Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month in the USA, a movement to celebrate the people of African descent who have made notable contributions in the country’s history. In celebration of this month, we present below individuals and social leaders who have been fundamental in the fight for racial justice and equity in Brazil. We invite all to join us in our celebration!⁠ 


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Sueli Carneiro

Sueli Carneiro is one of the principal figures in the struggle against racism in Brazil.⁠ A philosopher and PhD in Education, she is considered one of the principal authors of black feminism in Brazil. She is the founder and executive coordinator of Geledés Instituto da Mulher Negra, an organization that fights racism and sexism, and also one of BrazilFoundation’s first grantees in 2002. Sueli is the author of several articles on gender, race and human rights, an Ashoka fellow for nearly 30 years. She has also received many awards in recognition of her work.⁠


Dr. Cida Bento

Psychologist Dr. Cida Bento has been researching and developing programs that value diversity and promote race and gender equity in the workforce for 30 years. One of the founders of Centro de Estudos das Relações de Trabalho e Desigualdades – CEERT (Center for the Study of Labor Relations and Inequality), she was elected by The Economist as one of the top 50 most influential “diversity figures in public life”. We celebrate Dr. Cida this Black History Month for her important work in the fight for racial justice and equity in Brazil.


Jurema Werneck

Jurema Werneck has a long history of fighting to uphold the rights of the black population as well as improve their health. A medical doctor who holds a PhD in Communications, Jurema is founder of ONG Criola, which works to uphold the rights of black women in Brazil. In 2017 she became the Executive Director of Amnesty International Brazil, one of the largest and most important human rights organizations in the world. We celebrate Jurema this Black History Month for her work in fighting for justice and racial equity in Brazil.⁠⁠


Vilma Reis

Vilma Reis is a national symbol in the anti-racism struggle and in the fight against the genocide of black youth. A sociologist and doctoral student in Ethnic and African Studies, over the past 35 years she has acted to uphold and defend the rights of black women, the LGBTQIA+ community and the quilombola population. She is a member of Mahin Organização de Mulheres Negras and was honored with the Zumbi dos Palmares Medal for her work. ⁠⠀⁠⁠


Bel Santos Mayer

Bel Santos Mayer, 53, is an educator and coordinator of IBEAC. Her work and life’s mission is to provide people living in peripheral communities with access to literature. And she’s been pursuing this mission since she was 14, when she began working in the social sector. Bel is the head of IBEAC, an organization whose mission is to uphold rights, education and access to opportunities – especially for black youth and women. She has helped change the reality of life in Parelheiros – a community with one of the worst human development indexes in São Paulo – and promote racial justice and equity in Brazil.⁠⁠


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