African Descendent Women Host US Delegation in Rio de Janeiro

On June 8th, a delegation from the United States comprised of activists and students arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as part of the US Durban Process 2009.

The delegation was organized by the Latin American and Caribbean Community Center and Cidadao Global. This Monday, the delegation met with local organizers that represented 18 Afro Brazilian women’s organization, and a media justice coalition.

The Baobab Institute (Instituto Baobab), which is a network of Afro Brazilian women’s organizations in anticipation of the delegation, called upon its network to share strategies, organizational struggles and success as well as personal stories that have impacted their participation in a racial justice movement in Brazil.

Women shared their stories of political involment in the Afro descendant Movement movement.

“As African women we have to be active politically in both our community and in formal political processes since public policies do not favor African descendants and small accomplishments are never prioritized so there is no long term change”, said Mara Ribeiro from the Association of Black Women.

Youths also had a very visible impact and voice in the meeting, they shared organizational stories of the principles of organizing that they follow within a black movement.

“As youths we have to respect the militant activity of our elders, they laid a strong foundation for us, many times we see that youths want to re-invent the wheel when our elders fought hard to build it, we have to learn from them in order to move forward” said Jama Gimond, one of the youth represent an Afro Brazilian Youth Media Collective.

The meeting ended with the screening of a series of television commercials that were made by the Association in partnership with the Organizations of Race and Media Justice, an organization of concerned journalists that does media monitoring to ensure that journalists cover racial policies and issues in Brazil.

“These spots are a big accomplishment, the fact that people can see black faces talking about issues that are plaguing our community is unheard of in Brazil,” said Angelica Bashti.

The delegation was also hosted by Instituto dos Palmares, Afro Brazilian Incubators Project.

This project is a pilot project that has as its mission to provide Afro Brazilians organizations and individual’s opportunities to own businesses and to receive skills that are transferable to their entrepreneurial initiates.

The delegation will be traveling to Brasilia to participate of the Preparatory Meeting of the Americas as part of the Durban Process 2009.

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