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Brazilian black women march through Copacabana against racism and violence

Monday, July 31st 2023 - 10:06 UTC
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Being with these women, for me, is giving me a feeling of warmth and strength in this place,” Anielle Franco said Being with these women, for me, is giving me a feeling of warmth and strength in this place,” Anielle Franco said

Representatives from various parts of the state of Rio de Janeiro took part Sunday along the Copacabana in the 9th Black Women's March under the motto Black Women United against Racism, All Forms of Oppression, Violence and for the Good Life, Agencia Brasil reported.

The demonstration was organized by the State Forum of Black Women and was attended by several collectives linked to the fight against racial inequality. The event closes the week of mobilization for the July 25 International Day of Latin American and Caribbean Black Women and on the eve of the July 31 International Day of African Women.

Writer Maria da Conceição Evaristo read the opening manifesto: “We are going to occupy one of the most visible Brazilian shores, it is an act of courage and denunciation.”

“We march for the good life. Living well calls for a policy of collective participation of the black population, of building horizontal power and distribution of decision-making places for black women,” added the writer who, this month, inaugurated a cultural center in the region known as Pequena África, in Rio de Janeiro.

The Black Women's March also made room for young leaders, including children. Alia Terra, just 10 years old, was one of the activists who spoke: “We are battling here with all women, always united, against all kinds of violence and racism and for the good living,” she said.

Participants carried banners, posters, and signs with portraits of black women who fought for the defense, respect, and empowerment of the black population, such as writer Carolina Maria de Jesus, singer Elza Soares, intellectual Lélia Gonzalez, 18th-century quilombola leader Tereza de Benguela, and Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco, murdered in 2018.

Brazil's current Minister of Racial Equality, Anielle Franco, Marielle's sister, was at the march and said it was an important reframing to have so many black women gathered on the edge of a neighborhood where they usually just work.

“We are marching, we are not dispersed, on the contrary. It is good that we have the federal government at the forefront of effective public policies, from health to education, security, which is most important. This is the ninth march. We have always marched and will continue to march. Being with these women, for me, is giving me a feeling of warmth and strength in this place,” Anielle Franco said.

“Mari, if she were here, would certainly be brightening up this march, she would be here at the front. Mari not being here means that any woman who has to be here is also in danger, so as long as we can't find out who had her killed and why, it means that black women, democracy, those who are here in front, courageously, putting their bodies in this place, where historically it is not for us, are also in danger,” she added.

Lawyer Marinete da Silva, Marielle's mother, recalled that the march takes place in the month when her daughter would have her birthday. “We are here every day to say that we are increasingly assuming this power and this place of speech, which is ours. This July represents us. It is the July of black women,” she pointed out.

Recalling next year's municipal elections, Clatia Vieira, one of the organizers of the march, defended that black women gain more space in politics. She also raised another banner of the movement: the hope of a black woman occupying the next vacancy on the Supreme Court.

“We worked for it, we built it. It is in this government that black women, for the first time in history, will sit in that chair, so that our agendas are discussed with us,” she argued.

The next vacancy in the highest court of the Brazilian Judiciary will open in October this year, with the compulsory retirement of Chief Justice Rosa Weber, who reaches the age limit of 75. Her successor will be chosen by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and needs the Senate's consent.

Clatia Vieira recalled that the march was not a party, but a movement to face struggles. Figures show that the situation of black women is challenging. They are 67% of the victims of femicides and 89% of the victims of sexual violence. In the labor market, they suffer the most from unemployment.

For Leonídia Carvalho, president of Quilombo Dona Bilina, in Campo Grande, in the west of Rio de Janeiro. Sunday's event was also for the food sovereignty of the black population: “We are fighting for various struggles that have been guided throughout history, after liberation [end of slavery], when the right to land, housing, planting, quality food was taken away from black people. This march represents a struggle of these women who are at home, in their kitchens and do not have quality food, it is an anti-racist struggle and for food sovereignty,” she maintained.

Pulchéria Silva from Volta Redonda, a city in the south of Rio de Janeiro more than a two-hour drive from Copacabana, was breastfeeding her 19-month-old son. “We have to position ourselves, demonstrate to society our awareness, our struggles, and the appreciation that has been growing, more and more, of black women,” she told Agência Brasil, saying she believes that the presence of her son is a way to make him grow up with an awareness of his roots.

The International Day of Black Latin American and Caribbean Women (July 25) was created by the United Nations (UN), during the 1st Meeting of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 1992. In Brazil, the date is also a tribute to Tereza de Benguela, known as Queen Tereza, who lived in the 18th century, in the Guaporé Valley, in Mato Grosso, and led the Quilombo of Quariterê.

The July 31 International Day of African Women was created in reference to the African Women's Conference in 1962 in the city of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

 

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

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