Paraíba Black Women’s Movement involved in 24th edition of 25 July

With support from CESE’s Small Project Programme, the event was aligned with the 10th Edition of Northeast Black July: strengthening black women’s mobilization!

Black women from the Northeast and Paraíba are strategically aligned with agendas to debate and celebrate 30 years since the creation of 25 July as International Day of Afro-Latin, Afro-Caribbean and Diaspora Women. With support from CESE’s Small Projects Programme, the Paraíba Black Women’s Movement promoted the 2022 Paraíba Afro-feminist Agenda with discussion arenas, activities for exchange and to raise the profile of agendas to defend the rights of black women.

The programme was integrated into the 24th Edition of the 25 July in Paraíba and the 10th Edition of “Northeast Black July: strengthening black women’s mobilization!”. Activities took place in a coalition of forces including a range of groups, organizations and black activists, united around a joint activity and condensed into a protected Afro-feminist Agenda.

One of the programme highlights was the 5th Edition of UYELÊ DAS PRETAS, held on 24 July in the Casa da Pólvora to raise the profile of anti-racist agendas and street culture. This political and cultural activity, organized by the Maria Quitéria Group of Lesbian and Bisexual Women and the Paraíba Black Women’s Movement, aimed to address issues of gender, race, class and sexuality.  The culmination of activities developed throughout the month took place at the 3rd State Meeting of Black Women in Paraíba, held on 29 and 30 July at the Sindicato dos Bancários and bringing together various black women’s movements from around the state.

Paraíba has a long history of celebrating International Day of Afro-Latin, Afro-Caribbean and Diaspora Women.  Twenty-four editions have been held over the 30 years since the continent started to commemorate the date. Terlúcia Silva, Social Worker and member of the Paraíba Black Women’s Movement, looked back over the state’s history of commemorations: “Since 1998, this date has been marked in Paraíba, it has been celebrated, it has a place on the political agendas of the city and the social movements.  When a proposal for Black July emerged from the Odara Institute (Instituto Odara) in Bahia, we, the local organizations that form the Northeast Black Women’s Network, incorporated the date as a strategy.  In the Northeast, there is an extended programme of activities throughout the entire month and, here in Paraíba, we organize an Afro-feminist Agenda with a series of activities proposed by the local black women’s movement.  These are initiatives from different groups, organizations and communities, constituting what we call a protected agenda. The theme of the 30-year landmark was “Black Women in Power: constructing good living.”

“The 25 July plays a very important role in the mobilization and organization of black women here in the state of Paraíba. We have constructed an arena of militancy and activism, bringing black women together from different places around this date. This year, we have prepared a protected agenda with collective activities, such as the retelling of our stories, recognizing the trajectory of black women who work to combat racism in Paraíba, in different areas,” Silva explained.

Street movement – in addition to constituting an arena for the strategic and political organization of black women, the Black July Agenda in Paraíba also provides opportunities for income generation, particularly for black female artisans, who have been so affected by the economic effects of the pandemic.  For this reason, a Black Fair, a roundtable conversation and cultural presentations were all included in the UYELÊ programme.

“In all the North-eastern states, black women have organized street activities. Ours began on Monday 25 July at 2pm with a parade in the Aratu community. This community has a number of problems arising from the social and racial inequality in Brazil.  But it is a community that also has a very strong history of organization.” The agenda closed on Saturday (30) with the Workshop: Affections, disaffections and physical and mental self-care for black women from the African-origin worship houses of Paraíba. The activities involved several Paraíba women’s collectives.

The struggle’s agendas – the aim of the Black July Agenda in Paraíba was to reach a direct audience of 1,200 women and to debate the impact of the current situation in Brazil, including the pandemic, and setbacks to the field of human rights and black women’s rights.  The meetings and activities highlighted black women’s agendas.

“We have seen the return of hunger, of extreme poverty and we have worked very hard here in Paraíba.  The prospects for highlighting how black women have survived and black women’s conditions in Paraíba are some of the agenda issues we have debated.  This year, one of our messages refers to the importance of seeing black women in representation arenas and, at the least, guaranteeing that black women’s agendas appear in the legislative houses and Executive Authorities,” the social worker explained.

One of the movements’ major concerns is the increase in cases of violence perpetrated against black women. “This is violence that affects these bodies and impacts on black women in different ways: domestic violence, femicide, maternal mortality and obstetric racism.  Because of all this, we are highlighting agendas that have affected black women’s lives.”

Partnership – CESE supports the Paraíba Black Women’s Movement to run activities that raise the profile of the agenda of rights and the political agenda during July.

“CESE has been present in perhaps 80% of the 24 editions of Black July in Paraíba. It is a long-standing partner of black women’s organizations here. Without this support, clearly we would still run the activities, but it would be much more difficult. CESE’s support is therefore essential to guaranteeing the scope of the 25 July activities,” Silva confirmed.  Following a period of remote activities due to the pandemic, in-person activities were resumed this year, taking all the necessary precautions for health safety.  “With CESE’s political and material support, which is so necessary at this time, we have been able to run our protected agenda,” she concluded.