Tolu Familoni quit her six-figure tech job last summer in search of a more fulfilling life. This desire led her to move to Mexico City, a place she said has allowed her to be more in tune with the world around her.

“The [U.S.] work culture is very much you go to work, and then you go home, eat dinner, and then you repeat,” she told new URL Media partner, Capital B. “It was not filling my spirit.”

Familoni is just one of thousands of Black Americans who have made the move from the U.S. to Mexico in recent years in search of a better quality of life, bringing with them “soul food and Sunday dinners, hip-hop and R&B nights, and weekly Black book clubs,” Capital B reported.

In recent years, Black American migrants have created enclaves across the country, from the coasts to the largest cities, but this does not mean there is no racism. Anti-Blackness in Mexico, widely considered the legacy of slavery and a colonial-era racial caste system, is well documented.

But many who spoke with Capital B, said that while they had experienced racism while living in Mexico, it was far easier to live a life of comfort.

“When you’re Black in America, you’re reminded that you’re Black every five seconds,” Bill Dallas Lewis, who moved from Ohio to Mexico nearly two decades ago, told Capital B. “And that means you’re experiencing everything that comes with being Black in America.”

Others, like the Yarbroughs, felt that the racism they faced in Mexico was still too much to live with, opting to move to Colombia after living in Mexico for more than two years during which the couple told Capital B they were stopped and questioned by police 14 times.

“[I]f you fit a description, there’s a higher chance that you’re going to be stopped,” Apryl Yarbrough told the outlet.

Much of the increased scrutiny has come as a result of an influx of Haitians fleeing instability in their home country, which came to a head last month following the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, in hopes of settling in the U.S.

Along with anti-Black sentiments, there are other issues at hand, including the fight against gentrification by American migrants, a growing housing crisis and the worsening water supply issues in the capital city.

As NPR reported, authorities are warning residents of major water shortages across the city until reservoirs are refilled when the rainy season begins in June. 

And while those living in Mexico City’s more upscale neighborhoods will remain largely untouched by the impacts of the water shortage, working-class neighborhoods have been reeling from the cost of purchasing non-drinkable water for household cleaning along with water for drinking, according to NPR.

“We make do with the thousand liters we receive, but it’s not enough,” María Cristina Peláez told NPR.

But even with the challenges facing Black Americans living in Mexico, most who spoke with Capital B said they had no desire to move back to the U.S., even if, like Adalia Aborisade, they’re acutely aware that the decision to stay in Mexico might not be entirely up to them in the future.

“The problem is, there’s no place I want to be other than here,” she told Capital B. — Alicia Ramirez

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