which is the name that identifies us.

We also believe that the letter does not adequately explain how the decision has been made. Our major objection is that the decision of Mr Barnes shows no evidence of any consultation with our community.

For our campaign, consultation and dialogue are the most appropriate and democratic mechanisms to determine the most appropriate name for the recognition of any ethnic community.

Our campaign approached City Hall on one occasion this year to explain our objectives to representatives of those responsible for working with community groups. On another occasion we handed letters to the Mayor of London and to the deputy mayor, explaining the position of our campaign. Since then we have received no response to these letters nor any further contact.

With regards to the decision of the mayor of London, we reiterate our wish to be recognized with our own denomination, and that we Latin Americans do not identify with the category “Iberian American” because we believe that this name does not fully express our identity. Our concerns about the name “Iberian Americans” have already been explained in various documents issued by our campaign.

We have established dialogue with Southwark council, which was very supportive to our Campaign to recognize the category “Latin American”. It should be mentioned that this borough has already included the category “Latin American” in its various departments. As we know, Southwark has the highest concentration of Latin Americans in the United Kingdom.

Therefore, we believe that there would be inconsistency and lack of uniformity to have more than one category to describe the Latin American community living in the United Kingdom.

Our campaign will continue to work to achieve its objectives which are the recognition of our community under the ethnic category of “Latin American”, the promotion of our identity, and the defence of our immigration rights, working conditions  and the welfare of our community .

London, October 22, 2010

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