"My name is Ricky. I was born to an Afro-Latino father and Euro-Latina mother. I traced my lineage and I share paternal African Ancestry with Umbundu people in Angola today.
Our family immigrated to the USA four months after I was born in 1968. Living in Texas, the Colombian community was close and had many shades so I associated myself with my nationality and not a race.
I did not meet my paternal grandmother until we traveled to Colombia when I was 15. My father never talked about race or being "un hombre de color" when I was growing up. He was a fairer skinned man who would probably be seen more today as Creole with a smooth brown complexion and super curly Mario Van Peebles style of hair. Of course it was slicked back. My father only had a picture of my paternal grandfather who was from Aruba. My grandparents were separated/divorced when my father was young and he was raised by my grandfather in Aruba. He did not talk about his upbringing or about either my grandparents.
Truthfully, he was around much to talk to us about anything because he was always working outside of the city. So, meeting my grandmother and the rest of my relatives for the first time was quite a shock. I remember walking with my older brother (18) through my grandmother's home that first night wondering who all of these dark black people were. It was a shotgun house with a kitchen at the end. When we got to the kitchen, my brother and I looked at each other and he said, "We Black!"
Imagine the laughter out of two teenagers. In shame, we walked back and introduced ourselves to our family. That was a pivotal point in my life and has influenced so many of the decisions I have made since. I celebrate all of this on Afro-Colombian day."
Learn more about Ricky at www.apa1906.net
Happy Afro-Colombian Day!
On this May 21, 2021, we celebrate Afro-Colombian Day. We understand Afro-Colombian Day to be a day of celebrating the artistic, intellectual, and social contributions of Afro-Colombians in Colombia. We also recognize Afro-Colombians throughout the world.
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