Note from BW of Brazil: In the tenth annual edition of the March of the Day of Black Consciousness, the militancy and demands of the black population once again lit up Avenida Paulista. If you’ve followed this blog for amount of time, you will be familiar with many of the issues and demands of this year’s march. The demands of the Afro-Brazilian population were articulated by Movimento Negro militant Douglas Belchior, who recently contributed to an excellent article about Brazil’s top TV network’s total disrespect of the Month of Black Consciousness. Report and great photos below (Also see festivities in Rio and Salvador).
Movimento Negro takes to the streets on Wednesday for the fight against racism
from the newsroom of Rede Brasil Atual
In São Paulo, the concentration of the march started at 11am from MASP, and the progression followed at 2:30 with a march to the Praça da República (República Square)
The memory of Zumbi, the last leader of the Quilombo dos Palmares, one of the greatest symbols of resistance to slavery in Brazil, was again exalted on Wednesday (20) – the Day of Black Consciousness – when the Movimento Negro of São Paulo took to the streets in the fight for public policies to combat racism and combating violence against the youth.
The theme of the March of the Black Consciousness, which completed ten years this year, is “Por um Brasil sem racismo. A juventude quer viver (For a Brazil without racism. The youth want to live).” The concentration of 10th March of the Black Consciousness of São Paulo began at 11am at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP or Art Museum of São Paulo), on Avenida Paulista. The march left at 2:30 to the Praça da República downtown.
According to Douglas Belchior, member of the União de Núcleos de Educação Popular para Negras/os e Classe Trabalhadora (Uneafro or Union of Centers of Popular Education for Blacks/ and the Working Class), one of the organizations that make up the march, blacks are still the main victims of violence in Brazil. “Our intention is to celebrate the 20th of November as a day of the memory of Zumbi dos Palmares (3), hero of the Brazilian people, and also seek new ways to tackle racism that unfortunately still claims the lives of many black men and women. Each year there has been an increase in the number of homicides against blacks. We perceive institutional violence, which is the state, killing and allowing to kill, so we call it genocide,” he said in an interview with Rádio Brasil Atual.
“It is true that it is not only the police that kills,” he continued. “There is a whole civil violence that victimizes the black population because there is a racist culture in Brazil that objectifies blacks. Black death does not move (people) and does not mobilize the same ratio as that of a young man or a white family. There is a whole culture that cements this apathy and this lack of sensitivity of violence against the black population.”
The Movimento Negro will present to local and state governments eleven demands, according to Douglas, ranging from the adoption of quotas to the demarcation of quilombo lands (lands of maroon societies).
“Quotas in public universities and public competition is an extremely current agenda. Until President Dilma announced that she must defend this agenda in the National Congress for public competition and we want to have this in São Paulo as well, since the state government refuses to implement quotas in USP and Unicamp (University of São Paulo and University of Campinas),” he says. “We also demand compliance with the law 10.639, mandating the teaching of African history in schools and political reform, because we are more than half of the population and we don’t see ourselves represented in the National Congress.”
“In addition, we request the titration of quilombo land and housing in the cities too. We need a policy that denies the privileges of property speculation and ensure decent housing for the poorest population that, we know, is composed mostly of blacks. It is also important to respect the religions of black African matrix, because there is a public policy that values this culture.”
The Day of Black Consciousness is a holiday celebrated on November 20, when Zumbi of Palmares was killed and beheaded in the city of Olinda, Pernambuco.
Source: Rede Brasil Atual
1. This sign is a direct reference to the new Globeleza “mulata” contest that is currently being aired on the Globo television network. As demonstrated on this blog regularly, black women are regularly made invisible in Brazil’s media except during Carnaval season. This contest is only the most recent example of the exclusionary, stereotypical treatment of Afro-Brazilian women.
3. Zumbi is well known and celebrated historical figure in struggle of black Brazilians. References to Zumbi are plentiful on this blog.