Black women´s lives matter

The struggles of black, lesbian, bisexual, transgender women for the right to be themselves

March of black women in Brazil. Photo: WMW Brazil

Feminism has to be antipatriarchal, anticapitalist and antiracist. Since 1992, July 25 marks the International Afro-Latin American, Afro-Caribbean and Diaspora Women’s Day. The commemoration of this day was decided at the first meeting of Afro-Latin American, Afro-Caribbean and Diaspora Women.

Today, Real World Radio wants to highlight the voices and struggles of Afro-descendant and black women, defenders of the peoples and territories, such as Francia Márquez, defender of La Toma community, Suárez-Cauca municipality, Colombia, who is one of the over a hundred Afro-Colombian leaders threatened. The struggle she led in 2014 together with other women set a precedent in the struggle against illegal mining in Colombia, and managed to ban mining operations of transnational corporations such as Anglo Gold Ashanti. This earned her the Goldman Prize in 2018.

On May 4, 2019, Francia and her team were attacked while preparing a meeting with President Iván Duque, after the agreements reached during a national strike. After the attack she was forced to leave the territory and on July 12, other comrades received death threats by criminal groups which opposed the defense of the territory and human rights in afro and indigenous communities.

This week, Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC) expressed their solidarity with defenders under threat and made “an urgent call to the institutions of the country to ensure the life of the people and their permanence in the territories that are subjected to territorial disputes, among other reasons, due to private interests that want to expand extractivist exploitation models in the area”.

“We hope that in full compliance with the Constitution, the institutions take on their responsibilities against the systematic irregularities taking place, added to the attacks against black peoples in particular, and the population in general, experienced lately in Colombia”, states ATALC´s letter addressed to Colombian authorities.

Real World Radio also interviewed Miriam Miranda, defender of the Garifuna people, coordinator of the Honduran Black Fraternal Organization (OFRANEH).

Ten years after the Coup d´ Etat against Manuel Zelaya, Miranda said that the current government of Juan Orlando Hernández is a “narcodictatorship” and they are experiencing a huge humanitarian crisis, a “failed state with complete impunity which supports transnational corporations”.

Against this, on June 28 and 29, approximately 1200 women met in Vallecito, a Garifuna community, to discuss about the country they want to build. Miriam talked about how there is still discrimination and criminalization, especially against black women.

“Women have put our bodies, our movement and our political action to resist the Coup and defend the rights of the Honduran people”, said Miriam Miranda.

Threatened, criminalized, prosecuted and discriminated, black women believe that the support in, of and from the community reaffirms the intersectionality of the struggles and the right to be themselves in the world. Against the sexual and racial division of labor, their testimonies show the importance of the struggle so that new generations can grow aware of class, race, gender and environmental issues.

(CC) 2019 Real World Radio