Quilombos of Brazil: Folha debuts series of reports – 03/19/2023 – Politics

Quilombos of Brazil: Folha debuts series of reports – 03/19/2023 – Politics

Brazil needs to hear and see itself to know itself. With this premise, the Sheet, in partnership with the Ford Foundation, begins to publish a series of reports that will tell stories of remnants of quilombos, communities that are at the center of the cultural and social formation of the country.

Over the course of a year, the reports will be published weekly in the special project Quilombos do Brasil. The texts intend to portray various themes in the fields of politics, the dispute over territory, the impacts on the economy and culture, in addition to showing religious and gastronomic influences.

“Support for this project is recognition of the importance of the historic struggle for the rights of the remaining populations of slaves and their contribution to the sustainable development of Brazil”, explains historian Atila Roque, director of the Ford Foundation in Brazil, whose headquarters are located in Rio de Janeiro.

Emerged in the colonial period, the quilombos are a symbol of resistance by the black population against the horrors of slavery. Communities emerged with the escape of enslaved people. The first records of quilombos date back to the 1570s. Even after the abolition, at the end of the 19th century, descendants of the quilombolas continued the formation of groups in different parts of the country.

“The objective of this partnership is to shed light on the quilombola population, which still faces prejudice and lack of recognition”, says Roberto de Oliveira, editor of Special Projects & Partnerships at Sheet. “It is a facet of the Brazilian people still unknown by Brazilians themselves.”

Oliveira states that “the remaining communities, urban and rural, lack public policies to reduce the social inequality generated by centuries of slavery”. Therefore, he follows, it will be a challenge for the Sheet portray this diverse group. Coverage will be guided by the newspaper’s editorial principles, with non-partisanship, critical spirit and plurality.

Today, it is estimated that there are at least 6,000 quilombola communities in 25 states. Most of them, however, still do not have their right to land guaranteed, as defended in article 68 of the Constitution. Only 5% of Brazilian quilombola communities have title to the areas they occupy. Given this scenario, there are constant cases of real estate speculation, in addition to threats and attempts at eviction, according to leaders.

According to Atila Roque, quilombola claims should be more prominent now, when policies to combat climate change are once again gaining priority in government actions here and abroad. “Looking at quilombola rights and their collective ways of life produces the necessary meeting between environmental, racial and climate justice”, she says.

The historian believes that it is important to increase visibility and learn from the accumulated knowledge of quilombola communities. He also states that civil society and the State must also assume responsibility in promoting a development capable of overcoming the marks of inequality and structural racism.

A good part of the quilombola territories have an important environmental role in this equation, precisely because many of them are in areas with forests, rivers and springs —including in the Amazon— and also because of the way in which the quilombolas themselves relate to nature.

With its premiere this Tuesday (21), International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Quilombos do Brasil will address communities from all regions of the country. The reports will be published on the newspaper’s platforms, both in print and digital, as well as in content on social networks and also in videos produced by TV Folha.

The series adds to a set of actions developed by Sheet which aims to combat misinformation and racism. Among the initiatives are the journalism training program aimed at black professionals (it will be the third class this year), the creation of the Diversity section and the formation of an Inclusion and Equity committee.

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