Jesse Jackson meets with former president Lula, highlights the plight of black Brazilians and envisions Afro-Brazilian president

Jesse Jackson, former President Lula da Silva and President of Guinea, Alpha Condé
Jesse Jackson, former President Lula da Silva and President of Guinea, Alpha Condé

Note from BW of Brazil: Anticipation ran high with the arrival of long-time Civil/Human Rights activist Jesse Jackson to Brazil to participate in another of events in recognition of the Month of Black Consciousness. This is not Jackson’s first trip to Brazil and connection with Afro-Brazilians.

Jackson with Abdias do Nascimento (left), Antonio Pitanga and Benedita da Silva
Jackson with Abdias do Nascimento (left), Antonio Pitanga and Benedita da Silva in 1996

Jackson visited Brazil sometime around late 1996 and met with a number of prominent black Brazilians, some of whom have been featured in this blog. Besides meeting prominent political figure Benedita da Silva on that trip, Jackson also met the late, great Afro-Brazilian Civil Rights leader Abdias do Nascimento for whom a new academic program was recently named.

Jackson (top) in Brazil in 1996 along with a number well-known Brazilians including Antonio and Camila Pitanga, Benedita da Silva, Elisa Lucinda, Elza Soares, Zezé Motta, Luiz Melodia, Aroldo Macedo, Neguinho da Beija Flor and Maria Ceiça
Jackson (top) in Brazil in 1996 along with a number well-known Brazilians including actor Antonio Pitanga, actress Camila Pitanga, politician Benedita da Silva, poet/actress Elisa Lucinda, singer Elza Soares, actress/singer Zezé Motta, singer/songwriter Luiz Melodia, magazine editor Aroldo Macedo, singer Neguinho da Beija Flor and actress Maria Ceiça

Jackson’s visit brings brings still more international attention to the plight of Afro-Brazilians as the country continues to gear up for international attention with the beginning of the 2014 World Cup.

Jesse Jackson excites the audience with remarks at seminar

courtesy of the Troféu Raça Negra website

After three intense days of events, during the holiday of Black Consciousness, the Rev. Jesse Jackson attended the closing of the II Seminário Internacional do Observatório da População Negra (Second International Seminar of the Observatory of the Black Population) ceremony that closed the activities of the Afroétnica Flink Sampa fair.

Jesse Jackson participates in the Second International Seminar of the Observatory of the Black Population at the Afroétnica Flink Sampa fair in São Paulo. Jackson is joined by prominent University of São Paulo professor Kabengele Munanga (far left), Sonia Guimarães, the first black Brazilian woman to earn a Ph.D in Physics (red pants), José Vicente, dean of Brazil's first and only black college Unipalmares and Ruth Lopes, director of the NGO Afrobras
Jesse Jackson participates in the Second International Seminar of the Observatory of the Black Population at the Afroétnica Flink Sampa fair in São Paulo. Jackson is joined by prominent University of São Paulo professor Kabengele Munanga (far left), Sonia Guimarães, the first black Brazilian woman to earn a Ph.D in Physics (red pants), José Vicente, dean of Brazil’s first and only black college Unipalmares and Ruth Lopes, director of the NGO Afrobras

With sympathy, Jackson showed that he has the gift of speech in speaking about racial segregation, thrilling everyone who attended. “Worse than slavery, is the internationalization of it. We were not born slaves, we were enslaved. Brazil is a place that shares many ethnicities. It’s a family that received slavery,” he said in his speech.

Jackson with dean of Unipalmares college, José Vicente
Jackson with dean of Unipalmares college, José Vicente

At the end of the event, Jackson signed an agreement with the Programa Ciência sem Fronteiras (Science Without Borders Program) for the implementation of the Programa de Desenvolvimento Acadêmico Abdias Nascimento (Abdias Nascimento Program of Academic Development). The project’s goal is to provide conditions for students of higher education to continue further academic life.

Jackson shares a toast with prominent political figure Benedita da Silva and Vicente at a pre-award ceremony at the Holiday Inn Parque Anhembi in São Paulo on November 17, 2013
Jackson shares a toast with prominent political figure Benedita da Silva and Vicente at a pre-award ceremony at the Holiday Inn Parque Anhembi in São Paulo on November 17, 2013

Civil Rights leader Jesse Jackson receives a standing ovation and accepts an award

courtesy of the Troféu Raça Negra website

Former US Civil Rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson, received a standing ovation upon his acceptance of a Troféu Raça Negra award. A partner of Martin Luther King in the fight against segregation, Jackson received the Oscar of the black community for his achievements.

