Note from BW of Brazil: We all need some help from time to time and today I wanted to present to you another example of this as well as a great cause. Introducing my audience and followers to Afro-Brazilian writers who have been basically shut out of Brazil’s literary market is one of the many topics that I regularly cover on this blog. These writers deserve to take their rightful place among authors of African descent in contributing to the understanding of the black experience on a global level.
The obstacles to recognition are enormous as Brazil’s literary industry continues to ignore these important works due to a widespread belief that these works don’t have an audience and also that the material is of poor quality. Then, speaking of the global market, we have the issue that few of these works have been translated into English.
When I first starting learning about the black Brazilian struggle, the only works I found available in English (I didn’t speak any Portuguese at the time) were books by Carolina de Jesus, Abdias do Nascimento, Benedita Da Silva: An Afro-Brazilian Woman’s Story of Politics and Love, the collection Finally…Us: Contemporary Black Brazilian Women Writers and later a bi-lingual edition of the Cadernos Negros series entitled Black Notebooks: Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Literature.
So, whenever there is an opportunity to talk about black Brazilian writers, I like to open my space to given shine to these authors. While I speak on this, there is a young sister named Francy Silva, a Ph.D. in Portuguese Language Literature, who is also trying present the works of some these authors to an international audience. Silva has been invited to discuss her study on black Brazilian writers of short stories at the upcoming Latin American Studies Association 2019 International Congress that will be held in Boston, Massachusetts. It’s huge honor and a great opportunity for not only Silva, but also the black Brazilian writers she will discuss during the event.
All good, right? So, what’s the issue? Well, Francy needs funding to be able to make the trip. As such, she launched a fund-raising campaign to be able to finance this journey. Her story is below. If her story resonates with you, below this article is information to make a contribution to her cause. If you are outside of Brazil, the best way would be to make a contribution via her PayPal account.
What to know more? Read below…
Black researcher launches collective funding to attend US congress
By Simone Freire
Francy Silva is the author of the thesis that discusses the concept of “Ferocidade Poética” (Poetic Ferocity) from the analysis of short stories by writers Conceição Evaristo, Miriam Alves and Cristiane Sobral
A Ph.D in Portuguese Language Literature, Francy Silva is preparing for another adventure in her academic career: to take to the United States her thesis in which she discusses the concept of “Poetic Ferocity” from the analysis of short stories by black Brazilian writers Conceição Evaristo, Miriam Alves and Cristiane Sobral.
Silva was invited to participate in the 37th Lasa Congress – Nuestra América: Justice and Inclusion, in Boston, Massachusetts, from May 24 to 27. There, she will do an exhibition of the thesis “Corpos dilacerados: a violência em contos de escritoras africanas e afro-brasileiras” (Torn bodies: the violence in short stories of African and Afro-Brazilian women writers).
To cross the Americas, Silva initiated a collective financing campaign. The doctor also wrote to Alma Preta about her trajectory and about the importance of this moment in her life. Check the text below:
HELP A BLACK RESEARCHER TO FLY HIGHER
At nine years of age, I was the only girl among a group of boys selling fruit on the asphalt. “Look at the pine fruit there, auntie! Look at the pine fruit! “she said. At eleven years old, early in the morning, I would look for a container full of milk on the neighboring farm, putting it in the wheel barrow and go shouting from door to door: “look at the milk, look at the milk!”.
When I was twelve, I would wake up every morning at five in the morning to go and sell coffee, cake, salty snacks. I would wake up to attend my faithful clientele, men and women who, before sunrise, left for the exhausting work on other people’s farms.
At thirteen, I worked in a tiny bar of a family friend. I worked selling drinks to old, tired men, embittered men who drowned themselves in alcohol, fleeing from a horizon with no prospects.
At the age of fourteen, I worked selling fruits and vegetables at the fair, under a scorching sun. The money from the sales was to help pay the house bills, but I prayed quietly to spare some change so that I could buy a hardcover notebook with stickers and scented sheets. I kept my daring dream well hidden: to have a pair of jeans.
At the age of sixteen, I taught at a small kindergarten in the morning, attended the magisterium in the afternoon and taught in a literacy program for young people and adults in the evening. At seventeen, I worked twelve hours a day as a cashier in a supermarket.
At the age of twenty, I started my undergraduate degree in Literature at UESC. The first person of the immense maternal and paternal family to enter a university. I conciliated graduation with forty hours of work a week in two public schools. The waters run in the agitated seas of history: Graduation, Master, Doctorate.
Training, information, collapsing country. One more unemployed doctor. No time for despair. It must be a temporary crisis. Opportunities will arise. “Look at the opportunity, look at the opportunity.” To lecture at a congress in the United States. The opportunity to defend the cause that mobilizes me so much: to talk about the literary production of Afro-Brazilian writers for researchers from various parts of the world.
Militant researcher echoing the unsubmissive black voice in Uncle Sam’s land. Great opportunity, short money. With no money to pay for the trip, I thought about giving up. “Don’t give up. Ask for help! Do a collective financing campaign,” a dear friend told me.
“You’re a doctor, aren’t you ashamed to ask? This is ugly. It’s humiliating,” one unknown person told me. Is it a shame to ask for help? Mother answered with the haughtiness of someone who so often ‘ate the bread that the devil kneaded’: “Geez! Ashamed of what? Stop with this nonsense. Better to ask than steal. Shame is being dishonest.”
With the same prode that I sold fruit on the asphalt, snacks to workers, cachaça (Brazilian Sugar Cane Rum) to drunks, I ask for help to take another great step in my trajectory. With the same pride that I defended my doctoral thesis, approved with praise, I ask for help to realize a beautiful dream.
As I write these lines of resistance, the memory of Grandma Carminda takes over entirely. Despite the context of need in which we experienced, Vó (grandma) insisted on hope and saw in me a horizon of expectations: “You will go far. Farther than you can imagine,” she would say. Grandmother, an absence present in me – to whom I have devoted my thesis – encourages me to go on. Encouraged by Vó, welcomed by Mãe (Mother), I continue on with pride. A seed germinating fruits.
How to help
On the site of the financing campaign, the collaborator can donate any amount from R$ 5, by credit card or bank note.
Donations can also be made directly into my bank account:
Banco do Brasil | Recipient: Franciane Conceição Silva
Agency: 1673-X | Current Account: 9874-4
Caixa Econômica Federal | Recipient: Franciane Conceição Silva
Agency: 1558 | Savings Account: 65064-0 | Oper: 013
Paypal account: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Alma Preta