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How to empower the black and feminist movements from grassroots?

After three years of living together, experiences that empowered the organization of the black and women’s movement from grassroots in the North and Northeast of Brazil, more than 20 women met in Recife to show the world that self-organization is the most radical tool that women can do to face everything that oppresses and exploits them.

At this moment, when the progressive political field in Brazil faces huge organizational challenges, the CESE (Ecumenical Service Coordination) and the SOS Corpo — Feminist Institute for Democracy, promoted, through a great reunion of activists, a debate about the strengthening of the black and women’s movements from grassroots. They were in Recife for the launch of the book that systematizes the experiences of more than 82 organizations from the North and Northeast in the last three years.

Despite all the political difficulties they face, from 2015 to 2017, the black and grassroots women’s movement has grown. In 2015, large mobilizations of women took place in Brasilia: Margaridas March, with more than 70 thousand women, and the Black Women’s March, which gathered about 30 thousand. Those mobilizations emphasized the strength of those women united in resistance not only for the Brazilian population, but mainly for the movement itself.

The publication documents several organizations that were created as a result of this process: the local articulations, such as the Black Women’s Network of Pernambuco and the Black Women’s Network of Rio Grande do Norte; as well as regional networks such as the Black Women’s of the Northeast Network and the Fulanas Network, which brings together several organizations from the north region.

Part of this process was supported by the action which was the base to several strategies developed and proposed by the same women from the sustained organizations, who also participated in the political formation, acts, dialogues, seminars and other public activities. Organizations, non-formal groups, collective groups, forums and women’s initiatives were supported in mixed groups in the North and Northeast, rural and city. For one of the coordinators of the project, Silvia Camurça (SOS Corpo), self-organization is the most radical tool that women can do to face everything that oppresses and exploits them.

The book’s proposal is to disseminate the knowledge produced by and about those women, in addition to provoke the debate about the challenges for their permanence and protagonism in the Brazilian political arena. The publication gives voice to the participants-subjects through different ways: in the form of their own texts, thoughts collected in the debates which integrate the elaboration built by the partners from the organizations that were willing to be co-authors. Quilombola women, indigenous women, fisherfolk, rural workers, shell-fishers, coconut breakers, artisans and urban activists from the periphery,  also write poems, songs and report on their own way about feminism and tell about the practices and strategies of activism they practice.

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