Main menu

Video: Achieving Racial Equality in the Americas

Tuesday, June 30, 2020


  • Aurora Vergara-Figueroa, Director of the Afrodiasporic Studies Center (CEAF), Icesi University
  • Thiago Amparo, Lawyer and Professor, Fundação Getúlio Vargas Law School
  • Brian Winter, Editor-in-Chief, Americas Quarterly (moderator)

In this panel on racial inequality in the Americas, Aurora Vergara-Figueroa spoke about how there's a hope that George Floyd's story will help bring the requests civil society organizations have been making around police brutality against Afro-descendant Colombians to the national debate. Vergara-Figueroa also noted how the COVID-19 pandemic makes things particularly more difficult for Afro-descendants in the Americas, who tend to have less access to healthcare than others. In Rio de Janeiro, police killed 1,810 people in 2019, 80 percent of whom (during the first six months) were Afro-Brazilian, noted Brian Winter. Contrast that to the thousand people killed by police in all of the United States that year, said Thiago Amparo, who said the militarized style of policing in Brazil disproportionately affects communities in which Afro-Brazilians live. Amparo lamented the tendency of Brazilian media to only call on Black experts and commentators to talk about racial issues, but not about politics, economics, and other "general" topics, as well as the need to deepen the discussion on race in the broader society. "We need to go beyond only talking about race after a big event like George Floyd or one month of the year and mainstream the conversation," he said.