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TIMESLEDGER | Q 10 NS.COM | MAY 14-MAY 20, 2021
But the protests have taken a violent turn. According
to the latest report by Temblores, a nonprofit
organization, 39 people have died, and 1,814
have been injured in violent clashes with heavily
armed police forces. More than 80 people have
been reported missing, according to reports.
New Yorkers with Colombian roots are gravely
concerned about the latest developments and fear
for their families and friends in Colombia.
Community members, some wrapped in the
Colombian flag, arrived in Travers Park, chanting
“New York, Colombia needs your help” and
“Uribe is a killer,” referring to the former Colombian
president Alvaro Uribe Velez, who was in
power from 2002 to 2010. During his tenure, the
military killed thousands of civilians claiming
they were guerrilla fighters.
The march and rally was organized by youth
leaders in the community, including Tatiana
Hurtado, Melissa Garcia Velez, Julius Gomez
and Kaleidospace, a Jackson Heights-based arts
“We support this march and others like it because
we want to send out a message to the Colombian
government and to the American government,
letting them know that when the police
murder our Black and brown communities we
stand up and fight back,” Manuela Agudelo, artist
and founder of Kaleidospace, said. “The love
and protection to our communities is number one
and we will always champion love over hate.”
Agudelo also emphasized that they were raising
awareness of fundraising efforts of those on
the front lines in Colombia.
Protesters lit candles remembering the victims
who died and whose names were written on
white wood, while others placed banners they
had carried along the march route and an oversized
Colombian flag on the ground.
Hurtado, one of the organizers of the march,
said every artistic presentation at the event,
which included traditional dance and songs of
Colombia as well as spoken word, paid homage
to the killings at the hands of the state as well
as those who are missing. Hurtado said they’re
urging the government there to “do its job” and
hear their demands for “justice for all without
“We advocate for peace, for a quality and public
educational system, for a decent health system,
for better job opportunities, gender equity, for the
strengthening of the agricultural economy, for
the dignity of our working and indigenous people,
for respect for the Afro community, among
other things that are essential for the country to
truly progress,” Hurtado said. “Otherwise, this
would only be the beginning of the social outbreak,
the discontent will not pass if none of the
Read more on QNS.com.
BY GABRIELE HOLTERMANN AND
Hundreds of protesters marched from 93rd
Street down 34th Avenue to Travers Park in Jackson
Heights on May 7, demanding an end to the
ongoing police violence in Colombia.
For over a week now, thousands of Colombians
have taken to the streets to express their anger
over the country’s current government, led by
President Iván Duque Márquez.
The protests, which began on April 28, were
triggered by a proposed tax reform that would
have hit an already struggling low and middle
class. Nearly 43 percent of Colombians live in
poverty, and the reported unemployment rate is
currently at 16 percent.
After four days of nationwide demonstrations
organized by labor unions, Duque withdrew the
However, Colombians have continued taking
to the streets nationwide, demanding improved
working conditions, pension reform, protection
for human rights activists and the full implementation
of the 2016 peace agreement between the
government and guerrilla group Farc.
Jackson Heights community members protest the ongoing
unrest in Colombia on May 7. The sign reads, “It
hurts me to see those killed in my country.”
Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
Jackson Heights community members call
for an end to police violence in Colombia
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