A night marked by the protagonism of black women. So was the meeting this Monday (14th), at the Teatro Dante Barone of the Legislative Assembly of RS, which at its maximum capacity received the Minister of Racial Equality, Anielle Franco, on her first official visit to the state. Earlier, the minister participated in a meeting with popular movements at the Salão de Atos of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Ufrgs), guiding the revision of the Quota Law, the fight against gender-based political violence and investigations into the murder of her sister , former Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco, who died in 2018. She was also received by Governor Eduardo Leite (PSDB), at the Piratini Palace.
Promoted by the mandate of federal deputy Daiana Santos (PCdoB/RS), the conversation circle entitled “Current challenges of black women in power” was held in allusion to July of Black women. The minister was accompanied by Daiana Santos, as well as federal deputies from Rio Grande do Sul Reginete Bispo and Denise Pessoa, both from the PT, as well as state deputies Bruna Rodrigues (PCdoB) and Laura Sito (PT).
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Opening her speech, Anielle saluted her ancestors and said she was proud to be stepping on the land of Luiza Bairros (chief minister of the Secretariat for Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality in Brazil between 2011 and 2014). The minister gave an account of her sister’s trajectory and the support she had in the family, as well as the clashes after being elected.
“We had little money to run the campaign. It was a challenging campaign, as it is for many who are here, and many who are also thinking of joining. There was the whole budget challenge and, in addition to the budget challenge, there were sometimes internal disputes, which is difficult for us to talk about, but we have to talk, very carefully, very cautiously”, he explained.
After being elected, continued the minister, Marielle’s mandate was marked by clashes, her orientation, her clothes, her hair. “I’m doing these three moments because, when I think about the challenge, I can never stop imagining what women go through when they decide to run for office. Because it’s the before, during and after. But with Marielle it was much worse, because it was a difficult campaign, a year or so into her term, also very difficult, and they killed her. And every year there’s an election, they try to kill my sister again. When Marielle was murdered with five shots to the head, three to the body, on the same night I received the first fake news from my sister”, she reported.
:: Minister of Racial Equality comes to RS to discuss anti-racist struggle and challenges of black women in power ::
According to her, “the current challenges are many, starting with staying alive”. Therefore, she defends the need to support each other. “These girls need to be re-elected, they need to stay alive, they need to have self-care, a support network. Bruna talks about everyday feminism, how difficult it is to be in this place, I have two daughters, one aged seven and the other six. huge, they are huge, but they will be much worse if we don’t keep electing black people.”
In her intervention, the minister cited black writers such as Maya Angelou, Vilma Piedade, bell hooks and Audre Lorde, as examples of how to strengthen herself. Speaking of one of her political references, federal deputy Benedita da Silva, questioned why, with 40 years on the road, she was never considered to be president of the country.
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“Our fight has to be collective”
“They have a project, we have another project. The project that we defend is that no black mother mourns the death of her son or daughter. So that what happened to Eloá, to Thiago, 13 years old, from Rio de Janeiro, the massacres in Bahia, the massacres in São Paulo, does not happen. No student out of school, school closed,” she said.
For her, unfortunately, it is a moment of great hatred. However, it is also a lot of work. “We will need to raise awareness among many people. Next year there will be another election year and we will need to be on the side of those who will be on the front line. It will need to make bodies available for this battle to travel the country, to be together, to protect. I don’t wish what happened to my sister to anyone inside here. I don’t wish anyone what I heard and what I still hear from my mother saying ‘I don’t have the will to live anymore’. I want to keep fighting, but I can’t do it alone”, she said. At that moment, the audience sang in chorus “companion, help me, I can’t walk alone, I walk well alone, but with you I walk better”.
The minister also spoke of the ministry’s work with other ministries such as Education, Personal Development, Human Rights, among others. “Our fight has to be collective. I’m entering my best, following in the footsteps of those who came before me. I hope we can elect a black bench in every place in this country. I hope our mothers don’t have to cry anymore. That’s why we are here to fight for better days, for more dignified days. So that we can implement a country project that is still in progress. And they need to understand that we are not going to back down, we are not going to lower our heads, we are not going to go back and we are not going to allow them to continue killing our sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and so many other people that we love in this place.”
