After historic demonstrations, Brazil’s president meets with 19 black organizations to discuss policies to advance racial equality

President Dilma Rouseff met with 19 representatives of black organizations to discuss policies for the advancement of racial equality
President Dilma Rouseff met with 19 representatives of black organizations to discuss policies for the advancement of racial equality

Note from BW of Brazil: After the massive protests that took Brazil’s leaders by surprise in June, and a subsequent drop in approval ratings, President Dilma Rouseff has been meeting with various social organizations to discuss demands and improvements that need to be made. At the end of the week, Rouseff met with various representatives of the Movimento Negro, a conglomerate of various organizations that advocate for the rights of black Brazilians throughout the country. Below is a report of what came out of this meeting. 

President received 19 black movement organizations in the Planalto.

by Priscilla Mendes and the Newsroom of Afropress

The Minister of the Secretaria de Políticas de Promoção da Igualdade Racial (Seppir or Secretariat of Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality), Luiza Bairros (1), said on Friday (19) that she plans to deliver by the end of this year a draft decree to establish quotas for blacks in Federal public service. She participated in the Palácio do Planalto (Presidential Palace), in a meeting between President Dilma Rousseff and various Movimento Negro (black movement) organizations.

Luiza Bairros of SEPPIR speaks to the press after a meeting between factions of the Movimento Negro and President Dilma Rouseff in Brasília
Luiza Bairros of SEPPIR speaks to the press after a meeting between factions of the Movimento Negro and President Dilma Rouseff in Brasília

Luiza Bairros said Seppir, together with the Ministry of Planning and the Attorney General’s Office, came to prepare a proposal for quotas to avoid legal questions in the future. According to the minister, by the end of this year the text should be presented to the President, who may or may not sign it.

Seppir asks for a presidential decree to regulate quotas for blacks in public competitions, in commissioned positions, contractors of Federal Executive power and indirect administration entities.

“In government we must seek, in relation to quotas in public service, all the necessary legal security in order that this measure to be taken to the final evaluation of the president,” she said.

During the meeting, according to Bairros, Rousseff reaffirmed that “the issue of affirmative action and more specifically quotas, is a central element in the struggle for equality in Brazil.”

The executive director of Educafro, Frei Davi Santos (2), also attended the meeting and advocated the adoption of quotas in the civil service. “This is a fight of the people who are suffering for 513 years, wanting inclusion. We understand that the quota in the public service is empowerment of people. The more empowerment we have, the more tranquility we’ll have, less violence,” he said.

The president received 19 Movimento Negro organizations, which led demands as the end of the extermination of young blacks and “effective implementation” of the law that requires public and private schools of basic education to teach content related to Afro-Brazilian history and culture. The law has been in force since 2003.

The meeting is part of a round of meetings with social movements that Rousseff and Minister of the General Secretariat, Gilberto Carvalho, have been doing since the outbreak of demonstrations last month. They have received representatives of women, indigenous peoples, youth, and agricultural workers, among others.

The dean of the University of Zumbi dos Palmares, José Vicente , one of two blacks who are part of the Economic Development Council, the Council the Presidency of the Republic, said Thursday (18), after attending the meeting convened by President Dilma Rousseff to mark the 10-year anniversary of the college, he left “less pessimistic.”

“Even so, we remain far short of the ability to pressure that we could have to achieve the goals we need to achieve,” he added. The doctor João Bosco Borba, of Brasília (nation’s capital), president of the Associação dos Empreendedores Afro-Brasileiros (Anceabra or Association of Afro-Brazilian Entrepreneurs) is another leading black civil society representative among the 90 members of the Council.

Frei Davi Sants of Educafro, João Bosco Borba of ANCEABRA and José Vicente of Unipalmares
Frei Davi Sants of Educafro, João Bosco Borba of ANCEABRA and José Vicente of Unipalmares

The meeting was the first after the street demonstrations that spread across the country in June and opened a crisis with the precipitous drop in of the president’s popularity and the government’s approval rating.

According to Vincente, the president reaffirmed commitments that have been the tone of his discourse after the street demonstrations of further changes to meet the demands of society, and in particular, promised to “deepen the fight against inequality between blacks and whites in the country.”

As part of this goal, Dilma, according to Vincente, reaffirmed the willingness to receive black leadership, a strategy adopted by Planalto to resume dialogue with social movements as it did with the LGBT movement and evangelicals. “I still was not invited, but I know that there will be (one),” said Vincent, referring to the meeting.


