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Defenders of Justice

Fighting racism and patriarchy in Brazil

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About the Episode

WATCH NOW! Can gender justice movements in Brazil fight against nationalism, racism, and patriarchy to save women's lives?

Brazilian law permits abortion only in cases of rape and danger to the woman’s life. Sexual and reproductive health and rights are severely limited, and there are deep racial prejudices against Black Brazilians. Civil society is also under threat, and activists in Brazil remain on high alert after the murder of prominent Black Brazilian activist Marielle Franco in March 2018.

In “Defenders of Justice,” we meet Lucia Xavier, who is part of a movement of powerful women activists who are reframing reproductive rights as an issue of women’s rights and racial justice, as she and others work to address security threats against activists fighting for reproductive rights. We also meet Daniele Duarte, an Afro-Brazilian lesbian activist who participates in protests and marches against the rise of the extremist president Jair Bolsonaro. Lucia, Daniele, and others are part of a vibrant and intersectional feminist movement in Brazil, mobilizing what some are calling a “Feminist Spring” in Brazil as the Supreme Court considers decriminalizing abortion.

Meet the Activists: Lucia Xavier and Daniele Duarte

Lucia Maria Xavier de Castro is a Brazilian social worker and human rights activist. She has dedicated her life to protecting human rights and eradicating patriarchal racism and all forms of discrimination. She is the Founder and Coordinator of CRIOLA, a black women's organization in Rio de Janeiro. At CRIOLA, she has dedicated herself to training, mobilizing, and advocating for the human rights of black women. She is a member of the Black Women Towards a 50-50 Planet in 2030 with UN Women.

Daniele Duarte is an Afro-Brazilian lesbian activist who works to guarantee human rights for all. She is part of CRIOLA in Brazil, an Afro-Brazilian women-led group that works with Black Brazilian women and girls in the poorest parts of Rio de Janeiro. Daniele is a social worker and part of the organization Global Justice, working in the area of women human rights defenders.

Brazil.

Spotlight on the issue

Gender justice activists are working to advance abortion rights and support women human rights defenders—not just in Brazil but around the world. Meet some of Global Fund for Women’s grassroots grantee partners who are leaders in the movement.

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