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BLACK WOMEN’S NATIONAL MEETING REGISTERS HISTORICAL MOMENT AFTER 30 YEARS

About 1,000 activists from the black women’s movements gathered in Goiânia (GO) from 6th to 9th of December for the National Meeting of Black Women 30th Anniversary: Against Racism and Violence and for the Well Being – Black Women Move Brazil.

This edition of the Meeting, which was held for the first time in 1988, in Valença (RJ) engenders another historical moment in the trajectory of black women’s movements in Brazil, attracting activists from the countryside and the city, from the peripheries, from quilombos (traditional African-Brazilian populations), women from traditional African Brazilian religion, domestic workers, young people and people of all ages.

“To be here 30 years later and be able to celebrate with a meeting of black women in the heart of the country, in the center-west, is dignifying”, says Iêda Leal, national coordinator of the Unified Black Movement and one of the coordinators of the National Meeting. “We have come here to reaffirm what Lélia [Gonzáles], Beatriz [Nascimento] have already spoken a lot, which is about our responsibility with the other. We will continue to reaffirm our responsibility to each other and the care, the care we need to have with each other. We do not have to walk alone. We have to walk together, the collective is fundamental”, she ponders.

 Dialogue tables

The event gathered several activities, such as dialogue tables, health space and entrepreneurship fair. The Luiza Mahim Black Art and Culture Fair was attended by 55 exhibitors from different parts of the country, including quilombola entrepreneurs.

On Saturday (08) morning, the Dialogue Panel “Bodies and territories under attack – reactions and visions of confronting racism, violence and for the well-being: young people, LBT’S, quilombolas, African Brazilian Traditional religions, incarcerated women, mothers and family of victims” brought together black women from various social backgrounds to address the rights violations they experience in their trajectories.

From Rio de Janeiro, Mônica Cunha represented the mothers and relatives of murdered youth. “I thought I was only going to cry in pain when the state took my son 12 years ago. The State just did not imagine that the pain was going to become a fight “, ascertains the mother of Rafael Cunha. She went on, reflecting on the historical significance of the event. “The emancipation is being made from the recognition of our stories. In 30 years, whoever is here will not be laying statistics on murders.” And she called the audience, shouting: “Marielle, present! Rafael Cunha, present “, followed by greetings of “axé” from the crowd.

“I do not want other teens to go through what I’ve been through. You all, let’s get together! If one rises, lifts the other. Today, I left the streets and do you know how happy am I? Meeting black companions who support each other, as here today. And I owe it all to Maria Lucia, coordinator of the Street Population Movement”,  says an emotional  Sheila Maloca, from the Street Population Movement and the Renfa – National Network of Feminist Antiprohibitionists, also applauded by the public, who recalled the memory of her mother, the street rights activist Maria Lúcia Pereira, who died in early 2018.

Addressing the field of religious intolerance, Ângela Gomes stressed in her speech how, without the African Brazilian traditional religions, Brazil would not exist and point out the persecutions that have been carried out against them. “These years of terror to the terreiros (religion´s shrines, equivalent to temples or churches) are a shame. Equal rights, love, affection and respect are ethical visions that should pass through all religions. ”

The program followed on Saturday afternoon (8), with the Dialogue “Strengthening the struggle of black women: perspectives and challenges in the light of global conjunctures.” For Flávia Oliveira, a journalist from “O Globo” newspaper, the scenario is much clouded. Flexibility of the labor market, militarization, and scheduled ministries cut-off   were pointed out as already announced components of the elected president’s agenda. Looking to the future, Flávia Oliveira projects that black women will be the most affected by the public policies that will be implemented in the coming years. But it also puts on the scale the importance and symbolism of the power of black women, who through their pressures were decisive for the implementation of important public policies like the People’s Pharmacy, Bolsa Família (Brazilian social welfare program).  “We have ancestry to organize ourselves, finance our sisters, transfer money among us, build our community networks”, the journalist points out.

Realization

The meeting is put together by organizations of the black women’s movement, with a partnership of the CESE, Fundo Elas, MPT and UN Women. On CESE support, Iêda Leal, one of the coordinators of the National Meeting, stresses that this was fundamental. “Because they took one look and believed in this project, a project that was born in March at the World Social Forum, when we were able to dialogue with some serious institutions of this country that understood that this was a moment to bet on this reorganization of black women.”

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