This message is part of the Author platform I am building to update you on my progress and the book launch announcement. In the meanwhile, I would like to introduce you briefly to my journey from accountant, social justice activist, to author. You will be able to read the details in the book.
I was born in the Garifuna village of Cristales, and raised in the city of La Ceiba, Honduras. I migrated to Boston, Massachusetts with my parents at the age of fifteen. I relocated to Dallas, Texas, in 1981 and to New York City, where I currently reside, in 1998.
I developed a Life-long love affair with books and reading, beginning in elementary school. I attended Bentley University, where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. The curriculum offered a balance of the required business major courses with Liberal Arts courses. The aim was for students to learn to think differently and change the world for the better. It was one of my Liberal Arts professors who recognized my unique writing style and suggested minoring in Journalism. I went on to make a living as an Accountant and freelanced with various ethnic publications.
Since my childhood, I struggled to reconcile social perceptions of my multiracial and ethnic heritage. That led me to research my genealogy and to embrace my identity with dignity, by self-identifying as Garifuna, no qualifiers required!
When I started my research, there were no Garifuna or Afro-Latino(a) stories at all. Those that existed, were anthropological or ethnographic documents, written by a European sailor, soldier, anthropologist, priest, missionary, PhD candidate, or a settler (colonizer). We were invisible in plain sight. I wanted to change that!
Therefore, in the late 80s, I started on what became my lifetime mission, to inform, empower, and advocate for Garifuna People. I decided to provide a platform to celebrate the accomplishments, achievements, and contributions of Garifuna people.
I had few role models to follow. For guidance, I looked up to African American writers, such as James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Claude Brown, and Puerto Rican-Cuban writer Piri Thomas. I found strength in the way they wrote about being invisible, they wrote stories that had never been written before. So, I thought to myself, I can do that, too. Then I read an African proverb that says, “Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter”. I decided to write the stories I wanted to read but had not been written yet. Reading President Barak Obama’s Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, helped me structure my story.
Those stories, and my lived experiences, informing, empowering, and advocating for Garifuna and Afro-Latino (a) People, for the past thirty-two years, form the essence of the book’s plotline.
I invite you to stay tuned for future updates on my progress and the book launch announcement. Meanwhile feel free to reach out with any questions, at the following contacts:
José Francisco Ávila
Telephone: (810) 462-1243
Facebook: José Francisco
LinkedIn: Jose Francisco Avila
Instagram: Jose Francisco Avila @josefavi
YouTube: Jose Francisco Avila
Spotify Playlist Jose Francisco’s Playlist