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9th year of Black Women’s July – Black Women Outline the Solution to Brazil Genocide!

In its ninth year the theme of Black Women’s July is “Black Women Outline the Solution to Brazil Genocide!”  By choosing this year’s theme, the black women’s movement is drawing attention to the genocide that has taken place in Brazil since long before the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world and arrived in our country – the genocide of the black population.  For its part, the pandemic has intensified Brazilian State violence against black men and women.

Holders of large capital and power allied to the Brazilian State have used the climate of public disaster to intensify violent police action in peripheral neighbourhoods, to invade quilombola and indigenous communities, to normalize the existence of hunger in a country so rich in natural resources, not to accept cases of domestic violence and not to follow judgements in cases of femicide and other forms of violence.

In the face of so many losses and deepening inequalities, Mônica Oliveira, member of the Network of Black Women from the Northeast (Rede de Mulheres Negras do Nordeste) and one of the coordinators of Black Women’s July, describes the importance of the theme: “It is, more than anything, a reassertion of black women’s capacity to tackle the most distinct oppressions with mobilization, creativity, competence and daring.  We are the black women who’ve been at the forefront of different strategic struggles, asserting that we will not let our families die, not from bullets, not from hunger, not from COVID!  We don’t want to merely survive, we want to live!”

Through the theme, Black Women’s July is seeking to affirm that black women, organized political subjects in all spheres of Brazilian society, are reflecting on and outlining solutions for Brazil, based on the anti-racist, anti-patriarchal, anti-capitalist struggle and for Good Living!

Black Women’s July is a political advocacy strategy based on a joint and proactive agenda from the black women’s movements of Bahia, the Northeast Region and other states, including Paraná, Pará, Amapá, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and the Federal District, aimed at strengthening black women’s agendas and organizations.

Conceived in 2013 by Odara – the Black Women’s Institute (Odara – Instituto da Mulher Negra), Black Women’s July celebrates 25 July, International Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women’s Day, as well as National Tereza de Benguela and Black Women’s Day.  Every year, the black women’s movement from the Northeast Region, through the Network of Black Women from the Northeast and in dialogue with the Network of Black Brazilian Women’s Organizations (Articulação de Organizações de Mulheres Negras: AMNB), come together to choose the region’s theme for Black Women’s July, in response to the main political challenges black women face at the time.

CESE, an ecumenical organization that works in the promotion, defence and guarantee of rights, identifies and recognizes the existence of environmental, institutional and structural racism in the historic construction of the Brazilian State and society. For this reason, CESE has been a partner of this initiative since its first year: understanding that this is an important tool to strengthen black women’s organizations, to provide visibility for the struggle and for political advocacy.

For Rosana Fernandes, CESE Projects and Training Advisor, black women have been on the front line for the right to freedom and for dignified living conditions for black people since the diaspora.  “There have been no few battle lines and no few who have fallen.  Black Women’s July provides continuity to this agenda for struggle, for visibility for the atrocities experienced by the black population in this country.  But this is also an agenda for strengthening and directing the women’s movement, against Violence, Racism, Sexism and for Good Living! We continue to march onwards”, she declared.

Through its Small Projects Programme, CESE encourages reflection and practice to strengthen and debate gender and race agendas.  Its support to Black Women’s July reinforces CESE’s approach to self-construction through projects and training, in line with its Institutional Racial Equity Policy, established in 2019.