In popular, anti-racist and collective campaigns distributed throughout Brazil, women build a “black wave” to strengthen the inclusion and access to the rights of this population. Meet some of them
São Paulo - Two years ago, human rights activist Mônica Cunha felt “orphaned by representativeness”. Since the night of March 14, 2018, when Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman Marielle Franco (Psol) was murdered, no other black woman the progressive camp has occupied any of the 51 seats on the floor of the Rio de Janeiro City Council. There, the majority are white men. The 10th House legislature comes to an end with an impatient Monica. "We can no longer wait to see this end", he laments. The activist's urgency now, however, has a deadline: next November 15, the date set for the first round of municipal elections.
At 54, Mônica is a pre-candidate for councilor of Rio, also for Psol, to face the barriers of underrepresentation, racism and machismo. The same hope moves other black women, like her, and also indigenous people. Spread across Brazil, they are vying for a place in the Chambers of their municipalities.
This Thursday (23), Oxfam Brasil and the Afrolatinas Institute held a live with eight pre-candidates. All were chosen based on criteria of regional and party diversity, and are in different age groups. A necessary debate, they say. “Not a confrontational debate. But of valuing the candidates' trajectories and proposals ”, says Oxfam's program coordinator, Tauá Pires.
"We understand that the moment of crisis increases the importance of strengthening initiatives that have black women as protagonists so that they present their plans and dreams to society as a whole", he adds.
“Debate we want” with the pre-candidates for councilors in different states of Brazil
Place of speech is in politics
Mother of three black and male children, Mônica took part in the social struggle to understand what made her, her own mother and grandmother, all mothers of children killed by the State. Now he wants to show that the daily routine of violence should not exist for women and the black population.
“As the founder of the Moleque Movement, almost 18 years ago, we were hard-pressed to create an anti-racist education to understand why our children were imprisoned and murdered. I resolve, due to the mothers' appeal, to be in this place as a pre-candidate, because I understand that our voices need to be echoed. As Marielle said, we have to occupy this place because it also belongs to us ”, highlights Mônica.
The fight for gender equity, in defense of the environment, education, housing policy, among other guidelines common to the popular field, are also present in the proposals of the other seven candidates. But, above all, there is a difference in thinking about a project that is for everyone, despite the restricted interests of whiteness.
Read more: ‘If there is anything new in Brazil, it will come the black movement’, says Douglas Belchior
Lack of representativeness
In the collective struggle, they add up to a quarter of the Brazilian population, or 25.38% of that total, but occupy only 3% of the seats in parliament. In the last municipal elections, only 32 black women were elected. And they will still close the mandate with 31, after the political execution of Marielle.
Known on the agenda in defense of the right to education since the 1980s, in Minas Gerais, when she struggled to ensure the inclusion of the children of the poorest and the black population in schools, educator Macaé Maria Evaristo dos Santos, 55, recalls that all this exclusion institutional policy has a direct impact on quality of life. Now evidenced by the “abyss worsened” by the health crisis.
“We are the ones who work in outsourced jobs, in situations of unemployment and informal employment, and who are strongly impacted by this pandemic. It is our children who are excluded the right to education ”, he describes. “That is why we need to create a‘ black wave ’in this electoral process. Fundamentally, a black wave to strengthen the need for inclusion and access to the rights of the black population ”, proposes Macaé, who is a pre-candidate for the PT in Belo Horizonte.
For anti-racist elections
“It is important for us to determine that whiteness is a system and our applications are anti-systemic. We are in a process - as the indigenous struggle says - of retaking political territories that were taken us in these 500 years of colonization and silencing of our struggles ”. This is what the History teacher, literacy teacher and popular lawyer Danielle Portela emphasizes. Daughter of democracy, as she usually presents herself, she is 45 years old and is a candidate for councilor for Psol in Recife.
According to the organization of the virtual debate, Pernambuco was the state with the largest number of registrations with black candidates at. A growth that is also occurring in other regions. The rise, however, does not reflect less barriers. Historically, leaders and movements have questioned the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) about the implementation of quotas for blacks in financing. In addition to longer electoral propaganda time and division of the female quota of the electoral fund.
In these elections, the Marielle Franco Institute, through the Pane Antirracista platform, has also been demanding the same demands to boost black candidates. “There is an absence of public policies”, comments Danielle.
At 37, the educator and pre-candidate in the municipality of São Cristóvão, in Sergipe, Renata Mendonça points out the effects of the lack of representation in her city, the fourth oldest in Brazil. According to her, the entire cultural, historical, sociological and religious exhibition remains “despite past and current (MDB) management”. “We are in need of people who really represent minorities. We only see the elites commanding and disempowering, without achieving that improvement in inequality or in better conditions for our municipalities ”, he says.
Youth in the fight
Inspired by the collective mandates that won the 2018 elections for the first time, such as Juntas, in the Legislative Assembly of Pernambuco, and the Bancada Ativista, in São Paulo, three black and young women are also in the electoral dispute.
This is the case of the illustrator and activist Letícia Carvalho who, at the age of 23, composes the plate Revolução Preta, by Psol, in Jaboatão dos Guararapes, in Pernambuco. A mandate formed only by black women, LGBT, peripheral and mothers. As well as the cultural producer Michelle Andrews, 35 years old, pre-candidate for councilor by the Colegio Coletivo do Psol in Manaus. And the history student, known for fighting the student movement, Renata Moara, 22 years old. Renata will compete for the election by the Feminist Collective Juntas do Psol, in Santarém, Pará.
Indigenous woman and sociologist by training, Pagu Rodrigues, 34 years old, competes for the PT in São Paulo. Through her experience as a parliamentary advisor in the Chamber, she recounts in the debate having already “witnessed the non-representativeness that São Paulo has. There are 55 councilors and not even 20% are women ”, he criticizes. "We have to carry out this project to combat structures".