Alzira Rufino – Brazil

Linked with The Casa de Cultura da Mulher Negra CCMN, and with Violência doméstica, Mulher Negra.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “Afro-Brazilian women, they produce the show and take credit for the direction”.

She says also: “In 1990, when we created the House of Culture of the Afro-Brazilian Woman, there was resistance regarding the name. The oppositionists asked: Why Afro-Brazilian women”.

Alzira Rufino - Brazil redim 70p.jpg

Alzira Rufino – BrazilShe works for the Casa de Cultura da Mulher Negra CCMN, (the House of Culture of the Afro-Brazilian Woman).

Alzira Rufino (1950) is the founder and director of the House of Culture of the Afro-Brazilian Woman CCMN, which has its headquarters in the city of Santos, in the State of São Paulo.

Her life and her social work are references for the feminists and for the Afro-Brazilian female organizations.

In 1992, she received the title of ‘Honorable Citizen of the city of Santos’.

She was born in a tenement. Besides economic poverty, she lived with domestic violence. Her feminism was also born inside her house: “My father and my brother wanted to boss me around”. Negative! Alzira got her will to fight from her mother. “She taught me that there’s no point in complaining; you have to get out there and fight”.

Alzira fought and studied. She graduated in nursing. For being an Afro-Brazilian woman, she opened up different paths: to make domestic violence socially visible and to raise Afro-Brazilian women’s self-esteem.
She had the answer on the tip of her heart: Afro-Brazilian women need to become visible and to assert themselves. Many people took long to understand. “Some white men came after the Afro-Brazilian girls looking for prostitutes. Some white women came to look for cleaners”.

After 15 years, the House is a reference in the area of assistance to victims of domestic violence, providing psychological and judicial support. It is also a reference in the fight against racism.

The House also elaborates the rescue of African culture, in every detail: the furniture, the cuisine, the colors, the editing of the Eparrei Magazine, the mentioning of the orixás (Gods of the Candomblé, a religion brought to Brazil by the Africans captured by the slave trade).

Alzira is a multifaceted figure: Ialorixá (religious status in the Candomblé), communicator, political articulator and a claimant with a sharp tongue.

Alzira mixes determination with poetry: “because the world is in need of another way to say things”.

Oxalá! (an interjection that expresses a desire for something to happen; also the orixá god of creation and procreation syncretized with Christ).

Domestic violence against women is a widespread epidemic that does not choose social class, race or educational status. It is a well-known fact that the eradication of it depends on a number of factors: judicial, psychological, cultural and interpersonal. (1000PeaceWomen).

Alzira Rufino (Santos, 6 de julho de 1949) é uma ativista política atuante no movimento Negro e no Movimento de Mulheres Negras. (wikipedia).

BOLETIM EPARREI ONLINE.

Read: an Afro Brazilian Connection Literature.

Read: Mulher negra, uma outra história.

Read: Brazil Won’t Know Democracy Before 44% in Power Are Black, by Alzira Rufino, 02 January 2006.

A highly innovative fringe meeting, featuring Alzira Rufino, the director of The Black Women’s Centre in Brazil, a War on Want project partner. The meeting showed how capacity building and good campaigning can bring largely ignored issues to the front of people’s minds. Watch this space for an interview with Alzira. (full text).

links:

Mulher Negra;

Contra a TV Globo;

Entrevista: Sem grilhões, a resistência negra;

book: ‘I, Black Woman, Resist!‘;

book: ALZIRA RUFINO’S A CASA DE CULTURA DE MULHER NEGRA AS A FORM OF FEMALE EMPOWERMENT, A LOOK AT THE DYNAMICS OF A BLACK WOMEN’S ORGANIZATION IN BRAZIL TODAY, by Duke;

Earning an Income the Natural Way;

Benedita da Silva : An Afro-Brazilian Woman’s Story of Politics & Love;

Culture of Brazil;

Center for Latin American Studies.

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