Black Consciousness Day: "it is necessary to resist and occupy spaces of power"

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Today is the Black conscience day, a date set aside for society to remember and rethink the history and situation of black Brazilian people. This day was chosen because it is assigned the death of Zumbi dos Palmares, iconic figure of quilombola resistance in Brazil.

In addition to Zumbi, many black men and women fought against the slavery system that oppressed them, one of the names of great relevance in this resistance is Dandara. Warrior woman who helped build Quilombo dos Palmares and commanded her army in some situations.

This resistance from Dandara still echoes today, through black Brazilian women, to exemplify this reality, we continued our series of interviews, which began with Benedito Cerezzo professor at UnB, and we went to talk to Fernanda Souza, 29-year-old woman, graduated in physical education from UEG, resident of the city of Goiânia, member of African-based religions and Cruzeiro fan.

Fernanda Sousa

The importance of Black Awareness Day

Fernanda says that, from her point of view,

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the importance of Black Consciousness Day is to remember Zumbi, Dandara and all those who, within their conditions, resisted slavery and contributed to the downfall of this system.

The history of quilombos in Brazil is little publicized, even though it has remarkable relevance for the construction of the nation. There are centuries of history, Quilombo dos Palmares itself it lasted for about a hundred years in a territory of approximately 27,000 square kilometers. Even today, there are around 6 thousand quilombos in Brazil.

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The history and demands of black people in Brazil

We asked Fernanda about how she feels when she looks at the history of black people in Brazil. She responds that she feels collectivity, struggle, resistance and strength, because even though black people are placed in a minority and marginalized position, Fernanda says that Black people have always been very wise and resourceful.

She says that many times when enslavers thought black people were surrendering or accepting slavery, it was actually a demonstration of necessary swagger to stay alive in a genocidal system that lasted centuries.

After recalling this disastrous historical moment, Fernanda states that the main demands of the black population in Brazil are humanization and equity of rights and access in relation to the white population. But for this to happen, says Fernanda, it is necessary to structurally modify the spaces of power in society.

She claims it is necessary having black people in the presidency, in the STF, in congress, in spaces that have decision-making power in general. Because, according to the thinking constructed by her, the logic of slaveholders has occupied these places since the emergence of Brazil and this needs to be reversed.

She concludes:

Thinking from the logic of the oppressed, not from the perspective of the oppressor as has always been thought

Influences of blackness on professional life

We asked Fernanda how being a black woman influenced her professional and academic trajectory. She answered:

Being a black, dark-skinned, dyke woman in the environment of the State University of Goiás, a state with a slave and oligarchic history, is a movement of resistance. But, it is also representative for those who will come after me

Then she continues the relationship between present past Future when she says that occupying academic spaces is important for black women to be seen as a source of knowledge, have access to universities and are not considered just objects of study, as they were treated by many years. Regarding the professional environment, she says that even if black people have a CV example, they will be questioned, disrespected and disregarded, but even so, the black population persists.

She concludes:

We continue producing with excellence, knowledge, resisting within this system that tries to oppress us, tries, not only tries, but unfortunately, manages to kill one of us every 23 minutes

Advice for young black men and women who need to balance work and study

Fernanda begins with the observation that the fact of having to work and study is yet another proof of disloyalty when one she compares the young black and white population. She says that more and more young black people have to decide between working and studying, Fernanda emphasizes that this choice is not for reasons of luxury, but, rather, To survive, young people have to work to have something to eat and somewhere to sleep.

She continues:

Don't stop studying and improving yourself, because only with knowledge and wisdom can we, at each step, take back what was taken from us

She continues the explanation saying that the collective point of view is essential to this way of thinking, she explains:

Because if today, I'm a month away from turning 30 and I haven't entered the statistics in this society genocide that we live, this is only possible because my ancestors, my ancestors, fought and resisted. It is always in the collective, I am, because we are. You are only here today, because of those who fought before and you will need to fight for those who come after, there is no point in thinking about the individual, because alone we have no strength

Finally, she highlights the importance of resistance and collectivity and concludes by recalling a phrase from Emicida:

Everything we have is us.

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