Last night I came home from the Concha Buika concert and was greeted with what will be the most important letter I have ever received from a teacher about her students:
“Hi Alicia, hope all is well. My students know that the Untold Story about Afrolatinos is important to me and it has become important to them as well. I’ve shown them the video in the classroom and they want to see themselves represented. As a farewell gift to me (I’m leaving the school) they collected $43 for me to give to you. This may not be a lot but it represents the world to me. The story resonated with them and they believe in your cause, they believe in you. So please let me know where to send the money since the indiegogo campaign is over. Abrazos y muchas felicidades, Egli.”
I sat with that email and cried and cried and cried! To be completely honest—I am still crying!
Those $43.00, for me, was the largest donation we have ever received! It was large because it came directly from those who are the legacy of this project. That donation came from children who are future activists, leaders, writers and filmmakers! That donation came from 9th graders who were grateful for having an amazing teacher such as Egli Colon. I personally am grateful for this teacher, this brave educator, for having the courage to bring into her classroom topics that speak to who our children really are. She is a testament to all that is right with how our children should be educated!
I am in complete awe of them. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for them to raise all of that money–$43. They are amazing!!! They are my s/heroes! They are up there with Benkos Bioho, Yanga and the many cimarrones/maroons and guerrerras who fought for our freedom! Thank you for baking cupcakes and raising all of that money so that the story of 150 million Afrolatinos is told!
There is nothing more gratifying, more affirming, more inspiring and life changing for me than to hear from young people that your work matters! What an honor it is for me to hear directly from students that they are excited to learn more about their stories, stories that reflect who they are and where they come from. How incredible it is for me to hear that they KNOW that they DO in fact matter and can do and be anything! There is no amount of money that can measure the greatness of this gift from these students towards the completion of Afrolatinos! They remind me of how important it is that I NEVER stop! Never stop writing! Never stop searching! Never stop fighting! Never stop teaching! Never stop sharing! Never stop believing!
From the core of me I would like to thank each and every student in Ms. Egli Alexandra Colón’s 9th grade classrooms (F1, F2, F3 and F4) at Cristo Rey New York High School for your incredibly generous donation! Because of each and every one of you and all of our Afrolatino’s supporters we will have our story told! Thank you for believing in OUR STORY!!! YOUR STORY!!!
From myelf and the entire Afrolatinos Team we honor you!
Maferefun Ellegua~ te pido que acompañe y protégé tus hijo/as en sus caminos! Que le de mucho ire! Many blessings!
Alicia Anabel Santos