On June 18, 2019, hundreds of young people marched through the neighbourhood of Lobato to São Bartolomeu Park to protest against the genocide and hyper-incarceration of young black people in Bahia on the MAKE TROUBLE March (Marcha INCOMODE). Organized by the Make Trouble Collective (Coletivo Incomode), this was the second consecutive year of the march, involving countless families in protests about recurring cases of murder and the disappearance of young people during operations in Salvador’s peripheral communities.
The motivation of the public act was to put into practice 2017 Mobilising Support Training in which young people from the Make Trouble Collective participated. The course was promoted by CESE, in partnership with Terre des Hommes (TdH) Schweiz and Terre des Hommes Suisse, with support from Wild Ganzen, within the Change the Game Academy Programme. Twenty young representatives from TdH partner organizations, from three areas of the Brazilian Northeast (Bahia, Pernambuco and Paraíba), attended.
“What drove us to organize the march was a challenge put forward in the Mobilizing Support course. At the time, we discussed our problems but hadn’t thought of a specific activity. So, we decided to create a march which denounced police oppression, a march which sought to construct an Afro-Brazilian quilombo identity for young people’s organizations and organizations that work with young people in the struggle against the violence, extermination and genocide of the black population”, explained Eduardo Machado from the Make Trouble Collective.
At the end of the march, young people came together in São Bartolomeu Park to appreciate the artistic presentations made by the groups. Poetry, dance and hip hop marked the closure of the march with victims’ mothers, family members and friends.
As a result of the training, Eduardo stated that “when a young person studies advocacy, he or she becomes more qualified to confront violence correlated with racism and the patriarchy. That young person then becomes an instrument in combatting these structures”.
For Alexandre Menezes, National Coordinator of Terre des Hommes Schweiz, the Mobilising Support training helped the young people find out how to demand their rights. “Young people are the seeds of the future. If young people have access to skills, to a more critical, political and rigorous view about how to prepare a campaign or how to promote public hearings, this will empower them to attain their rights”.
Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into Extermination
One result is a project passing through the Legislative Assembly of Bahia to create a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (Comissão Parlamentar de Inquérito: CPI) to investigate the extermination of young black people in Bahia. “We were able to initiate this process through advocacy activities: we held four public hearings, three in the Assembly and one for the general population,” said Eduardo, who reported that the Collective is now in a phase of mobilizing state deputies and members of parliament.
“A Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry requires a response from the state and is one of our main goals. Before the end of the year, we will run campaigns to put pressure on members of parliament to approve this CPI, in the same way that we ensured approval of the Racial Equality Statute at municipal level (the Make Trouble Collective also worked on this). The statute was only approved because we put pressure on the [Municipal] Chamber”, asserted a member of the Make Trouble Collective talking about the effects of advocacy activities to strengthen the rights of young black people in Salvador’s Subúrbio Ferroviário neighbourhood.
Data – Black Youth
According to the 2019 Atlas of Violence, produced by the Institute of Applied Economics (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada: IPEA) and the Brazilian Forum on Public Safety, Bahia is one of 15 Brazilian states with above average youth homicide rates. While the rate in Brazil is 69.9 murders for every 100 thousand young people, in Bahia this is 119.8 homicides for the same group.
The study also demonstrates that in 2017, 75.5% of victims of homicides in Brazil were black (the sum of black and mixed race individuals, according to classifications from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics – Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística: IBGE). From 2007 to 2017, the homicide rate for black people rose by 33.1%, while that for white people only increased by 3.3%.
The majority of the incarcerated population in Brazil is also young and black; in 2016 this totalled 726.7 thousand individuals, according to data from the National Survey of Penitentiary Information (Informações Penitenciárias: Infopen). More than half of this population was made up of young people, aged between 18 and 29 years old; 64% were black.
(Contains information from Revista Quilombo)