In his acceptance speech, Jackson acknowledged Brazil as the “mother country”, a country where “our people were first brought”, in reference to Brazil’s participation in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade more than 80 years before the United States and a trade that brought the former country 9 times more Africans than the latter.

“We have many Afro-Brazilian connections in the US. Brazil has to be considered the principal country of the diaspora. In spite of the ocean that separates us, we have to be a family, we shared slavery,” Jackson said in his speech. “Strong minds break strong chains, they can change things. This is family reunion night….I love you Mother Brazil, God bless you,” he added. See the video below

Former President Lula, Jesse Jackson and the president of Guiné come together for racial equality

by Isadora Camargo

Jesse Jackson greets former Brazilian president Lula da Silva as José Vicente (right), looks on
Jesse Jackson greets former Brazilian president Lula da Silva as José Vicente (right), looks on

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, American human rights activist, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the President of Guinea, Alpha Condé, met on Monday in São Paulo and advocated “racial equality.”

The three were at Universidade Zumbi dos Palmares (Zumbi dos Palmares University or Unipalmares), to promote higher education of blacks in the country, to participate in one of the activities that the institution organized to commemorate the Day of Black Consciousness, celebrated on November 20 in the country.

Jackson during his speech at Unipalmares, Brazil's first and only black college
Jackson during his speech at Unipalmares, Brazil’s first and only black college

“Brazil is the second black nation in the world, so why are blacks often treated as second-class citizens? Besides the law, we need to face up to history and prejudices,” Lula said in a speech in which he defended a “change of vision of the country” in relation to the black race.

Although blacks and mulatos represent 50.7% of the population, according to the last census published by IBGE, Lula said he still wants to see “African descendants occupying positions of direction” of companies and public agencies.

Jackson speaks to the press with the assistance of his interpreter Daniela Gomes
Jackson speaks to the press with the assistance of his interpreter Daniela Gomes

Jackson, for his part, encouraged Brazil to “dream” and “to have a black president” and urged the government to follow policies of investing in favor of equality and human rights. “When the world comes to Brazil (World Cup 2014), it does not have to treat athletes like first class people and the rest as second,” said Jackson.

Former Brazilian president Lula da Silva was also presented with a Troféu Raça Negra award
Former Brazilian president Lula da Silva was also presented with a Troféu Raça Negra award

The debate over racial inclusion was one of the main points raised during the conference, in which the President of Guinea took to remember the importance of people of African descent in Brazil.

“The negro was dominated. Today, for example, all African countries are independent. They say that Africa is the future of the world, therefore the Afro-Brazilians are the future of Brazil,” he commented.

Lula, Jackson and Condé also took advantage of their presence to relive the 50 years of the “dream” of Martin Luther King, who in 1963 led the historic demonstration in defense of civil rights and an end to racial discrimination.

During the meeting, Lula, considered by Jackson as “the best Brazilian president of all time”, the university received the Troféu Raça Negra, given to personalities committed to racial equality.

Jackson says Brazil will soon have a black president; suggests legendary singer/composer Gilberto Gil

from the newsroom of Correio Nagô

The American Reverend Jesse Jackson, renowned civil rights activist, 72, said in the Back2Black festival debate the on the evening of Saturday (16), Brazil will have a black president “soon” and suggested that the singer Gilberto Gil, with whom he shared the stage, become a candidate for office.

Jackson with singer/composer and former Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil (right) and Gil's daughter, Maria (center)
Jackson with singer/composer and former Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil (right) and Gil’s daughter, Maria (center)

“There’ll be an Afro-Brazilian president in Brazil soon, even in our lifetime, because the country has a black consciousness, a majority of the population, which just needs to be mobilized by a candidate,” said Jackson, during the conference “A Democratização e o Desenvolvimento da África (Democratization and Development in Africa)”, which was mediated by the Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa and was attended by former Minister of Culture, singer/musician Gilberto Gil.

“You don’t know the chance that you have just putting your name in the race. Look at Lula’s campaign; no one thought a trade union leader could be elected president. An Afro-Brazilian candidate can inspire people who were maybe not voting,” said the Reverend, turning to Gil and suggesting that he announce his candidacy.

“If it weren’t me, it will be somebody else,” said the singer, without prolonging the issue. After talking to Folha (newspaper), Gil said he had no idea if he could be a candidate.

“I can’t imagine, but I know nothing of tomorrow. If the destination in Brazil indicates that, for some reason, I should be a candidate for president of the Republic, one of these days…” he said, before considering that he would already be “old for that.” “I’m 71 years old, I have no political ambition in the classic sense, but no one knows.”

Source: Troféu Raça Negra, UOL NotíciasCorreio Nagô

About Marques Travae 2894 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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