Lawyer Vera Lúcia Santana Araújo, who had a legal career and activism in social movements in the Federal District, received support from the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy (ABJD) to take up the vacancy that will open at the Federal Supreme Court (STF) after her retirement by minister Rosa Weber. Vera Lúcia said that she receives the support with “a lot of pride” and also “a lot of responsibility”.
ABJD published a letter of support for Vera Lúcia and addressed it to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT). If appointed by the President of the Republic, it will be the first time that the highest court of the Brazilian Judiciary will have a black woman as one of its 11 members. The lawyer also has the support of other organizations, such as the Frente Negra de Mulheres do Distrito Federal and Surrounding Area.
:: Association of jurists defends Vera Lúcia Araújo for the vacancy left by Rosa Weber in the STF ::
In an interview with Brasil de Fato DF, Vera Lúcia highlighted her history of work in the black, student, feminist and trade union movements and also in the structuring of the Workers’ Party (PT) in the Federal District.
Brasil de Fato DF – The first question is: how did you receive the support of the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy and other organizations that want to see you as minister of the STF?
Vera Lúcia Araújo – Look, I receive this support with a lot of emotion, a lot of pride, for representing a collective history, which is the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy and also understanding the legitimacy of the nomination of this postulation of a black jurist in the Federal Supreme Court. It’s been a very rich and very exciting process, one of great pride, especially because it is the result of something that is collective.
The defense of having a black woman on the STF has been raised not only by black people. In your opinion, how important is it for white people to engage in this fight for more representation of the black population in spaces of power?
I think this support is very important. For example, in the case of the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy, it ends up bringing together the entire segment of legal training across all careers, but also because it is a racially plural entity.
Has there been progress in people’s perception of this subject?
I understand that yes, there has been an advance in perception. A very keen and critical political awareness of how unequal Brazil is, precisely because it is based on racial exclusion. This is because Brazilian inequality is organized based on racism. It was organized based on black slavery and to this day it is organized with the exclusion of black people from enjoying the wealth they work and produce. So, this perception and this engagement in an anti-racist agenda shows the advancement of the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy itself.
Brazilian inequality is organized based on racism
In more than 200 years of history, the STF has never had a black woman. How important would this advance be?
Only racism explains this systematic exclusion. This political determination not to have black and women representation in all spheres of power, including the Judiciary from the Federal Supreme Court itself.
And this is everyone’s understanding that Brazil will never be a real democracy as long as it maintains the racial exclusion that currently operates.
:: Entities demand appointment of black jurist to the STF ::
In addition to the weight that your name represents for the racial issue, especially the issue of black women, I would like you to talk a little about your experiences in the struggles of social movements in general.
I have a history that always reinforces that it is collective and involves social movements and the right to democracy, acting mainly from a legal point of view. I started doing politics in social movements as a high school student in Bahia and then here in Brasília in the fight for democratization. So, I participated in the founding of the Workers’ Party here in DF. Also the organization of trade unionism here in Brasília, in helping to form rural workers’ unions here in the surrounding areas of DF. My entire life has been marked by involvement in social movements.
My entire life has been marked by involvement in social movements.
And how important is this history for the position?
I think it is important to have this political experience close to social and representation movements. For example, I was very active in the fight for political representation in the DF, which was the result of the struggle of social movements. I also worked at times for Diretas Já (for the end of the dictatorship). So, I always had a very active participation in this whole process of my formation for democracy, in all of them without distinction. She also had a history of working in feminist organizations, being part of the first feminist organization in the DF, which was Brasília Mulher. So, this fight for women’s rights, as well as the fight against racism and democracy are part of my essence too.
:: Entities launch petition for nomination of black minister to the STF ::
Lawyer Vera Lúcia was born in Livramento de Nossa Senhora (BA) and developed a professional and political career through social movements in the Federal District, where she worked in the private and public spheres of law, including holding legal positions within the federal public administration. and DF.
Araújo also served as an advisor to the Political Amnesty Commission of the Ministry of Justice, an advisor to the Penitentiary Council of the Federal District and was a member of the National Human Rights Commission of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB).
Among the functions carried out by Vera Lúcia is public management as director of the Palmares Cultural Foundation, president of the Fundação de Amparo ao Trabalhador Preso do Distrito Federal and deputy secretary of Policies for Racial Equality of the Federal District.
As an activist in the black movement, she worked in the Unified Black Movement (MNU) and is currently part of the Black Women’s Front of the Federal District.
In 2022, Vera Araújo was the first woman nominated on the triple list for a vacancy on the Superior Electoral Court (TSE). The nomination was made by the STF plenary and sent to then president Jair Bolsonaro (PL), who did not nominate her for the vacancy.
Source: BdF Distrito Federal
Editing: Márcia Silva