Following Brazil’s presidential election, we at Catalytic Communities (CatComm) are gravely concerned for the safety of the thousands of favela-based community organizers we have been supporting for eighteen years, and for indigenous and quilombola leaders across Brazil. Their lives and communities are now in direct risk from a man who, as a candidate and in his two and a half decades in public office, has shown utter disrespect for human rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, affirmative action, and democracy in general.
Of particular concern to our work, his primary policy proposals towards favelas are of repression, whether towards land rights in treating occupations as ‘terrorism,’ or in encouraging extrajudicial killings by police. According to him, “the poor are only worth it for their votes… Only birth control [through sterilization] can save us from chaos.” Most recently, during his campaign, he also declared that “there will be no more NGOs,” that if he were elected his “[adversaries] would either go into exile or go to jail,” and that “activism will not be permitted” under his administration. He has shown a strong tendency towards reducing press freedoms, even since the election, and says he will end demarcation of indigenous and quilombola lands.
For nearly two decades we at CatComm have been working towards a long-term vision, building the basis for a full-fledged community-led and community-controlled integration of favelas with the formal city. CatComm was founded on the basis of favela communities’ attributes, built over generations, that already existed but were unrecognized, and so we began a long-term mission of strengthening, recognizing, and building on that potential.
In the wake of the elections, all of these years of work may be upended or entirely interrupted. At the very least we will have to shift course. The CatComm team has come up with five courses of action, depending on the unfolding of the situation in Brazil, each of which would involve slight or large variations to our current programming. In all of them, we are committed to ensuring the safety of our collaborators and community organizers, in particular favela-based journalists and communicators. We will also continue to develop each one of our current programs:
In order to weather this difficult moment and carry on with our work, we need your support. The new president takes office on January 1st and we are counting on you to guarantee we have the financial resources necessary to implement our plans for 2019 and to protect favela organizers from the threat this mandate poses.
Monthly donations are the most helpful, as they bring the dependable, sustained support we will need going forward, but one-time donations are also welcome. Please give what you can, however you can.
Catalytic Communities (CatComm) is an 18-year-old community planning and advocacy nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status in the USA, working on-the-ground across hundreds of Rio’s favelas with local leaders and organizers.
Read below a collection of some of Bolsonaro’s most horrendous statements and views:
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