The Brazilian Ministry of Racial Equality, recreated by the new government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party), is headed by Anielle Franco, who defended the significance of the Racial Quotas Law in the country by affirming that it is the most important at the moment focusing on the reparation Brazil owes to its Black population.
“The Racial Quotas Law is one of the greatest reparations (to the Black and Indigenous peoples) in the country. I’m the result of it. I attended the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ, in Portuguese), which I am proud of and talk about frequently. I’m gonna repeat it again and again. I thank President Lula because there isn’t another reparation law as great as Racial Quotas today in the country,” the minister stated during an interview with the TV show Brasil em Pauta, broadcast on Sunday (5) by TV Brazil.
Last August, the Racial Quotas Law celebrated ten years.
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According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE, in Portuguese), between 2010 and 2019, the total number of Black people in Brazilian universities increased by 400 percent. The 2018 Higher Education Census of the National Institute of Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira (Inep, in Portuguese) shows that Indigenous participation in Higher Education rose by 842 percent between 2010 and 2017.
“When the Racial Quotas Law was created, Brazil already had reservation programs focusing on the Black population in 80 percent of the country’s public universities. The pioneer was the State University of Rio de Janeiro, which adopted this model in 2003.”
The law was the result of the Black people’s struggle and was elaborated by them. In 1983, then senator Abdias do Nascimento presented Bill 1,332, which provided for the creation of 20 percent quotas for women and Black individuals in the public service and universities.
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In the interview with TV Brasil, Anielle Franco recalled that, despite the positive consequences of the law being attested by numbers after over a decade since its publication, it is still common to hear negative comments about Racial Quotas. According to the minister, it has been happening since the implementation of the law, in 2012.
“In 2012, when I started college, there were still a lot of people who said, ‘Oh, the Racial Quotas Law doesn’t work’, or that ‘Quota students aren’t able to follow classes.’ I lived 12 years in the US, so I speak English fluently, and it was great because, once I was at college, I proved that these comments weren’t real,” she recalled.
Minister Anielle Franco appointed sociologist Márcia Lima to the Department for Affirmative Action Policies and Combating and Overcoming Racism.
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Anielle is Marielle Franco’s sister, the Rio de Janeiro city councilor murdered in March 2018. Currently, two men accused of being Marielle’s killers are in prison.
Nevertheless, the case still lacks crucial pieces of information, such as the reason for the crime and the names of those accountable for planning the murders. Marielle’s driver, Anderson Gomes, was also killed that same day.
Edited by: Flávia Chacon and Lucas Weber
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