|Professor Keisha-Khan Y. Perry|
In her forthcoming book, Black Women Against the Land Grab: The Fight for Racial Justice in Brazil, Professor Perry brings to light not only the level of political sophistication that these women possess, but also the role they play in their communities as “political theorists.” Perry argues that women are the main agents of interpreting the racial, gender, and class dynamics of urban development. These women intentionally organize as blacks, as women, and as the poor, which provides key insights on precisely how intersectionality is mobilized for social change.
|Gamboa de Baixo, Salvador, Brazil (photo by Helio Queiroz, Panoramio)|
As poor all-Black neighborhoods in Brazilian cities come under threat of demolition and thousands of people face eviction – including for events like the World Cup and the Olympics – the women are leading the charge in empowering and radicalizing local communities.
So when you think of social movement leaders, think of women like Ana Cristina da Silva Caminha, who has led the grassroots movement against land expulsion in her community of Gamboa de Baixo in Salvador, Brazil. She fights not only for access to housing and clean water, but also for the preservation of her community’s soul – its bay-side location, its Afro-Brazilian spiritual practices, and its network of relationships.
Anya Malkov is an MPP candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School, a WAPPP Cultural Bridge Fellow, and an alumna of From Harvard Square to the Oval Office.