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    Twitter/@BILMovement | Photo: The Black and indigenous movement seeks to dismantle the narrative of the "encounter of two cultures" that occurred in 1492.

Published 12 October 2020
Opinion

The proposal came from the Black and Indigenous Liberation Movement, which called for the date to be deconstructed.

The Black and Indigenous Liberation Movement (BILN) declared this October 12 as Black and Indigenous Liberation Day, in contrast to the other names and types of the commemoration of the date that remembers the beginning of the European conquest of America in 1492.

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The BILN describes itself as "a coalition of solidarity-based organizations committed to anti-racist and anti-colonial struggles in six countries of the American continent, from Canada to Brazil."

It has more than 100 anti-racist and anti-colonial grassroots organizations in its midst, organized in a solidarity network, which, they say, "lays the foundation for future collaborations between the struggles of Black communities, both rural and urban, and indigenous resistances throughout the territory of Abya-Yala."

The first of the BILN's acts constitute the declaration of October 12 as the Day of Black and Indigenous Liberation within the framework of a week of activities, mostly online, to raise awareness about the meaning of the day which, depending on the country in Ibero-America, is also called "Race Day," "Hispanic Heritage Day" or "Christopher Columbus Day." 

The BILN coalition comprises international organizations such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Movement for Black Lives, Indigenous Climate Action, Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil, and the Confederation of Indigenous Nations of Ecuador. 

The event seeks to promote a critical and constructive debate on the issue of racism, both explicit and institutional, in which Black, Indigenous and racialized communities around the world live, with the purpose, they say, "that the world reacts so that October 12 will no longer be a day of celebration."

Known in several countries as "Columbus Day" or Día de la Hispanidad, this celebration is considered by many anti-colonial activists to be a symbol par excellence of the widespread denial of the tragic past suffered by colonized peoples with the arrival and invasion of the conquistadors in America.

It is in this direction that the BILN proposes to "dismantle it, deconstruct it under a critical eye," making it even more "necessary to remedy the inequalities that discriminated communities around the world face today because of race, color, origin, and identity."

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