"Though Hurricanes Eta and Iota devastated my ancestral home, our people are resilient. The Seaflower Resilience Fund will support our communities to stand powerfully on their feet again, stewarding this unique Creole culture and stunning corner of Caribbean Sea for generations to come."
The RDCC supports the integral and sustainable development of the Afro-Indigenous Raizal People of the Archipelago of San Andres, Old Providence and Santa Catalina, and that of its members, while promoting their rights to development and to self-determination. It seeks to contribute to the establishment of a sustainable development model for good living, a linguistically and culturally appropriate educational system, and a system of self-government.
Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota decimated 98% of the infrastructure in Providencia and Santa Catalina and caused hundreds of families in San Andrés to lose their homes, businesses, and all their belongings.
These back-to-back storms were a double whammy for a region that has gone more than 100 years without experiencing hurricanes of this magnitude. This crisis happened against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already harmed people’s health, eliminated their jobs, and stunted the islands’ tourism-based economy.
These islands are home to nearly 90,000 people, many of whom are of Indigenous Afro-Caribbean and Miskito Indian heritage, known locally as “Raizales.” Raizales are the islands’ original inhabitants from nearly four centuries ago and have a distinct history, Creole language, and culture that predate their current ties to mainland Colombia. Raizales consider the seas of the entire archipelago as their territory, including one of the world’s largest barrier reefs.
“As our people recover, we can bring back our environment to what it used to be,” says Arlin Bent Robinson, a member of the Raizal community in San Andrés.
As an island descendent, Panta Rhea Foundation CEO Connie Archbold Robinson Malloy understands that Indigenous and Afro-Caribbean people are often left out of decision making by governments that prioritize corporate and political interests over people’s safety and well-being. Yet, local leaders are best equipped with the power, knowledge, and experience to ensure a just and equitable recovery in the wake of these storms and others yet to come.
The Seaflower Resilience Fund catalyzes resources for immediate, basic needs — such as food, shelter, clean water, and healthcare — and aims to raise an initial $1 million to support rebuilding efforts that are driven by the community, now and for years to come.
The goals will evolve as consultation and partnership with local communities shape the Seaflower Resilience Fund. At present, the priorities are to:
The Seaflower Resilience Fund is committed to moving swiftly, but with the knowledge that rebuilding requires our commitment and solidarity for the long-term. We are dedicated to acting responsively and with trust for the lived experience of Raizales communities.
Author: Rudolph Gordon Britton
Producer: Wayne Hooker Macariz (Wahm)
Graphic Designer: Estefania Benitez
Cuando vi la forma tan horrible que el huracán Iota golpeó nuestro archipiélago especialmente Providencia y Santa Catalina me quedé sin palabras y con el corazón destrozado, lo único que pude decir es: we will rise again (nos volveremos a levantar). Con una hoja, un lapicero y un instrumental se me hizo más fácil expresar lo que sentí… Espero esta canción aporte un granito de fortaleza emocional para todos.”
When I saw the horrible way that Hurricane Iota hit our archipelago, especially Providencia and Santa Catalina, I was without words and with my heart completely destroyed. The only thing I could say was: we will rise again. With a sheet of paper, a pencil, and an instrument it was easier for me to express what I felt. I hope this song offers a grain of emotional strength to everyone.
If you prefer to donate by check, please make the check out to Amalgamated Foundation with “Seaflower Resilience Fund” in the memo line and mail the check to:
1825 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
All contributions are tax deductible.