Pitzer College Alumna to Establish Oral History Website for Women of African Descent in South America
Claremont, Calif. (October 25, 2012)—Pitzer College Alumna Danielle Brown ’08 is launching a multimedia oral history website to collect and share audio and video testimonies of women of African descent in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Brown created the initiative, Sos Parte, to establish a forum for this group of women to tell their stories and increase awareness about issues facing their communities.
A 2010-11 Fulbright fellow, Brown conceived of Sos Parte, which means “you are part of this,” after she began working with the US Embassy in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, to produce an anthology of essays and oral testimonies of women of African descent living in the Southern Cone of South America. The book is scheduled to be published next year, coinciding with the launch of the United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent.
“Both projects have the same goal—promoting the empowerment and visibility of women of African descent in this region of South America using media and writing,” Brown said.
Approximately one-third of Latin Americans are of African descent, according to the Inter-American Development Bank, and they often face racial, social and economic discrimination.
Brown’s work grew out of research she began after winning a Fulbright Fellowship in 2010 to research feminism and Afro-Uruguayan women in Uruguay. Living in Montevideo, Brown became involved in local awareness campaigns tied to the UN’s International Year for People of African Descent in 2011. She also served as an intern at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) field office in Montevideo.
A double major in studio art and English and world literature at Pitzer College, Brown first traveled to Montevideo in 2007, during a semester she spent abroad on the Pitzer in Ecuador program. As an undergraduate, Brown also participated in the Pitzer in Ontario program and joined a group of Pitzer students who went to New Orleans to help clean up after Hurricane Katrina.
Brown said both of her projects reflect the African philosophy Ubuntu, which she sums up as “I am because we are,” the belief that an individual is part of a greater whole.