Nurturing Life and Territories as Black People is Not a Crime
Our lives, Our Territories, and Our Rights Cannot be the Price of Peace
We struggle for the dignity of black people. We are the inheritors of those that survived the dehumanizing policies that were implemented in the name of progress. We are the granddaughters and grandsons of those that organized in order to nurture life and wanted to enjoy it with dignity and health.
High-level government officials and armed actors often accuse us of opposing development because they value the exploitation of the earth more than our lives. We are what they want to hide and eliminate because we resist. We defend water, the territories, biodiversity, and life from the predation caused by large-scale mining, energy, and infrastructure projects such as roads and ports. We are critical and we oppose the model. We are the ones that have to deal with the mess caused by the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the model. Even though they do not want us alive, we continue to struggle for life and happiness, for the hope and freedom of our people.
We came today to face Colombian society as leaders from the Black Communities’ Process. We come from different parts of the country, and we are here in front of the Attorney General’s Office without fear. We are here because we want to say that we will continue participating in marches, assemblies, protests, and campaigns wherever we are. We are building institutions that promote the good life (buen vivir), institutions that are free of racism, discrimination, and inequality.
They are trying to promote the idea that we are entering a moment of democratization, participation, and implementation to the outside world. But we keep the following people alive and strong in our hearts: Demetrio López, Miller Angulo, Ana Fabricia Cordoba, Genaro García, and Bernardo Cuero, who was murdered last week in front of his home. 57 people have been murdered because they struggled for justice and dignity for all of us.
Countless others like Felix Manuel Banguero have had their names smeared by State-led criminalization campaigns that promote policies of fear and hate. Similarly, countless black women like Francia Marquez, Danelly Estupiñan, and Sara Quiñonez have given everything for our descendants (renancientes).
We are here. We are showing our faces before a form of justice that is limping, and we are here to offer our support so that justice can become a reality in our lives and in our territories. We are here showing our faces because we don’t owe anyone anything. The State should encourage dialogue and promote effective participation in response to social protest. It should definitively abandon its practices of stigmatization, militarization, and police brutality, as well as its denial of the systematic murder and criminalization of social movement leaders.
Being a social movement leader is not a crime. Territory is life, and life is never sold—it is loved and defended. We don’t carry weapons—we have dignity. The people will never give up!
Statement on Stigmatization and Persecution by the State
June 12, 2017
Black Communities’ Process (Proceso de Comunidades Negras, PCN)