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Interview
THE QUILOMBO AS A SYMBOL OF RESISTANCE IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC

Elisa Larkin Nascimento
Elisa Larkin Nascimento with journalist Cadu Oliveira | © Taylla de Paula

​Elisa Larkin Nascimento defends the mobilization as an alert to society regarding the serious situation of the Rio dos Macacos Quilombo. 

The director of the Ipeafro also evaluates the outcome of the discussions at the Echoes of the South Atlantic Conference.
 
Elisa Larkin Nascimento, doctor in Psychology and Master in Human Rights, directs the Institute of Afro-Brazilian Research and Studies, the Ipeafro, with headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, that keeps the collection of Abdias Nascimento and promotes educational and cultural actions. In an interview, she defends that social engagement can transform the reality of the Rio dos Macacos Quilombo, in Simões Filho.

A DEAR THEME

The theme of the quilombos is not only dear to me, but to the history of the South Atlantic itself. The phenomenon of the quilombos permeates the existence of afro-descendants in Brazil up to this day as an urgent matter. It seems important that people who came to this conference in Salvador know about this historic phenomenon of the quilombos, and that, beyond discourses and reflections on the emergent themes, we can all engage in some way that is more concrete and specific, in the sense of contributing to the improvement of the life conditions of the Rio dos Macacos and of the very way in which society faces the matter of the quilombos. 

During the conference, we gave continuity to an action that the Ipeafro had already promoted during the World Social Forum, realized in Salvador in March of last year, when we made actions in support of the quilombo in three different events. The Rio dos Macacos Quilombo, that is close to the capital of Bahia, is living an extremely precarious situation of aggression and is trying to defend its survival and its rights to the most basic life conditions, such as its own water, besides other forms of subsistence and of continuity of its culture.

ECHOES IN THE CONFERENCE

I feel like there was, on the part of the majority of the participants of the conference, a very evident sympathy and reception of this cause. Really some people did not know anything about the subject. Our objective was to give some information so that people had the beginning of knowledge - and recognition - of this theme. I feel like there was a very enthusiastic and empathic reception. Our more specific action here was to gather signatures in a public declaration in support of the fight  of the Rio dos Macacos Quilombo. If you wish to know more about this cause and to access this declaration, you can access the Ipeafro website (www.ipeafro.org.br).

POSITIVE OUTCOME

The conference was capable of bringing a very diverse group of people, who were instigated to think together in new ways. Instead of defining thematics to afterwards ask people to speak about them, there was an open call, which consisted in uniting many people in a table to discuss their ideas and then define together the title of the panel. This format seemed very interesting to me. We hope that from this exchange between invitees a series of new actions can be born, besides exhibitions and artistic performances such as what we have seen here. This entire moment of exchange, reflections, and artistic and cultural production leaves a very rich outcome for the city of Salvador. 

by Cadu Oliveira

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