Chair of the Friends of Kerwin Foundation, Dichèla Imperator, accepts the special 'Kerwin'-MLK statue in August, 2020
On August 20, 1983 the 15-year old Kerwin Lucas (known as Kerwin Duinmeijer) from the Antilles, was stabbed by a 16-year old skinhead with a tattoo saying "100% white" on his arm, in the city center in Amsterdam. The perpetrator used racist language, and after being stabbed, Kerwin ran to a taxi on Dam Square, but the cab driver pulled him out of the car because he didn't want to have blood on the seats, and left him on the street. A second taxi driver called an ambulance, that arrived 20 minutes later, too late to save the life of Kerwin. Kerwin became known as Kerwin Duinmeijer, because that's the name of the family where he lived.
The Dutch band Frank Boeijen Groep scored a hit with the song Zwart Wit (Black White, video clip), saying 'Don't think black, don't think white, think in the color of your heart'.
The memorial statue Mama Baranka by Nelson Carrilho was unveiled in 1985 and is located in Vondelpark. 'Mama Baranka' is Papiamento (the language of the Caribbean islands Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire) for 'Mother Rock', in the Antillean culture the symbol of strength and perseverance. "So that we never forget where racism and intolerance can lead to." Every year on August 20, a remembrance meeting is organized by the Friends of Kerwin at Dam Square in Amsterdam, and in 2019 the city of Amsterdam was asked to erect a memorial stone at Dam Square.
Nowadays the Mama Baranka foundation, initiated on May 21, 2019, wants to offer a platform to talented young people to inspire and motivate, by speaking out and stand boldly against racism, child abuse, women’s rights and other injustices. Hawk Newsome, chairman of the Black Lives Matter Organization in New York, was the first winner of the Mama Baranka Award.
The text on the base plate of Mama Baranka says: "Laat Amsterdam, eens bolwerk van verdraagzaamheid, de toorts van tolerantie verder dragen. Omdat zyn huidskleur men niet kon verdragen viel hier een mensenkind uit onverdraagzaamheid!"
Let Amsterdam, once the stronghold of forbearance, carry the torch of tolerance further. Because one couldn't endure the color of his skin, a human child got killed because of bigotry.
The Martin Luther King statue stood next to the monument for Kerwin Lucas for two weeks when it got stolen. Luckily the police caught the thief and brought him to the police station. The statue was rescued and brought back to the park. On August 20, 2020, the Foundation Friends of Kerwin received this special statue because they commemorate Kerwin every year on August 20, and make a statement against racism, discrimination and random violence.