Before the conversation wheel, the minister answered the press. Asked about the review of the recently approved quota law, and about people staying at the university, Anielle said that it was a historic moment, given the fear that people had with Congress in the way it is composed. She pointed out that the ministry wanted to make more points and talk more about the question of permanence.
“When we talk about permanence, we have to be with the budget and we have to be together with the MEC for this to be carried out. It is impossible for us to think about racial quotas without thinking about the permanence of all peoples because the quota is already social and always has been. And one of the proofs of this great advance is that we managed to reduce it to one minimum wage and a half to one. And also thinking about all racial issues, from ethnic groups, to indigenous people, quilombolas, was essential. It was a multi-hand joint,” he stated.
As he emphasized, there is no way to think about quotas without thinking about permanence. “Our biggest challenge with quotas is this, you enter and how you maintain. In addition to everything from transport, the impressions you need to make there, to food. Now it’s time for us to tune in”, he pointed out.
On the question of the representation of black women in power, and the meeting with the vice president of Colombia, Francia Márquez, Anielle said that it was a historic moment, beyond the exchanges in Latin America, of strengthening the fight against political violence. The minister reported that she rances, daily lives in political violence.
“She has been threatened since the campaign, lost family members due to political violence. It’s no wonder that when we talk about combating political violence, more of us are at a table like this. But in addition to getting there, we need to take care of these women so that they remain. This has been a line since I was at the head of the Marielle Franco Institute, from 2020 until now. Because Mari is, unfortunately, that apex of political violence, but not isolated. Because after that comes a growing hatred, polarization and attacks on these parliamentarians, of the most diverse kind, not only here in the south, but so many others who continue to fight firmly for this.”
She also mentioned the issue involving deputy Benedita da Silva (PT/RJ), who with her 40 years of political experience until recently could not name what she suffered as political violence, but who since her first term was a victim of it. “If we think about her, she was a senator, governor, is now a deputy and still experiences violence. Not only from people cursing or booing, as happened to her this year, but also from dealing with racism itself, which is not only structural, it is organizational, institutional, and so many others. And we increasingly need to encourage black women to reach these spaces. Not only because we want to, but because the agendas with our bodies need to have this type of women to be able to debate and guide what we really deserve, with dignity, with access, with protagonism and so many other things.”
Regarding the questioning of the quilombola student movement, which recently criticized the law passed on the non-specification of specific criteria for the quilombola population, the minister pointed out that there were many revisions to the law. “What could not happen was not pass, this setback could not have. Now I think it is definitely up to understanding what the demands are and walking together, because it has to be collectively, there is no way.”
When asked about confrontations with environmental racism, Anielle commented that the team recently returned from the Amazon Summit. “First point, after the Quilombola Census, which took 150 years to come out, now there is a real number of how many quilombolas we have. There in the Black Amazon we have a third of that number. So, out of 1.3 million, we have a third there. And then we sat down with the Secretariat for Racial Equality and Human Rights to think about this Black Amazon and the Legal Amazon. We founded a committee to help them, including with this data now, demands, how many are titled and how many are not, ”she said.
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Finally, he spoke of the Aquilomba Brasil project and its operationalization and securitization. The minister pointed out that Aquilomba is an update of the Brasil Quilombola program. “We know it’s not easy to start. When we think about titling, we have a whole process, a whole apparatus behind it. My goal was to get out of this government by titling 300 quilombos. It’s not impossible, but for that I know, it’s going to be a whole transversal articulation so that people are also aware, because it requires budget. And we are moving towards that. The first meeting I had before becoming a minister was with Conaq (National Coordination for Quilombo Articulation). We have already toured more than 20 states with Aquilomba Brasil”, she said.
Also according to Anielle, within Aquilomba there is Abre Caminhos, to combat religious intolerance, and Pensar a Educação for quilombolas. “Our goal is that now in the second half of the year we can start more. Our goal this year was 10, we have already done five”, he revealed, counting that the expectation is that the number will be reached by November of this year.
Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul
Editing: Marcelo Ferreira