By: Juliana Gonçalves / Source: Brasil De Fato / The Dawn News / July, 29, 2016
Social scientist, producer and Human Rights activist, Lúcia works with gender, race and migrant population issues.
Unlike most black Brazilian families, Lúcia knows exactly where her roots come from. Her full name is Lúcia Chivee Ijeoma Udemezue and she is Nigerian.
Since her early days she felt differences in her African origins. On the one hand, her mother’s side black roots were marked by the stigma of slavery. On the other hand, her Nigerian father came from an important family of the Igbo ethnicity, a village in South East Nigeria. “That union strengthened me, it made me understand more clearly the debates on race issues and the traffick of black slaves after the diaspora, and the comings and goings of the black immigrant population”, Lúcia says.
From her mother, Lúcia also inherited her commitment with culture, especially, with black culture. Lúcia takes part in various projects along with Danna Hil, singer and psychologist; Nina Vieira, designer and photographer; and Jully Gabriel, journalist and cultural producer. They are members of the collective called “Manifiesto Crespo” (Frizzy Manifesto), which deals with the debates on the appearance of black women, beginning with the issue of hair. “The bodies of black women have no place in this society”, she affirmed.
Trained in Social Sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC), Lúcia has always been dedicated to black women, especially immigrants. “There was a moment in which the Nigerian community was in a situation of great vulnerability, without a place to go to report abuses from the State. From that moment on, I started to build a bridge and to propose the need of specific public policies”, she remembers.
According to her, is important that migrants are not received only by the Federal Police but by other State institutions, so as to strengthen the citizenship of those people. “We made a leap forward with the creation of the coordination of policies for immigrants, in Sao Paulo, now our challenge is to continue working for a more dignified reception of black women, mainly Haitian and African, to organize them and empower them because the protection network is still very fragile for the population”, she said.
Being a black, immigrant woman brings along oppressions marked in racism, machismo and xenophobia. Lúcia highlights the importance of the incorporation of this last topic by black, organized women. “We need to start including black immigrant women in the norm”, she believes.
Apart from the “Manifiesto Crespo”, Lúcia is a member of the “Oda de Mae Preta” (Ode to the Black Mother) group, which promotes meetings to debate about black, activist maternity. Mother of three-year-old MitzRael, she believes that those spaces of exchange are essential for the strengthening of black mothers and children. “Roda” was created by Lúcia, Nina Vieira, blogger Ana Paula Xongani, sociologist Taisa Souza and plastic artist Renata Felinto.
According to Lúcia, July 25, the International Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women’s Day is regarded as a moment of celebration. “Our old women resisted oppression and racism, and now we still have to fight so that it can be recognized that black women are at the core of the logic of the society we now have. We need recognition and reparation”, she affirms.
Black voices have gained more and more popularity and space, Lúcia says. “I see a many actions and publications by black women: poets, writers, publishing in newspapers and magazines. The daringness of collectives such as ‘Louva Deusas’ is important because they are now debating on black women’s sexuality in the periferic literature as something that gives strength to the women’s movement in the city”, she concludes.