Latin is a mix of Indigenous, African, Asian, Pacific and European peoples and cultures. That’s everyone because we are the children of everyone. New York City is our capital. Our City celebrates its immigrant roots, so plant the flag!
National labels are colonial nonsense, but are what we have. No matter your heritage, faith, nationality or gender, we are all human!
“Diferente ramas, la misma raíz.”Proverb
(Different branches, the same root.)
When Viannca Velez of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute shared this proverb with us, she was referring to the many branches of the African Diaspora. But the proverb is equally true for all humankind.
Separateness is an illusion. We are all part of one great Tree of Life. When you start to see the tree instead of just your own branch, your humanity grows and so do you.
“Patria son tantas cosas bellas!”
“Patria” by Rubén Blades, 1988 (Homeland is many beautiful things) 🇵🇦
“When You’re Here, You’re a New Yorker”
The NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs really gets it.
“Where you were born does not matter.NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
When you’re here, you’re a New Yorker.”
It can’t be said any better than that, and it is true. Place has a big impact on how people live. We know this from experience because we work with communities in New York and in their heritage countries. They are not the same at all. “When you’re here, you’re a New Yorker.”
Part of the magic of New York City is that it is one of the best places in the world to reinvent yourself. It’s the only place we know where you can build an empire entirely in your mother tongue, without even speaking the local language. We are proud of that.
New York changes you, no matter where you or your family are from. In New York, you have to think faster, work faster, walk faster and talk faster. Living in the city changes you in a New York minute.
When we started this project in 2012, national labels made sense to us. That is how we were taught to see the world from the United States. But after living in the Latin world, nationality doesn’t make as much sense anymore. We are just people and are all mixes of each other.
Nationality, like skin color, is a false flag. Humans have been migrating since we could walk. There is only one species of us living in the world today. Whatever you are, Africa is the mother of us all.
We Are All Faiths, Including None At All
The Latin story is a story of colonization, enslavement and the long march towards independence and freedom.
“Latin” is generally associated with the Roman Catholic church. We love and respect all traditions, but don’t represent any church and don’t intend to promote any particular religion. Any way the spirit manifests for you is a blessing.
However, religion has been a major influence on Latin culture. Churches are still the richest organizations in many Latin countries, and not only the Catholic church. During the Colonial Era, colonizers and priests controlled every aspect of daily life.
Indigenous people and Africans syncretized (blended) our ancestral faiths with colonizer faiths. Syncretization often implies some sneaky preservation, but there is another way to see it. We recognized the similarities in our faiths. Colonizers insist that their way is the only way which blinds them to the divinity in all human faiths.
Humans do pretty much the same things around the world and across time – because we are human. Some of us drink the blood and eat the body of God in a sacred place, some of us sacrifice a ram on a sacred day, and some of us pour chicken blood and feathers on a sacred place, but we are all celebrating the same mystery.
In competition and ignorance, people of faith tend to demonize all other faiths, but there are no demons, only demonizers. Fear is in your own head. This demonization of “others” is a legacy of White supremacy and human trafficking.
All faiths try to make sense of the miracle of being alive, and the endless cycle of life and death. All faiths seek to maximize human potential.
Anything we write about faith is just our opinion. Ancient writings were written as poetry, not technical manuals to be followed word for word. We look for the meaning behind the symbols. Only a priest or priestess can teach you about your chosen faith. Nature, science or nothing at all works for us too.
Help us Get Our Story Right
Forgive us for the inaccuracy in some of our writing. We are a small team and obviously not raised in all of these cultures, but you will find all these people and cultures in New York City.
Frankly, being raised and educated in the United States made us blind. This project is a journey of learning and sharing. Every year, we realize how ignorant we were the year before. Help us get the story right.
Black Lives Matter is forcing us to decolonize our own heads and rethink everything. So much of what we were taught as children, turns out to be White supremacist nonsense. It is taking time to process, because as soon as you digest one thing, you become aware of something else. It’s like peeling an onion, but we keep peeling it.
We want to tell your story, because it is our story too.
The Latin Timeline
We are working on a Latin timeline to help us keep things straight.
- 1400 BCE Asians crossed the Bering Land Bridge becoming the Indigenous First Nations of the Americas.
- 1200 BCE In just 200 years, the First Nations reached Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. Trade networks were established all throughout the Americas.
- ~ 1200s The Zenu people from Colombia’s Magdalena River reached Polynesia.
- 1452 Roman Catholic Pope Nicholas V gives King Afonso V of Portugal permission to enslave Muslims and non-Christians. 🇮🇹🇵🇹
1452 to present
Colonial times were World War Zero. The Americas were filled with farmers and hunter gatherers who managed the land. European contact brought European diseases which caused a 95% death rate in just a few years (the COVID death rate is about 1-3%). The European Diaspora abused, enslaved and killed the remaining Indigenous Americans.
Colonization is a military intervention with militant priests. Colonial plantation economies were built around industrial death camps that enslaved first Indigenous Americans and then Africans. Colonial Catholics believed that the end of the world would come once everyone was baptized so they set out collecting souls like Facebook likes. The whole thing was brutal and very unChristian.
Until 1492, all Americans were Indigenous, the First Nations of Native Americans.
- 1460s Portuguese colonize the Cape Verde islands and start trade with the Mali Empire. 🇵🇹🇨🇻🇲🇱
- 1471 Portuguese reach the coast of what is now Ghana 🇵🇹🇲🇱
- 1492 Columbus contacts Indigenous Taíno in what is now the Bahamas. 🇪🇸🇧🇸
- 1496 Spanish found Santo Domingo in what is now the Dominican Republic. 🇪🇸🇩🇴
- 1565 Spanish found St Augustine, the oldest city in what is now the United States.🇪🇸🇺🇸
- 1619 Slavery begins in what becomes Virginia and the United States.🇬🇧🇺🇸
- 1761 Portugal bans slavery 🇵🇹
- 1776 United States Declaration of Independence 🇺🇸
- 1789-1799 French Revolution ends the French monarchy. 🇫🇷
- 1791 Haitian Revolution begins 🇫🇷🇭🇹
- 1804 Haitian Independence 🇭🇹
- 1811 Spain bans slavery 🇪🇸
- 1833-34 UK bans slavery 🇬🇧
- 1848 France bans slavery 🇫🇷
- 1860-65 U.S. Civil War 🇺🇸
- 1863 Emancipation Proclamation bans human slavery in the U.S. 🇺🇸
- 1863 Netherlands bans slavery 🇳🇱
- 1898 Spanish-American War ends the Spanish colonial empire. Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines become part of the new United States colonial empire. World War Zero ends.🇪🇸🇺🇸🇨🇺🇵🇷🇵🇭
- 1950s Great Migration from Puerto Rico to New York City. 🇵🇷🇺🇸
- 1964 Civil Rights Act 🇺🇸
- 2021 Republican Capitol Insurrection (it’s related to the above) 🇺🇸
The last word is thank you to all the people who welcome and embrace us on our journey exploring the many beautiful branches of the Great Tree of Life.