The president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silvaannounced this Tuesday a set of measures to combat racial discrimination and reduce the historical inequalities faced by the black population, despite being the majority in the country.
The battery of actions was presented at a ceremony in the Planalto Palacein Brasiliaand seeks to improve the lives of Afro-Brazilians in the educational, labor and religious spheres, as well as value their memory, on the day that commemorates the International Day to Combat Racial Discrimination.
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“What this Government will carry out in the next four years will be the unfolding of what we did when we created, on March 21, 2003, the Special Secretariat for Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality”, said Lula, alluding to the body that he implemented at the beginning of the first of his terms.
Among the initiatives announced is a specific program to guarantee the rights of quilombola communities, inhabited by descendants of black slaves, in relation to access to land, infrastructure and public services.
According to official estimates, more than a million people in Brazil Quilombolas are declared.
In a gesture of great symbolism after 4 years of management of the far-right Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022), which paralyzed the initiatives in this direction, the progressive leader signed the titling of 3 new quilombola territories under study for 2 decades, in the states of Minas Gerais and Sergipe.
Lula also decreed the creation of several inter-ministerial working groups to promote projects that shield the “access and retention of black students” in universities and “propose quota policies” mandatory in government bodies.
They will also have the mission of developing a program to reduce homicides and “social vulnerabilities” among black youth.
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That plan will be areformulation” of another similar one that began to be projected during the mandate of Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016), political goddaughter of Lula, as detailed by the Government in a note.
According to official data, the poverty rate among blacks and mestizos, who represent 56% of the more than 210 million Brazilians, is almost 2b times higher than that of whites.
They also suffer more unemployment, earn less and are the main victims of police violence. According to the Brazilian Public Security Forum, the black or mixed-race population represents about 85% of the victims in police interventions.
“We will not rest until no black person in Brazil goes through hunger, shooting, lack of opportunities and systematic racism that deepens in many dimensions.”, said the Minister of Racial Equality, anielle francoin an emotional speech.
“Our Brazil is the one of racial equality”, added Franco, sister of Marielle Francothe councilor of Rio de Janeiro shot to death in Rio de Janeiro on March 14, 2018, in a crime that has not yet been fully clarified.
Another working group will aim to fight against “religious racism”, which particularly affects traditional communities with African roots.
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The Government will also revitalize the Cais do Valongo (Valongo Dock), an old port of Rio de Janeiro through which more than a million slaves passed and which in 2017 was declared Historical Heritage of Humanity by Unesco, through the construction of a “reference center for African heritage”.
Since he took power on January 1, Lula promised to repair the “debt” history that considers that Brazil has with Afro-descendants due to the centuries of slavery they suffered and, as a first step, established the Ministry of Racial Equalitywhich is led by Anielle Franco.
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