Black Parliament Founded At Legislative Conference

September 2, 2005

BLACK Culture Day, celebrated Wednesday, brought parades and celebrations to Costa Rica – particularly to the Caribbean province of Limón, the region with the highest concentration of Costa Ricans of African descent – but also an event of a more permanent nature.Wednesday was the final day of the Third Conference of Afro-Descendant Legislators of the Americas and the Caribbean, which concluded with the formation in Limón of a Black Parliament of the Americas.Organizers say the parliament will articulate politics for the promotion of human rights and the social inclusion of black towns and communities, with the greater goal of strengthening democracy in the region. The first legislative session is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 1 in Brazil, where the parliament’s directorate will be elected. Any legislator from a country represented at this year’s conference is eligible to serve in the parliament.More than 100 legislators from 22 countries participated in the three-day conference, which began Monday in San José.Conference organizer and Costa Rican legislator Epsy Campbell, of the Citizen Action Party (PAC), said Monday during the inauguration that the activity has “enormous” importance “in making discrimination and exclusion a thing of the past.”For Campbell, the principal problems of “the more than 140 million descendants of Africa in America and the Caribbean” are the lack of opportunities, racism, social exclusion and lack of representation.“Today, millions of Afro-descendant children are born with more certainty of going to jail than college, of being the in the streets than being in schools,” Campbell said.

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