20 years ago, the National Human Rights Program was established in Brazil, which included the fight against racism as one of its priorities. Since then, several public policies have been implemented with the aim of promoting racial equality. The date was celebrated by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), this Tuesday (21), at an event at the Planalto Palace.
“No country in the world will be a democracy while the color of people’s skin determines the opportunities they will have throughout their lives”, explained the PT, who was in his first term at the head of the country, when he promoted a series of public policies who turn 20 in 2023.
One of the first actions was the sanction of Law 10,639, on January 9, 2003, the inaugural year of Lula’s first government. The legislation made the teaching of Afro-Brazilian and African history and culture mandatory in primary and secondary schools throughout the country. The law was an important achievement of the black movement and a response to demands for recognition and appreciation of black history and culture in Brazil.
:: Law that includes Afro-Brazilian history and culture in basic education 20 years ago ::
Then, in March of that year, came the creation of the Special Secretariat for Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality (SEPPIR), which was responsible for coordinating policies for the promotion of racial equality and implementing affirmative actions in several areas, such as education, health, work and culture.
Another important public policy was the creation of racial quotas in public universities, which began in 2001 with the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) and expanded to other state and federal institutions of higher education.
Racial quotas were fundamental to expand the access of young black men and women to higher education, who were historically excluded from this opportunity. Including the current Minister of Seppir, Anielle Franco, who spoke at the event.
“I was a racial quota holder at Uerj, with great pride. My generation was strengthened by these measures and, as a result, this country has never seen an Esplanada dos Ministérios as black as it was in 2023. But there are still few of us, we need much more. Together, we we are 56% of this country”, said Franco.
:: ‘There is no other reparation law greater than that of Quotas today’, says minister Anielle Franco ::
In addition to quotas, other affirmative actions were also implemented, such as the reservation of vacancies for blacks in public tenders, the adoption of policies to value black culture and the creation of the Statute of Racial Equality, which recognizes racial discrimination as a crime and establishes guidelines for the promotion of equality.
Thrilled, Anielle Franco celebrated the former heads of the secretariat she commands. “There is no doubt that these 20 years were the most representative in history for the black population. Deep roots generate very strong trees, like Seppir. The federal government placed the urgency of combating racism at the center of its management.”
New measurement package
At the event, Lula announced a series of public policies to be implemented by Seppir, in transversal actions with other ministries. “This is a government open to dialogue with civil society, the black monument and human rights movements. Rebuilding this country and creating increasingly inclusive public policies is an obligatory task,” said the president.
Lula signed five decrees: reserving vacancies in commission positions in the federal public administration; that creates the working group for the new national affirmative action program; which forms the working group for the Plano Juventude Negra Viva; and founding the working group to confront religious racism.
Finally, the president signed the land title of quilombolas, represented by the communities Brejo dos Crioulos (MG), Lagoa dos Campinhos (SE) and Serra da Guia (SE).
Editing: Nicolau Soares
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