Note from BW of Brazil: If you’ve been paying attention as we near the ending of the second decade of the 21st century, you will have noticed that black Brazilian women have effectively taken their plight into their own hands. Tired of centuries old stereotypes that have diminished the black woman’s perceived role to the kitchen, the bedroom or Carnaval stadiums, countless marches, seminars, expos, protests, blogs, YouTube channels, social networks and access to institutions of higher learning have given this parcel of the population more visibility than ever before. But as they started in such an existence of invisibility, there is still a ways to go. With clear progress having been made, more black women are stepping forward to push for further change. But who are some of these women leading the charge? While the term black Brazilian women represents who they are as a collective, people need to know the individuals who are driving this collective. Below, I present to you another five black women who are doing their individual parts to keep the ascension of the black Brazilian woman on the agenda.
Five black women transforming reality in the peripheries of large Brazilian cities
By Lucas Veloso and Nataly Simões
Acting in social projects, black women struggle to improve the outlook of those living in periphery regions of large Brazilian cities.
Engaged in projects that seek to overcome social and racial inequalities, black women play an important role in the peripheries of Brazil. This is the case of these five women who, in different ways, are struggling to improve the reality of the regions in which they live.
1. Eliete Paraguassu
Eliete is a resident of Ilha da Maré, a black and rural community of Baía de Todos os Santos in Salvador. She is one of the most important leaders against water contamination and environmental pollution, causing the death of fish and shellfish in the region.
Defending the island’s natural heritage, she has been involved in various movements that denounce the situation in the region. In May this year, she filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) that includes a statement on the chemical exposure at the site and a request for action to solve the problems.
2. Jéssica Moreira
Born in Perus, a neighborhood in the Northwest Zone of the city of São Paulo, Jéssica discovered the social movements there. The Quilombaque Cultural Community was the first movement in which she became involved while still studying journalism at college.
In 2012, she wrote a book on local history and created a website to talk about the Movement for the Reappropriation of the Cement Factory of Perus, an abandoned space in the region. She is also part of the Nós, mulheres da periferia (We, Women of the Periphery) collective, created to tell stories of women living on the edges of the city.
3. Gleide Davis
Born in Salvador, Bahia, Gleide had her first contact with activism in 2013, when she was invited to administer the Feminismo Sem Demagogia (Feminism Without Demagogy) Facebook page. Today, she acts in the collective Sarau do Cabrito, which promotes activities focused on art, culture and citizenship in the peripheral region of the Bahian capital.
Gleide is also in the final period of her Social Work course at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) and constructs her militancy independently on social networks, especially on her YouTube channel, where she promotes debate about gender, class and race, and sexual diversity.
4. Thamyra Thâmara
A resident of Complexo do Alemão, in Rio de Janeiro, Thamyra is responsible for Casa Brota, a collaborative house located in the Complexo do Alemão that works with entertainment, sustainable lodging, communication, innovation and entrepreneurship. An idea developed with some friends, the space is where people around the community find opportunities to think of business and ideas in the favela.
Another idealization of Thamyra is the Favelados pelo Mundo project. In the company of her boyfriend Marcelo Magano, she has traveled to countries such as Angola, Colombia and Mexico and uses the chance to give tips on how to enjoy places with little money. Both are currently in Sao Tome and Principe Island on the African continent.
5. Karen Oliveira
Karen is part of hip hop culture movements on the outskirts of Ilhéus and Salvador, located in the state of Bahia. A graduate in Social Communication, she acts as a poet, MC, cultural producer and is one of the articulators of the Batalha das Bruxas (Battle of the Witches), the only rhyme battle targeted at the female population in the Bahian capital.
This year, Karen was honored by the Prêmio Mãe Ilza Mukalê (Award) for the relevance of her work in the region.
Source: Alma Preta