Exposure is key to understanding that world cultures are often more alike than they are different.
Bennett College recently welcomed to campus Dr. Emanuelle Goes, a Senior Researcher and Scientific Coordinator at the Iyaleta Research Association – Research, Sciences and Humanities (Brazil) and other research colleagues who discussed the fight for reproductive rights and reproductive justice in Brazil and shared a screening of the film “Lands That Liberate/Terras Que Libertam,” directed by Researchers Diosmar Filho and Harrison Araújo. The documentary consists of stories from a freedom movement happening in Brazil.
The host for the discussion and screening was alumna Dr. Sharrelle Barber ’07, along with Bennett College Global Studies and the Bennett College Green Team. Dr. Barber is a faculty member in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health and the Inaugural Director of the Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements, & Population Health Equity. The event, presented in both English and Portuguese, brought Bennett College students and faculty together with senior researchers and social scientists to hear about the similarities regarding the fight for reproductive justice and the impact of climate change on Brazilian women and women of the African diaspora.
The film documents the trajectory of the Black Quilombola population living in Chapada Diamantina (Bahia-Brazil), a freedom movement led by brothers Júlio Cupertino and Jaime Cupertino, insurgents in black conscience living in the ancestral quilombola lands of the Caatinga. The documentary reveals the modern quilombola struggle for territorial and social rights, the defense of the Quilombola Territory of Vazante against the Baraúnas Dam, and the freedom of the warrior Julio Cupertino – ancestor in the Territory of Baixão Velho.
“Dr. Anne Hayes, Executive Director of Global & Interdisciplinary Studies at Bennett College and coordinator for the cultural discussion says, “Experiences like this are expansive! Students were drawing connections and similarities with situations that Black women face in the United States. For our students, this was an opportunity to interact with a global scholar on an interdisciplinary, social justice issue that is meaningful.”
“I think it’s important to expand the dialogue around racism, reproductive justice, environmental racism, all those issues – because they are connected, and some of their solutions are connected as well,” said Dr. Barber.
“I think these conversations expand the knowledge base for young women of color,” added Bennett College alumna Dr. Gwen O’Neal ’69. “Sometimes we think that what we are experiencing is isolated and we don’t understand the interconnections between not only the individual person, but everything (else.)”
Other distinguished speakers and participants:
Diosmar Filho is a Senior Researcher and Scientific Coordinator at the Iyaleta Research Association – Research, Sciences and Humanities, a Geographer, and a doctoral student at Fluminense Federal University in Brazil. He is also the director and producer of the documentary Lands That Liberate/Terras Que Libertam, which documents the trajectory of the black quilombola population in Chapada Diamantina (Bahia-Brazil). Diosmar previously served as professor and academic coordinator of the Lato Sensu Specialization in State and Law of Traditional Peoples and Communities and the Lato Sensu Specialization in Human Rights and Contemporaneity – UFBA/UAB/CAPES.
Interpreter and panelist Dr. Andrea Fereira is a postdoctoral researcher at the Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements & Population Health Equity and a Senior Researcher and Scientific Coordinator at the Iyaleta Research Association – Research, Sciences and Humanities (Brazil). Her research focuses on segregation, housing, and health inequities. Dr. Ferreira was a core collaborator on the research project “Urban Legal Amazon – Socio-spatial Analyses of Climate Change (2020/2022)” and currently co-leads the research project “Climate Adaptation: An Intersection Brazil 2022-2024” for Iyaleta Research Association.
Vanessa Melo is a master’s and doctoral student in Public Health, a visiting Fulbright Scholar with the Ubuntu Center, specializing in Epidemiology, at the Institute of Social Medicine, Rio de Janeiro State University (IMS-UERJ). She holds a BSc in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). In her current research, she is interested in comprehending theories and quantitative methods to assess the multiple intersections between environmental injustice and the occurrence of chronic diseases during pregnancy within the context of Brazilian cities. Since 2019, she has been a part of the Coletivo Negro Makota Valdina, the first independent group of black students and people at IMS-UERJ.
Bennett College was host to the discussion and film screening in collaboration with the Ubuntu Center and Iyaleta Research Association.