The Court of Justice of São Paulo (TJ-SP) granted this Friday (26) an injunction that suspends the name change of a future station on line 2-Green of the São Paulo Metro. The Tarcísio de Freitas government (Republicans) announced, in March of this year, that the station scheduled to be named after Paulo Freire, patron of Brazilian education and the name of the avenue on which it is being built, would have its name changed to Fernão Dias, a pioneer from São Paulo involved with indigenous slavery.
The popular action, filed by state deputy Ediane Maria (PSOL), pointed out the illegality of the nomination. According to the decision of the judge Maria Fernanda de Toledo Rodovalho, the exchange violates federal law nº 12.781/13 – which prohibits tributes to slave-owning personalities -, among other legal texts, including the Constitution. Another point highlighted in the decision (read here) was the dissociation between the name and location of the station.
In Ediane Maira’s assessment, the decision is an achievement for society as a whole. “We are in a Brazil where plural voices are raised against all kinds of prejudice and discrimination. It is impossible, in the middle of 2023, to honor a historical personality related to the exploitation of indigenous and black people in Brazil. We have legal provisions and we are signatories of international commitments that are vehemently against this type of tribute”, highlighted the deputy.
:: Understand how the botched abolition of slavery perpetuates inequalities and lack of rights ::
Simone Nascimento, member of the coordination of the Unified Black Movement, highlights the anti-racist nature of the decision. “It is also an anti-racist victory. Honoring Fernão Dias is problematic, a pioneer who helped to enslave and kill black and indigenous people in our country’s bloody past. Cities must be educators and to continue reinforcing this history is to remain a legacy of racism”, stated.
The popular action argued that the memory of indigenous people murdered by Fernão Dias should be respected, based on the Federal Constitution and on legislation such as the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance and Federal Laws nº 12.781/13 – which prohibits tributes to people known for exploiting slave labor in public goods – and nº 12.288/10, which created the Statute of Racial Equality.
Freire x Dias
Patron of Brazilian education, Paulo Freire (1921-1997) is considered one of the world’s leading educators. His main book, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, is among the 100 most cited works in English, according to Google Scholar, a platform dedicated to scientific production.
Under the government of Jair Bolsonaro (PL), the intellectual became the target of constant attacks by the then president and his supporters. Still during the presidential campaign, Bolsonaro stated that he intended to exclude Freire’s methods from schools.
The bandeirante Fernão Dias (1608-1681) had a trajectory linked to the exploitation of indigenous peoples. The future station is expected to be built at a point on Avenida Educador Paulo Freire, in the city of São Paulo, close to the Fernão Dias highway.
Editing: Nicolau Soares
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