Program: Gural Scholars
Class of: 2017
In May 2016, the Class of 2017 embarked on a 10-day journey to Colombia, traveling to various cities and meeting with local organizations to discuss issues affecting the Afro-Colombian community. Topics included gentrification and racism, and parallels were drawn between issues present in the United States and Colombia. Building off of past projects piloted by the cohort, the trip connected Scholars to the lives of activists fighting daily to preserve their communities and ancestral land.Partnered with the the Black Communities Process (Proceso de Comunidades Negras-PCN), the Scholars learned about the political history of the Afro-Colombian people, and the present struggles to save their land from outside influence and force. The trip highlighted the importance of being able to live off the land, and included trips to artisanal mines, where the Scholars were able to see the process of mining for gold, and even participated by helping to pull rocks into the correct position to be broken down. Gold mining was one of the ways community members earned income, and strengthened their bond as a collective group.
During their senior year, the Class of 2017 Scholars shared their experience in Colombia with the New School and beyond through Community Report-Back event. They hope to spread awareness of Afro-Colombian resistance, bravery, and power.