Attending the meeting, the dean of Unipalmares considers three fundamental points to open the debate with the Government as part of an agenda of interests of the black population.

“It is necessary that the perspective of education adds to a more open labor market for blacks, with incentive and rules in the sense that a public cooperative environment can open up,” he said.

Another point that he believes is a fundamental is a policy of the recuperation of our negra mestiça (mixed race black) aesthetic as opposed to white aesthetics. “The feeling we have is that after the conquest of quotas, this issue must take priority. There is a tendency of the white world to act within the following logic: ‘now you have quotas, (you) stay there, and we stay here.’ This is not good,” he said.


The third point highlighted by Vicente is the empowerment of black people to break into the entrepreneurial market. “The possibility of having an intense focus to put play blacks in the afroétnica (Afro-Ethnic) business area with the involvement of SEBRAE (3), FATECS (4), etc. There is a niche market where young blacks can have a place of intervention and empowerment. It is the only way to consolidate the presence of our young people in the economic and entrepreneurial elite. Otherwise, we’ll see blacks come back with beautiful degrees from UnB (University of Brasília), UERJ (State University of Rio de Janeiro), universities, back to the morros (hills or periphery of the city), to the UPPs (5). What we need is to remain on the asphalt, allowing for the reversal of this disadvantage of blacks,” he said.

According to José Vicente, one of the measures that could be adopted by the government would be a “Programa Ciência Sem Fronteira (Science Without Borders Program)” (the Program of the Federal Government that supplies grants intended for Brazilian students in foreign universities), to enter.” Today we have 800,000 young blacks in universities, summing up those in college because of ProUni (6) and the quotas. If we destine 10% of this total to MBA, masters and doctorates at the universities within the country, we would create a bridge to the labor market. We would we have a black middle class with intellectual capital, to maintain this condition and to broaden their horizons in the next five years in Brazil,” he added.


1. SEPPIR with its minister Luiza Bairros have been spearheading the discussion for the promotion of policies for racial equality for a number of years. It is an agency of the Executive Branch of Brazil. Established by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on March 21, 2003. It aims to promote equality and protection of racial and ethnic groups affected by discrimination and other forms of intolerance, with emphasis on the black population.The first minister of this entity was Matilde Ribeiro. Ribeiro was succeeded by Martvs Antonio Alves das Chagas, Edson Santos, Eloi Ferreira Araújo and finally, on January 1, 2011, Luiza Bairros. A number of articles on this blog feature Bairros and SEPPIR.

2. An NGO organization that prepares black and poor students to take university entrance exams while also giving them lessons about citizenship and black consciousness. A number of articles on this blog feature Educafro or Frei Davi Santos.

3. SEBRAE – Sebrae is part of a system created in 1972 – the Centro Brasileiro de Apoio à Pequena e Média Empresa (Brazilian Center for Support to Small and Medium Enterprise or Cebrae) linked to the Federal Government. Since 1990, the organization became an autonomous social service denominated Serviço Brasileiro de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas – Sebrae or Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises. Formally, it is a civil nonprofit, created by Law No. 8029 on April 12, 1990, regulated by Decree No. 99.570, of October 9, 1990, subsequently amended by Law No. 8154 of December 28,1990.

Sebrae-SP (São Paulo) is an entity that has in its board representatives from the private and public sector. This composition is intended to perfect actions that seek to encourage and promote micro and small enterprises with the policies of economic and social development. It constitutes therefore an institution that prepares micro and small entrepreneurs to obtain the necessary conditions to grow and keep pace in a competitive economy. Source

4. The Faculdade de Tecnologia de São Paulo (FATEC or Faculty of Technology of São Paulo) is a public college of higher education in the Centro Estadual de Educação Tecnológica Paula Souza (Paula Souza State Center of Technological Education). It is Located in the Bom Retiro neighborhood, of São Paulo. It is also commonly known as FATEC Bom Retiro or FATEC Tiradentes, or simply FATEC São Paulo. Source

5. The Pacifying Police Unit (Portuguese: Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora, also translated as Police Pacification Unit), abbreviated UPP, is a law enforcement and social services program pioneered in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which aims at reclaiming territories, more commonly favelas, controlled by gangs of drug dealers. The program was created and implemented by State Public Security Secretary José Mariano Beltrame, with the backing of Rio Governor Sérgio Cabral. The stated goal of Rio’s government is to install 40 UPPs by 2014. Source

6. ProUni or Programa Universidade Para Todos (University for All Program), is a program initiated by the Ministry of Education that distributes partial or full scholarships to students throughout Brazil.

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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