Note from BW of Brazil: When people sometimes ask me what inspired me to call this blog Black Women of Brazil, I thought of the type of women featured in today’s piece. Groups of black women organizing to address issues that specifically affect them but also consider the overall well-being of Brazil’s black community. It is clearly true, as the oft-repeated phrase goes, that there ‘s still a lloonngg ways to go to overcome the deep levels of inequality along lines of race, color and gender in Brazilian society, but after nearly two decades of clear advances under the administrations of former president Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, many in the black community are concerned about possibly regressive policies by the Jair Bolsonaro administration that could possibly reverse the gains made up to this point in the 21st century. And black women’s groups, some of which were responsible for the historic 1st national March of Black Women in 2015 continue to mobilize around their issues as well as new challeges that could emerge in the near future. On February 23rd, a group of black women in the state of Minas Geraos got together to address some of these challenges.
In plenary, black women of the state of Minas Gerais discuss challenges of the black population
Religious racism was one of the points addressed, a subject that will be on the agenda in the Supreme Court in March
By Iris Pacheco
First organizational activity in 2019 of the Rede de Mulheres Negras de Minas Gerais (Black Women Network of Minas Gerais) happened on Saturday (23)
On Saturday, February 23, women who are part of the Rede de Mulheres Negras de Minas Gerais (Black Women Network of Minas Gerais), held the first organizational meeting of 2019.
The activity resumes a process started in 2014, when dozens of women from Minas Gerais organized to participate in the Black Women’s March in Brasília. Four years later, in 2018, it was time to organize for the construction of the Encontro Nacional das Mulheres Negra (National Meeting of Black Women), held in Goiânia, in December of that year.
According to Andreia Roseno, of the Rede de Mulheres Negras de Minas, it’s necessary to change the logic about which history is told and to understand how the colonial system acted to divide us. She emphasizes that it is fundamental to understand the role of black women in the perspective of building unity and resistance against the oppressor.
“Access to knowledge to challenge this bourgeois world was the emphasis in the first national meeting of black women. 30 years later, what is the strategy? Go back to bourgeois knowledge or do we already have the basis to implant an African ancestral worldview?”, Roseno asks.
Resistance is one of the major challenges of our time, which operates to deepen the oppression and genocide of the black population, she points out. For Roseno, “we need to build coping mechanisms, resistance, for survival collectively.” She emphasizes that it is fundamental to dialogue with our black community references. “We must break with the basis of Eurocentric thinking, with the silencing and invisibility of our existence.”
The federal deputy, Áurea Carolina, highlighted the process of environmental flexibility and secular mining in our country, whose black bodies are exposed to these explorations. Aurea comments on how African ancestral knowledge was usurped to build this violent model.
In addition, Carolina emphasized the need to construct the good life, which allows a turn in the political culture and other forms of economic, political and social coexistence, including thinking about consolidating a network of protection and care of the black community with those who are in this fight against oppression daily. “We who are in these spaces have the heavy task of integrating agendas that are placed as fragmented, distinct, but are not”.
Meanwhile, in the same debate, the former Secretary of State for Education, Macaé Evaristo, highlights the dismantling of education in this conjuncture. For her this is a theme where historically there is an intense action of institutional racism, denying the right of the black population to education, hence the attack on the policy of quotas.
“The education of the black people has always been very scary for the Brazilian elite. We, the black population, for the white elite of this country should not have been educated” he says.
According to Macaé, the dismantling of the Secretariat for Continuing Education, Literacy, Diversity and Inclusion (SECADI/MEC), which was transversal to the other units of the Ministry of Education (MEC), is one of the main setbacks when we speak of guaranteeing a quality public education. It was this department that guaranteed the right to education in the indigenous, quilombola fields.
Macaé points out that at that moment public education is scrapped, and a broad privatization of education is being tested. With the possibility of returning to home teaching and along with this a recharge on the lives of women. “It’s more of a mechanism for controlling women’s bodies.” Therefore, the debate that must be had, “is not a corporate debate on education, it is a debate about the right to public education.”
There are many impacts of the ongoing process in the country and the black population is at the center of the attacks, privatizations and dismantling. Given this scenario, the meeting put as a perspective of resistance to action in territory, with territorial and local actions, but that guarantee unity and dialogue in a network.
The proposals constructed seek to fight for religious freedom, whose next struggle will be on trial in the STF (Supreme Court), in March, on the legality of animal sacrifices in religious rites. The carnival of the resistance in Belo Horizonte was also highlighted in the resistance actions. The Escola de Samba Raio de Sol honored Diva Moreira, a black woman, political scientist and with a life trajectory dedicated to transformation and the struggle for social equality.
Editing: Elis Almeida
Source: Brasil de Fato