The 20th edition of the Black Consciousness March in São Paulo (SP) brought together members of black movement entities, political parties, popular movements and unions on Avenida Paulista, in the central region of the capital. The gathering began around noon, in the Vão Livre of the São Paulo Museum of Art (Masp). Right behind the banner saying “the struggle continues”, the event was led by Bloco Afro Ilú Obá de Min.
The predominant presence of young people contrasted with that of ancestral figures revered in posters and speeches. In addition to historical leaders, such as Dandara and Zumbi – the date of the death of the leader of Palmares being what made November 20th Black Consciousness Day –, the quilombola activist Bernadete Pacifico, executed in Bahia in August, also gained a prominent place in the demonstration.
The end of state violence against the black and peripheral population predominated among the demands of the protest. Inaugurated at the end of July by the government of Tarcísio de Freitas (Republicans), Operation Shield in Baixada Santista was remembered as the most lethal formal intervention by the Military Police of São Paulo since the Carandiru massacre in 1992. Accused by residents of carrying out torture and executions, State agents killed 33 people in 46 days of action.
“I came to add my voice to those of my brothers and sisters, not only in a symbolic moment of struggle for black people, who have been persecuted by the State, but also as a demonstration that, generation after generation, we are standing”, said Monique Brazil, resident of the south zone of the capital of São Paulo and member of the Popular Brazil Movement.
“We cry, we go through the mourning of violence, but we have a lot to celebrate our elders, who achieved a lot for us to be here today”, added Monique.
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At 17, Rafaela Rodrigues studies at the popular Uneafro course and wants to study medicine. “Every drum, every speech, you feel a different emotion, because where I live, the majority of people are white”, reported the student, who lives in Poá, in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo. “Being here, seeing people like you, with hair like you, culture like yours, is really good,” she said.
In other words, but with a similar meaning, professor Bernadete da Silva says that she does not miss any Black Consciousness March, as it is a source of encouragement for the fight.
“We are completing 20 years of march, of struggle, of history. To enforce Law 10,639/03, which is not easy”, illustrates Silva, referring to the mandatory teaching of Afro-Brazilian history and culture in schools.
Professor Bernadete da Silva participates in the Black Consciousness March on Avenida Paulista, in São Paulo (SP) / Monyse Ravena
“It’s not easy to work on racial issues in the classroom because often you don’t have support, you fight alone. It is in these moments that we come to seek strength”, described Bernardete da Silva, resident of Cidade Tiradentes, far east of São Paulo. “Through this march I hope to gain strength to continue fighting against racism in Brazilian society”, she added.
“The 20th of November was created in 1978 and its tradition is precisely to do street acts”, recalls Flávio Jorge, from the National Coordination of Black Entities (Conen), highlighting that the date has become a public holiday in São Paulo: “an achievement of black movement.”
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This is the first year that the date is a state holiday in São Paulo. Under pressure from the black movement, the project proposed by deputy Teonílio Barba (PT) was approved in September. Previously, recess was a decision for each municipality.
Because that year, 1978, also saw the founding of the Unified Black Movement (MNU) on the steps of the Municipal Theater, the location, in the center of the capital of São Paulo, was chosen as the final point of this Monday’s event (20).
Editing: Geisa Marques
This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.
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