Dear LAB supporter and friend,
Latin Americans living in London and the UK have long been a largely invisible and unrecognised community. The ethnicity box In the UK census form does not include ‘Latin American’, let alone any of the range of ethnicities that comprise being Latin American. It’s not surprising that there is no accurate information available on the number of Latin Americans living in the UK (estimates range up to a million) and that this community has been largely ignored by the government and mainstream society.
This situation is slowly changing and as Latin American culture is becomes more visible, communities are starting to fight for their right to be recognised alongside other minority groups in the UK. Alianza Iberoamericana promotes a campaign of the Thee Rs: Recognition, Respect and Regularization for the Latin American and Spanish- and Portuguese- speaking communities living in the UK. They highlight some very interesting facts: for example in the borough of Lambeth, Portuguese is not taught in any secondary school despite the fact it is by far the largest minority language spoken there.
The first wave of Latin Americans came to the UK as exiles from the Southern Cone dictatorships. Subsequent waves of migration have included Colombians and Ecuadorians in the 1980s and 1990s, with many of them claiming asylum, although this is rarely granted. In recent years the majority of new arrivals have been economic migrants, with Brazilians forming the largest nationality group, with secondary migration from other European Union countries, especially Spain, adding to the numbers.
Pioneer in supporting this significant, although legally unrecognised, ethnic minority group in British society is IRMO, a charity based in South London that works with Indo-american refugees and migrants. John Perez, one of their directors, explains the issues to LAB’s Nayana Fernandez (Listen here).
Latin American women in the UK face multiple discrimination. The Latin American Women’s Rights Service spoke to LAB (read more) about their work and their report “No Longer Invisible” (The full report can be downloaded here), which is the most comprehensive research on London’s Latin American community undertaken to date providing a picture of considerable hardship, discrimination and social exclusion.
La Casa Latina offers legal and advisory services, training, childcare and cultural activities to the Latin American community. Their online magazine, Ventana Latina, is dedicated to reinforcing Latin American identity in the Diaspora. Read more.
Lucila Granada, a long term LAB collaborator and PHD student has researched the links between language, identity and integration among the members of the Latin American community of London. She explores the problem of language as an obstacle for the integration of many Latin Americans in British society. Read more.
Braziliality, a non-profit organization, promotes Brazilian artists and others inspired by Brazil. Alicia Bastos, its founder, artistic and management director talks about about how culture becomes part of the identity of the Brazilian diaspora. Read more.
Latin American culture and music in London are constantly transforming and adapting to new influences. Movimientos combines live music with documentary film to raise awareness about social and political issues in the region . The bands signed to their label are represent a fusion of Latin American, London-based and other global sounds Read more.
A short video produced by LAB’s Nayana Fernandez contains brief interviews with11 Latin American immigrants based in London. From different backgrounds and from various countries in the region, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras and Peru, they tell us about their reasons for moving from their home country and their impressions and experiences of living in the UK. Watch here.
A second video we recommend to LAB readers is called “La Gran Historia” – episode 9, produced in Spanish by HispanTV and presented by Javier Farje, from LAB. It is a 24-minute programme on the effects of Latin American culture in the UK and its interaction with British culture.
Finally, in this cornucopia of cultural riches, LAB has drawn together a brief directory of organisations, events and their web-links Read more.
Several items arrived too late for inclusion in this newsletter. Look out for them on our website in the next couple of weeks. They include interviews with:
· Eva Tarr-Kirkhope, Founder and Director of the London Latin American Film Festival
· Elaine Correa of musical group WARA
· Lucila Granada and Claudio Chipana from the Latin Americans Recognition Campaign.
Dear LAB supporter and friend,