International Day of Latin American
Note from BW of Brazil: July 25th is a day celebrated across Latin America and the Caribbean by black women who fight for recognition, their importance in the history of the countries in which they live and re-enforce the daily struggle and commitment to earning their place in the sun. Well, as black Brazilian women put it, perhaps in a country like Brazil where black women are far more likely to be the victims of violence or see their husbands, sons, brothers and nephews victimized by violence, perhaps the first step would be simply desiring well-being. Well-being in a country that seems to have an unwritten agenda to show that black lives really don’t matter. So while the struggle for full socioeconomic equality continues, let us pause for a moment today and remember that there are millions of black women in Latin America and the Caribbean who simply wish for their own well-being as well as that of their families.
“In defense of black lives, for well-being” is the theme of the July of Black Women/2020
July 25th is International Day of Latin American and Caribbean Black Women and National Black Women’s and Teresa de Benguela Day
With information courtesy of Pensar Piauí, Jornalismo Assufrgs and Marie Claire Brasil
Instituto da Mulher Negra do Piauí Institute of Black Women of Piauí), holds the 6th edition of Julho das Pretas-Piauí (July of the Black Women Piauí) 2020 with the theme “In Defense of Black Lives, For Well-Being“, in reference to the 25th of July – International Day of Latin American and Caribbean Black Women and National Day of Black Women Tereza de Benguela.
The Black Women’s July is a joint and propositive agenda with organizations and movement of black women, created in 2013 by the Odara Institute of Black Women and which has expanded in the Northeast region and some other states of the country, aimed at strengthening organizations of black women.
In a very complex situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, where any physical presence is impossible, inequalities are more strongly evident and racism is frighteningly blatant, Black Women’s Organizations hold the July of the Black Woman/2020, with an edition totally virtual seeking to build strategies to remain in a state of denunciation about the death policies caused by structural racism, the basis of world capitalism. Black women organized in Brazil, articulated with the international context, define the defense of Vidas Negras (Black Lives) as a priority agenda of the political struggle, in line with the construction of another civilizing model centered on Well-Being.
In the state of Piauí, located in Brazil’s northeast, the Instituto AYABÁS (AYABÁS Institute) has guided daily insertions of videos with testimonies of black women present in the most diverse spaces on its social networks. It has developed activities such as live chats, video conferences, cycles of debates and has sought to guide in the media, the discussions pertinent to racism and black feminism, contextualizing with the theme In Defense of Black Lives, for Well-Being.
The highlight of the program is July 25, International Day of Latin American and Caribbean Black Women and National Black Women’s Day and Teresa de Benguela Day, where activities will be intensified throughout the day, in all states of the Northeast region, seeking to occupy all media spaces with the agenda of Black Women. In the state of Piauí, in addition to participating in different live events online (local and regional), a live event will be held bringing together representations from other municipalities, addressing the theme: IN DEFENSE OF BLACK LIVES, FOR WELL LIVING.
The insertions of testimonials and other activities continue until July 31, 2020.
July 25 was established by the UN as the International Day of Latin American and Caribbean Black Women during the 1st Meeting of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women, in the Dominican Republic, in 1992. The date was chosen as an international landmark for the struggle and resistance of black women. Since then, various sectors of society have been working to consolidate and give visibility to this date, taking into account the condition of oppression of gender, race and ethnicity experienced by black women. In Brazil, the 25th of July was instituted by Law 12.987 of 06/02/2014, as the National Tereza de Benguela and Black Women’s Day – in honor of the quilombola leader who led Quilombo do Quariterê in the 18th century.
The objective of the celebration of the 25th of July is to expand and strengthen black women’s organizations, build strategies for the insertion of themes aimed at tackling racism, sexism, discrimination, prejudice and other racial and social inequalities. It’s a day to expand partnerships, give visibility to the struggle, actions, promotion, appreciation and debate on the identity of black Brazilian women.
Violence and unemployment
In Brazil, black women are in one of the most vulnerable positions in our society when factors such as homicide rates, inclusion in the labor market, wage disparity, working conditions and unemployment are analyzed.
According to the Atlas of Violence 2018 study, conducted by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea) and the Brazilian Forum of Public Security (FBSP), the homicide rate of black women was 5.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. Among non-black women, this rate drops to 3.1 per 100,000 inhabitants, a difference of 71%.
Other data from the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea) reveal that black women are 50% more susceptible to unemployment than other groups. According to Ipea, while unemployment among black women rose 80% over the period before the economic crisis, among white men the increase was 4.6 percentage points – among black men, there was growth of 7 percentage points.
According to IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), 39.8% of black women make up the group subjected to precarious working conditions – black men comprise 31.6%; white women, 26.9%; and white men, 20.6% of the total.
This picture of inequality is evidenced even when graduation in higher education is considered. According to the survey “O Desafio da Inclusão” (The Challenge of Inclusion) by the Instituto Locomotiva, released in 2017, the salary of a black woman with completed higher education is, on average, BRL* 2.9 thousand. Within this same scenario, that of a white woman is BRL 3.8 thousand; that of a black man, BRL 4.8 thousand; and that of a white man, BRL 6.7 thousand.
“From Mexico and the Caribbean islands down, Latin American countries have a common constitution, which denies racism and are essentially racist. The common point of the Amefricans is the announcement of racism and sexism, black women are victims of double oppression and are claiming it,” explains Raquel Barreto, historian and researcher. She is a doctoral student in history, an expert in the works of Angela Davis and Lélia Gonzalez and co-cureurator of the exhibition Carolina Maria de Jesus, a Brazil for Brazilians, which will be exhibited at the Moreira Salles Institute in São Paulo in 2021.
For Rachel, the importance of celebrating this date is to celebrate the fact that, as a black woman, she is alive. “Our history is not only marked by what the other has tried to do with us, but is measured by our collective capacity to build, mobilize and dream. The date also serves to celebrate our life and resistance and point out what we still have to conquer and transform. Even more so in this moment of pandemic in which we live, as in the US, we have seen here that the police action in their genocidal policy has not ceased. Therefore, more than ever we need to wish for better days. Talk about other possibilities for the future, not only for black women, but for the country. That’s what the motto of the black women’s march says: for well-being,” says the researcher. “I am not only what white supremacy has tried to do to me, but what I, in spite of them, have managed to do and mobilize”.
* – BRL, Brazilian Real, is Brazil’s national currency