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News > Latin America

Brazil to Mark Black Consciousness Day, Remember Zumbi Dos Palmares, the Warrior

  • In the face of

    In the face of "genocidal" levels of violence, the Afro-Brazilian community have staged massive protests across the country, continuing an age-old struggle for equal rights and an end to discrimination. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 November 2017

Zumbi was a leader of the Quilombo Of Palmares, known to be one of the first places in the Americas where the slaves gained freedom. 

Brazil will mark the 'Día de la Conciencia (Negra),' Black Consciousness Day on Nov. 20, to highlight some of the most pressing issues affecting Afro-Brazilian community, the day also marks the death anniversary of one of the most revered figures of Afro-Brazilian resistance in the country, Zumbi dos Palmares, the Brazilian warrior who fought for the freedom of slaves in Brazil, and died in 1695.

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Zumbi was a leader of the Quilombo Of Palmares located between the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco, known to be one of the first places in the Americas where the slaves gained freedom. 

Earlier this month, the UN launched the "Vidas Negras" (Black Lives) campaign in Brazil to highlight the staggering rate at which the Black youth are being killed in the South American country. According to the government statistics, every twenty-three minutes,  a young Black man is killed in Brazil, accounting for 4,290 deaths per year.  

According to the 2017 report 'Atlas of Violence,' published by Institute of Applied Economic Research, Ipea, and the Brazilian Forum of Public Security, for every 100 men killed in Brazil, a staggering 71 men are Black. 

Afro-Brazilians have a 23.5 percent higher chance of being killed compared to other races, irrespective of their age, sex, education, marital status and the neighborhoods where they live. 

"Young and black males continue to be murdered each year as if they were in a war situation," the study noted. 

Ipea focussed on the evolution of homicides and based its data on the information collected from the Mortality Information System, SIM, between the years 2005 and 2015. 

The study also shed light on the rise in violence against Blacks where other groups saw a decline as where the non-Black populations (Indigenous, white, and yellow) saw a decline of 7.4 percent, Black women saw violence rise by 22 percent. 

The economic disparity between the Afro-Brazilians and other races is also worth noting. According to the latest government statistics, 70 percent of the wealthiest 10 percent in the country are White, while Blacks account for 74 percent of the most impoverished 10 percent of the total population in Brazil.  

White privilege means getting a whole range of advantages over others without even realizing," Giovana Freitas, a historian at Rio Federal State University, told AFP. 

Afro-Brazilians Celebrate Long History of Resistance

Institut Locomotiva that monitors poverty levels in Brazil, found Black men holding the same qualifications as white men were bound to earn 29 percent less than their white counterparts.

"If blacks earned the same salaries as whites, there'd be 808 million reais ($247 million) injected into the economy," Locomotiva president Renato Meirelles said, AFP reported. 

Although, the percentage of non-whites entering higher education institutes has risen from eight percent to 27 percent only five percent of management jobs are held by non-white people in Brazil, who account for nearly 54 percent of the total population. 

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