The Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all organizations throughout the African Diaspora that are committed to asserting the humanity of African-descended peoples across the globe. Recent protests against the murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and countless others have caused a disturbing backlash against the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and its mission to end police brutality and state violence against Black people. On numerous occasions the media and opponents of this movement have unfairly demonized and stigmatized BLM, and ASWAD objects to this disparaging mischaracterization. During these troubled times, ASWAD declares its unity with the Black Lives Matter movement and with the global struggle to proclaim Black humanity.
As multidisciplinary scholars of the global African experience, we are painfully aware that current events represent just one moment in a long history of anti-Black racism that has spanned centuries. The contemporary dehumanization of African peoples has its roots in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade that began in the fifteenth century. During that era, a racist ideology developed to justify the enslavement of millions of Africans, which later transformed itself to validate colonization, segregation, and systems of class and caste throughout the world. This belief in Black/African inferiority—indeed, the belief that people of African descent are not equal humans—still lies at the heart of the problem of global racism and white supremacy. Today, we witness the proliferation of state violence, socio-economic exploitation, and mass incarceration against African peoples, not just in the United States, but also in Brazil, France, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Maghreb region, and in every corner of the African Diaspora. Across the globe, African peoples are being stripped of their citizenship and their humanity because some people’s lives are still deemed more valuable than others.
ASWAD is committed to the global fight for Black humanity and we are pleased to see that peaceful protests are taking place in London, Berlin, and Paris, in cities across Latin America and the United States, and around the world, which give voice to the belief that BLACK Lives Matter everywhere in the Worldwide African Diaspora.
Leslie M. Alexander, President
On behalf of the Executive Board of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD)