The community is coming together to celebrate the vibrancy and contribution of Latin Americans in Southwark.
Text by Clauk
The Coalition of Latin American Organisations in the United Kingdom, CLAUK, is celebrating the sixth anniversary of the recognition of Latin Americans as an ethnic group by Southwark Council.
A Latin Americans in Southwark celebration will be held on Friday 6 July,at 5 pm. at Southwark Council. The evening will have stalls and speakers from some of the 14 Latin American organisations, NGOs and charities that make up CLAUK. They have been campaigning for decades for the visibility of Latin Americans in the UK, highlighting their contribution to a more diverse, integrated and vibrant London and UK.
In 2012, owing to the joint advocacy work by several organisations, Southwark recognised ‘Latin American’ as an ethnic group alongside other migrant and ethnic groups in the UK. As one Latin American resident put it: “The moment I had to fill in the form at the hospital and saw the category ‘Latin American’ I felt part of this society, as a visible part of the community. I hope other boroughs also listen to us and identify us as a group”.
The Latin American community is the second fastest growing migrant population from outside the EU.
In 2016, our community was made up of around 145,000 people living in London, with Latin Americans being the eighth largest non-UK born population in the capital. The Borough of Southwark has the second highest concentration of Latin Americans in the UK, with 8,9% of its total population being from our community.
Founded in 2011, CLAUK is made of 14 Latin American organisations: ESFORAL, IRMO, Latin American Disabled People’s, Latin American House, Latin American Support Network, LAWA, Latin American Women’s Rights Service, Latin Elephant, LUFC, MERU, Naz Latina, Teléfono de la Esperanza UK, The Prisma and CASA.
Latin Americans in Southwark celebration 5 pm. Thursday 6 July at Southwark Council, 160 Tooley St., SE1 2QH Registration required here.
Lucila Granada, director at LAWRS, said: ‘We are celebrating the beginning of a long-term process of local integration of the Latin American community. Through gaining recognition, we have achieved visibility and increased political representation. The struggle for better access and integration continues, but we have many achievements to celebrate as a self-organised community’.
Patria Román Velázquez, Chair Board of Trustees, Latin Elephant: “The recognition has led to more visibility both locally and regionally, and has placed Latin Americans in a stronger position to claim rights and to voice concerns as an established collective.’
Lucía Vinzón, director at IRMO: ‘We are delighted to be celebrating the sixth anniversary of the recognition of Latin Americans as an ethnic group by Southwark. We will continue to work with service providers and local government authorities across London to ensure that Latin Americans are able to access public services and participate in democratic processes.’
Juan Carlos Piedra, director at MERU: ‘This celebration represents the recognition to diversity and social, cultural and political contribution of Latin Americans to a more cosmopolitan London.’
Mónica del Pilar Uribe Marin, Managing Director and Editor-In-Chief at The Prisma: ‘The recognition as an Ethnic Minority has made Latin Americans no longer invisible and is a way to acknowledge their valuable contribution (culture, language, work, taxes) to the British society.’
Latin American Women’s Aid team said: We celebrate Latin Americans’ visibility through culture, food and resistance. We will continue to fight against gentrification, domestic violence and low paid jobs. We don’t see these challenges as obstacles but as common causes to unite and achieve changes.’
Contacts: Lucila Granada, LAWRS (firstname.lastname@example.org), Lucía Vinzon, IRMO (email@example.com), Patria Roman, Latin Elephant (firstname.lastname@example.org), Juan Carlos Piedra, MERU (email@example.com), Jael Garcia, LAWA (<firstname.lastname@example.org)