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*Monica Carrillo was born on this date in 1984. She is an Afro Peruvian poet and activist.
She is from the community of Chincha, Peru. She holds a degree in journalism from the National University of San Marcos in Peru and received her degree in political journalism and cultural analysis from the University of Antonio Ruiz Montoya in Lima. She has also studied international law and human rights at the University of Oxford in England. She came to prominence in the first decade of the twenty-first century as the leader of a new generation of Afro-Peruvian activists and as the founder, in 2001, of the LUNDU Center for Afro-Peruvian Studies and Advancement.
Carrillo and a team of four travel every Saturday to El Carmen to organize workshops that focus primarily on sexual education. The effort is a response to the spike in incidences of HIV/AIDS resulting from the area’s growing sex tourism industry. But Carrillo’s activism extends beyond strengthening the Afro-Peruvian community. She wants Peru’s rich Afro culture to be recognized as part of the national identity, something she says is long overdue. “When you come to Peru—unlike Colombia or Brazil—you don’t find anything [that represents Afro-Peruvian culture],” she says. “You’ll find traditional music, but you won’t find paintings or sculptures.”
Carrillo is currently building a marketing strategy for selling Afro Peruvian artisanal products labeled Estética en Negro. Her organization plans to sell furniture, crafts, and even a CD of songs written and recorded by LUNDU participants to be distributed locally and abroad with the help of international partner organizations; Carrillo expects merchandise to hit the shelves this June. The proceeds will go toward scholarships for LUNDU youth. In 2009, four young people received funding for secondary education.