Samantha Peguero offers insight to Afro-Latin culture


Photo courtesy Samantha Peguero

Sophomore Samantha Peguero

As a member of the Black Student Union, Sophomore Samantha Peguero aspires to shed light on her cultural background and broaden individuals’ understanding of what it means to be Afro-Latin.

Q: What does it mean if someone is Afro-Latinx?

A: Afro-Latinx are Latinx with African ancestry or Latinx mixed with Africans or African Americans.

Q: What does being Afro-Latinx mean to you?

A: It’s a part of my identity. That’s really it. I do not let it dictate how I act and who I talk to; it’s just a part of who I am. It empowers me to work hard and persevere so I can fight for people who look like me. However, it does not define me. I am proud to be a part of both communities.

Q: What is your experience at Wootton as an Afro-Latin?

A: It’s been an interesting experience. I lived in Central Florida (where the population is 90% Latinx) for most of my life, where everyone assumed that I was Latino. When I moved here, it was shocking to see so much diversity. At the same time, it was very surprising that I could be mistaken for different races and ethnicities. I’m proud to be a part of a school that lets me embrace my culture and lets me learn about others.

Q: Based on your experiences, what would you change about the Black and Latinx community?

A: I want both communities to be more accepting. It doesn’t matter if I’m mixed if I’m a shade lighter or darker than you are, or even the percentages of my race. If we share a common thread (i.e., experiences, race, etc.), we should both be accepting of and willing to learn from each other.

Q: If you could share one piece of information about being Afro-Latinx, what would it be?

A: There is a lot of history that should be accepted and recognized. As an Afro-Latino, I acknowledge both Spanish and African history. No one should be ashamed of who they are or their past.

Q: What have you done to shed light on the topic of the Afro-Latinx community? How do you plan on continuing this journey?

A: I joined the BSU leadership team at Wootton, and I did an art piece for last year’s Black history month. The main point was to say Black is beautiful in all shades and colors. I plan to shed light on this topic by trying to collaborate with different minority clubs to create a culture night. This way, we can learn about different cultures, recognize the similarities, and explore the differences that make each culture unique.

Q: Who or what has inspired you to explore your background and educate others about it?

A: There’s not really a person that inspired me to explore my culture. I saw a YouTube video titled Who Gets to Identify as Afro-Latino and thought to myself, “Oh, I’ve heard of that before.” I kind of explored which countries were considered Afro-Latin countries. The Dominican Republic (where I’m from) is considered Afro-Latin, but it is very stigmatized. It’s a word that’s not generally used in Latin America. So it was hard to accept my identity because it was new to me. After joining BSU and hearing/reading about other Afro-Latino’s experiences and journeys, I have gained the confidence to share my culture. It’s still a struggle to talk about my identity without feeling a sense of doubt that I am not truly a part of either community, but the more I learn, the less I doubt.