Afro-Mexicanidad: A Symposium

The Symposium on Afro-Mexicanidad was a live, virtual event hosted on October 14, 2021 by the Latinx Research Center (LRC) in co-sponsorship with numerous departments and units across the UC Berkeley campus.
The symposium was composed of two parts: a historical/sociological session and a cultural session. Please scroll below to see the contents of the symposium.

Photo: Hugo Arellanes Antonio

Historical/Sociological Session

The historical/sociological session featured a panel moderated by Prof. Tianna Paschel (Sociology and African American and African Diaspora Studies, UC Berkeley); and included panelists Prof. Mónica Moreno Figueroa (Sociology, Downing College at the University of Cambridge, UK), Prof. Emiko Saldívar Tanaka (Anthropology, UC Santa Barbara), and Juliana Acevedo (attorney and activist). The panel provided a critical overview of race relations in México; the 2020 Mexican census which took Afro Mexicanos into account for the first time in history; and the social movements that made this unprecedented event possible. The panel was originally held in Spanish with English interpretation. You will find the respective YouTube videos below.

Cultural Session

The cultural session featured a talk and documentary screening of Beyond La Bamba by Marco Villalobos, as well as a talk by photographer Hugo Arellanes Antonio, who inaugurated three photo exhibitions that depict the lives and culture of Afro Mexicanos in Oaxaca’s Costa Chica and Ciudad de México. You’ll find links to their talks, documentary, and exhibitions below.

Beyond la Bamba

A documentary on Son Jarocho and the Utrera Family by Marco Villalobos

Through the compelling story of a young musician who leaves home to follow his dreams, Mexico’s 300-year-old son jarocho tradition comes vividly to life in Beyond La Bamba. From the rural roots of Veracruz to the urban rhythms of the Midwest, a family of iconic musicians forges a new life but remains true to their music.

Despedimento, by Hugo Arellanes Antonio

Despedimento reflects on the effects climate change will have on the Afro-Mexican community in the Costa Chica, México.

Huella Negra, by Hugo Arellanes Antonio

Huella Negra pushes back against the racist, folklorized ways Afro-Mexicanos have been depicted in the mainstream, and portrays the daily lives of twelve Afro-Mexicanos in a dignified manner.

El Polvito en Tus Zapatos, by Hugo Arellanes Antonio

El Polvito en Tus Zapatos is a photo exhibit on objects that, for Hugo Arellanes Antonio, represent life in La Costa Chica, México.


Tianna Paschel, PhD

Prof. of Sociology and African American Studies

UC Berkeley

Mónica Moreno Figueroa, PhD

Prof. of Sociology

University of Cambridge, UK

Emiko Saldivar Tanaka, PhD

Prof. of Anthropology

UC Santa Barbara

Juliana Acevedo, Esq.

Lawyer and Activist

Marco Villalobos

Writer and Producer

Hugo Arellanes Antonio

Photographer and Activist


Raymond Telles

Laura Pérez

Daniel Márquez

Abraham Ramirez

A Special Thank You To:

Monique Dascha Inciarte, Interpreter

Angela Zawadzki, Interpreter

Frida Pavlova Torres, Web Development

Saraí Montes, Fundraising and Video Editing

Stephanie Gutierrez Rios, Fundraising

Cecilia López, Fundraising

This Event Was Co-Sponsered By