July 25 marks the International Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women’s Day to unite against racism, sexism, and oppression of women of African descent.
At least 300 women took to streets recently in Brazil’s capital, Sao Paulo in a march of Black Women, under the banner, “Black and Indigenous Women for Us, for All of Us, for Our Well-Being,” EFE reported.
Journalist Luciana Araujo, one of the organizers of the march, explained that participants were members of an independent collective that was formed in 2014. She stressed that their ranks are comprised of a diverse group of women.
“We marched in Sao Paulo for the first time last year,” she explained, adding that “3,000 women participated. This year we hope not to only repeat ourselves, but to also maximize our mobilization.”
A public statement released by the group reads that “Brazil is going through a terrible political crisis with the dismantling of public policies that were painstakingly achieved and violations on the part of elitists and conservative politicians.”
It went on to affirm that during this period “Black women of Sao Paulo will present to society as a whole, concerns that directly affect us, of which we want to see confronted by all people who believe in a new project for the nation.”
In Brazil, July 25 is also recognized as a memorial day for Tereza de Benguela who was the Queen of Quilombo do Quaritere in the state of Mato Grosso during the 18th century.
A quilombo was composed of Africans and Indigenous communities who fled slavery by Brazilian authorities and formed rural, free communities. These traditional communities continue to exist throughout Brazil.
Over two decades, Quilombo do Quaritere, under the leadership of Queen Tereza de Benguela, resisted violent incursions by Brazilian authorities.
For the first time since it was founded in 1992, this year International Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women’s Day was also celebrated in the United States.
VidaAfroLatina hosted an event celebrating the collective histories Black Latinx women and girls living in the African diaspora.
Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington D.C., also hosted an event in recognition of the holiday at Founders Library.
According to Renegade Slave, this day of recognition was established in order for women of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean to unify in the face of “neoliberal capitalist models and their policies of exclusion that further degrade the living conditions of the oppressed.”
It also stated that the date was established in light of discrimination and racism that continues to be hidden and ignored “even by social movements claiming to defend the rights of all people.”