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SAN ANTONIO—Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) McNair scholar, Adriana Valdez, is working with the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum to document the history of Afro-Latinidades in tribute to Black History Month.

Adriana Valdez is an OLLU student majoring in public history and integrated digital and is researching for graduate school by documenting Afro-Latinidades history, culture, and impact on multiracial communities in modern times. Adriana’s multiethnic studies impact marginalized citizens in San Antonio, Texas.

“Afro-Latinidad is deeply rooted in the history of San Antonio, yet this history is not well known,” said Valdez.

Valdez said that her motive for documenting Afro-LatinX citizens is her Afro-LatinX relatives who are not educated about their native history, which impacts their daily lives and experiences.

Because she has experienced the ramifications of not having her native history reflected in mainstream history, she chooses to change this racial stigma.

“Afro-Latinx people also are unique in their experiences as they have to navigate through both African American [here in the U.S] and Latinx communities,” said Valdez. “Hearing from the experiences of contemporary writers and scholars has shown me that the experiences that Afro-Latinx people face between and within these communities are complex.”

According to the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (SAAACAM), this nonprofit organization cultivates and displays African American artifacts throughout history in San Antonio, Texas. SAAACAM encourages local members of the San Antonio community to bring forward archived historical artifacts to display digitized and audiovisual exhibits.

With the help of Adriana Valdez’s sponsor, Assistant Professor of History at OLLU, Dr. Martinez, SAAACAM responded to the Afro-Latinidad documentary concept. Since December, both Dr. Martinez and Valdez have thoroughly researched in preparation.

“I think that in a world in which power continues to be distributed by race, ethnicity, gender, and other factors of identity, ethnic studies are vital in understanding why things are the way that they are today,” said Valdez. “Ethnic studies also provide us with the knowledge of how we can lift the barriers that continue to affect our lives.”

Valdez said that her project would benefit Afro-LatinX students and faculty at OLLU by narrating their histories and experiences. Also, having exposure to the history of an underrepresented group of people here in San Antonio is beneficial in understanding a more accurate and inclusive account of our local history. The aim of Adriana Valdez’s project is to inspire all students to learn about their own and other cultural histories. She hopes that students will be able to take an active role in changing the way history is taught in schools.

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