Black Ethnicity Celebration in Panama

Panama’s Black community promises to offer some new and exciting events for the month of May in its Celebration of Black Ethnicity.  Panama is preparing to welcome representatives from African countries and their descendants in the first Afro Festival 2012 organized by government as well as non-governmental organizations.

The event will be held from May 16th to 19th and will offer a wide range of cultural activities, including a reggae concert and diverse competitions related to African or Afro centered identity of the people of African descent.  On May 19th there will be a Reggae Concert at The Roberto Duran Arena. There will also be the Black Ethnicity parade in the city of Colon on May 27th from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M.

According to a recent press release, Ernesto Orillac, Deputy Administrator of Tourism (Autoridad de Turismo), affirmed that, “Culture is the greatest product of tourism that Panama can export, and Panama being a melting pot of races will be able to show off the culture of people of African descent so that it can be appreciated by tourists.”

Orrillac also stated that delegations from Colombia, The Dominican Republic, Brazil, Honduras, Costa Rica, Cuba, Nicaragua and other South American countries and the Caribbean will be expected. Locally there will be 30 stands including participation from of the Provinces of Bocas del Toro, Darién, Coclé and, of course, Colon accompanied by the groups and institutions that are identified with the Afro culture.

Ricardo Weeks, official Executive Secretary for Etnia Negra, argued that these festivities should be made official by the creation of a law and not by a decree, in this way when there is a change in Government all the work and effort generated in favor Black people or Afro-descendants, as stipulated by the U.N. will not be affected and go down the drain. “For this purpose,” said Weeks, we will be presenting two draft bills to the plenary of the National Assembly.”

Panama, states the press release, is taking regional leadership to host an event that seeks to highlight the image of people of African descent in our society with their artistic, musical, culinary and fashion demonstrations and activities.

On May 11th, in fact, The African Fashion Festival will feature the participation of lovely models wearing elegant original designs inspired by designs from the African continent.  This fashion event will be followed by a variety of musical programming and dances.

The organizers point out that this event will feature exhibitions of products, paintings, photographs, and framed art in the support of Afro Women’s Network (La Red de Mujeres Afro-Descendientes), the Panamanian Woman’s Center (El Centro de la Mujer Panameña), the Center for Afro-Panamanian Studies (El Centro de Estudios Afro-Panameño) and Colon’s Black Ethnic Foundation (La Fundación de la Etnia de Colón).

We, at The Silver People Heritage Foundation, are doing our part to restore and preserve the basis for this cultural celebration and our Law #348, which passed into Law in March, has declared our Silver ancestors’ burial grounds, Silver Corozal, Mount Hope in Colon and Gatun Cemetery, National Historic and Cultural Patrimony under the administration and control of Panama’s National Historic Patrimony Secretariat.

After all, if it weren’t for our Afro-descendant forefathers from the islands of the Caribbean, we would not be able to hold our heads up high and celebrate our African ethnicity.

This story will continue.

4 responses to “Black Ethnicity Celebration in Panama

  1. THIS THE FIRST TIME I AM ABLE TO RECEIVED EVENTS OF THE ETNIA NEGRA PANAMEÑA, WHERE I PARTICIPATED AS AN ARTIST ON THE PROGRAM INTHE TEATRO BALBOA ALONG WACH AND EVERYITH OTHERS SUCH AS ” LORD COBRA(rip) DANNY CLOVIS JAZZ GROUP ETC. TO DATE I HAVE A COPY OF THAT PROGRAM ON VIDEO. I HOPE YOU ALL KEEPING A RECORD OF EACH AND EVERY EVENT. I PROUDLY CAN SAY THAT IS HISTORY IN THE MAKING, AS IT WAS WITH THE COMBOS AND ALL OUR BLACK REPRESENTATION ACROSS THIS NATION. WHAT WE DO TODAY WILL ONLY REFLECT ON TOMORROW’S NEXT GENERATION . AND IF WE DON’T THEN, THEY WILL SELECT ANOTHER CULTURAL GENERATION. KEEP ON PUSHING IT’S NEVER EASY BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE. COUNT ON MY SUPPORT WITHIN MY CAPACITY, AND KEEP ME UPDATED .

  2. Mr. Allen,

    Thank you very much for the reminder! We have been conscious of that sacred duty of “rescuing our Culture and Heritage” since the year 2007. Although we had entered the Lobbying field and got the Law passed that has turned over three Silver Cemeteries to our administration, still we as most all organizations need your prayers and support if we are to do a job that has taken years to even attempt. As for the videos, we would very much like to see your videos of Lord Cobra and the others. We will send you a request by e-mail so that we may join our efforts at honoring their contributions to our Panamanian culture. Again, thank you Carlos Allen.

    RR

  3. Ms. Selassie-Aird

    I am SO proud of the people that are making Dia de la Etnia Negra possible! I am the daughter of African/Antillean-Panamanian parents and I would like to know how I can be involved in this event for 2015. I live in Georgia, USA and I am a volunteer at the African-American Heritage Museum and Research Center, which is also connected to the Farmer Street (African/Slave) Cemetery. I would like to organize a trip for about 6 children from Newnan, GA to attend the Dia de la Etnia Negra celebration.

    I would also like to know how I can be of assistance to The Silver People Chronicle. I love to research history and write. I also helped my mother edit her Ethnic Destination Guide (magazine) in Las Vegas, NV. as well.

    Thank you for your time and attention.

    Paz y Bendiciones…

    • Miss Selassie- Aird
      Our web sites are part of the Silver People Heritage Foundation a PNP registered with the Government of the Republic of Panama, and as such you can make a much needed donation that would assist us in keeping our research and writings public. It is welcomed as we aim to get some of our works published. We have, to date, no sponsors but are happy to hear of your experiences in the publishing field.

      Furthermore, we are happy to know and hear from you as one of the fellow heirs of our forefathers who first came to Panama in large groups, even before the historic period of the mid 1830´s. Please get in touch with us regarding aid in planing an event such as your trip to Panama with a group of children for touring purposes.

      Thank you for leaving your comment.
      Roberto A. Reid

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