Standing in Solidarity – Black Lives Matter Everywhere
Rio de Janeiro
July 20 – 23, 2016
Black Lives Matter and Brazil Police Watch are going to Rio de Janeiro to stand in solidarity with activists and victims of police violence. Police in Brazil kill 8 people a day and police in Rio kill every 15 hours. According to Amnesty International police lethality has increased as police clean up for the Olympics. The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said that the current wave of police violence in Brazil is done in order to “present a problem-free city to the world” for the Olympics.
Young black men are the primary victims: according to Amnesty International, of the 1,275 registered homicides by police in Rio between 2010 and 2014, 99.5% were men, 79% were black and 75% were between the ages of 15-29. A culture of impunity prevails: few cases are investigated, and still fewer prosecuted.
We will be in Rio de Janeiro from July 20 to July 23. We conclude our trip on July 23rd, the 24th anniversary of the Candelaria Massacre when police in Rio killed 8 sleeping homeless children. While in Rio, we will meet with victims of police violence, community organizers and activists fighting state violence. We are going to affirm that Black Lives Matter Everywhere.
Who We Are
Liz Martin became an activist after a policeman murdered her nephew in Brazil. Liz is the daughter of a Worcester policeman. By joining with victims’ families in Brazil and seeking advice and support from human rights activists Liz created the campaign “Don’t Kill for Me; Safe Games for All”. Through story telling and reporting, Liz works to educate others about the high rates of police killing citizens in Brazil, considered among the highest in the world. Liz has testified on police brutality in Brazil before the U.S. Congress Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and has spoken nationally and internationally about Brazilian police violence. After meeting the families of people killed by the police in Rio, Liz started story telling to share their stories. “I am not an expert on police violence”, Liz explains, “but I can bear witness to the devastation left behind when the state murders its citizens.”
As a Black femme lesbian, sexual health educator, strategist and organizer, Daunasia Yancey exemplifies the best of Boston. She has spent her life advocating for the vital resources that underrepresented communities need. Daunasia has been organizing locally since age 13, but her passion quickly grew into a full fledged commitment while working for the Boston Alliance of LGBT Youth (BAGLY), Fenway Health and for the Boston LGBT Adolescent Social Services (GLASS). Working as a strategist, Daunasia has successfully served on the Board of Directors for both BAGLY and the National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC). Daunasia’s work has been featured in the documentary, Secret Survivors, (2012) and she has been honored with the Colin Higgins Foundation’s National Youth Courage Award (2011) and the Fenway Health Trailblazers Award (2014). Most recently, Daunasia has responded to the international call to action of the Black Lives Matter movement, organizing direct actions, community building opportunities, and leading the fight for Black liberation, in Boston and beyond. Daunasia currently works part-time at Cambridge Health Alliance as a sexual and reproductive health counselor.
The Right Reverend Doctor John L. Selders, Jr. is an ordained minister serving in the United Church of Christ, the Organizing Pastor of Amistad United Church of Christ, Hartford, CT, Associate College Chaplain, Trinity College, Hartford, CT and one of the leaders of Moral Monday CT. For 15 years, he served Executive Director of Zezzo House (an 18 unit housing project) in Hartford, CT.
He is the loving spouse of Pamela and father of two, Alisia (daughter), Jay (son) and grand parent of one, Makenzie (granddaughter). Bishop Selders has done his academic and theological reflection attending Life Christian Bible College, Webster University, Eden Theological Seminary and Anglican Divinity School. In addition to being a talented award winning songwriter, musician and performer with local, national, and international credits, he is also the Bishop Presider of The Inter-Denominational Conference of Liberation Congregations and Ministries (ICLCM) and is the Co-Convening Bishop of The Sacred College of Progressive Episcopates (SCPE). Bishop Selders is a founding member of Moral Monday CT, a grassroots statewide organization committed to a wide range of social justice issues.
Bishop Selders has exhibited extraordinary commitment and dedication to a number of efforts that have afforded him the opportunity to travel across the country speaking, lecturing and conducting workshops in the areas of race, oppression and reproductive justice. He is a teacher, lecturer, workshop leader, an HIV/AIDS educator and activist with numerous citations for his work. +John worked for 12 years as a Lecturer at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, CT., Adjunct Faculty Member in the Field Education Department of Andover Newton Theological School, Dean of Urban Ministry Track for The Anglican Divinity School and is an adjunct faculty member for The Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education. He serves on a number of boards currently serving as the national Vice President of the Religious Coalition of Reproductive Choice and works with several organizations both locally and nationally whose work is ultimately concerned with the healing of humanity.
Pamela Selders is a proud mom and grandmom, wife, entrepreneur, healer, organizer, advocate and activist.
She is the founder and owner of Pam’s Personals, a company that promotes healing through, holistic health aromatherapy, herbalism and dream work. Pamela pursued academics as an undergraduate at Tennessee State University and graduate studies at the Processwork Center of Oregon. Her activism spans over several decades. Beginning in the mid 90’s to present, she has worked to organize and develop collaboratives, alliances and organizations focusing on racial justice.
A native St. Louisiana, Pamela responded to the call for racial justice in 2014 with the death of Michael Brown. She joined the Black Lives Matter movement and co-founded Moral Monday CT in Connecticut where she currently works and resides.
Reverend Waltrina N. Middleton is actively engaged in social justice issues domestically and globally. Her advocacy work includes organizing in Cleveland, and beyond to address a systemic culture of violence and racism against marginalized communities. She is founder/organizer of Cleveland Action, a human rights resource in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. She is a preacher, poet, social critic and community organizer committed to actualizing the vision of a Beloved community.
Recently, Rev. Middleton was recognized by Rejuvenate Magazine as one of its 40 Under 40 Professionals to Watch in Non-Profit Religious Sector and Center for American Progress’ “16 to Watch in 2016”. Last summer, she was awarded the Jonathan M. Daniels Memorial Fellowship by the Episcopal Divinity School to support a research project on the parallels between activism, arts and lament in the Black Live Movement in the US and anti-apartheid movement in Palestine.
She is the inaugural Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Fellowship Scholar and one of the inaugural William “Bill” Lucy Social Justice and Globalization Fellows, both received while matriculating as a Master of Divinity Student at Chicago Theological Seminary where she graduated with distinction. Her Master’s thesis explored “Reconciling a God of the Oppressed: A Look at Sexual Abuse, Rape, Incest and Other Forms of Sexual Exploitation Within the Black Church”. She is also an alumna of DePaul University and Howard University, respectively.
Brittíni Gray is pursuing her master’s degree in Divinity Theological Studies at Eden Theological Seminary. Her years of experience in community and youth development led her to St. Louis to work with Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) after doing a year of service in Buffalo, NY where she first started community organizing. Through her organizing, Brittíni, a poet who has used art as a vehicle for organizing-has organized issue-oriented campaigns related to education, voter engagement, policing and criminal justice (specifically focusing on juvenile justice). She is the chairwoman for Gamaliel’s Organizers of Color Caucus and the founder of Students 4 Change, the youth-organizing arm of MCU that charts new paths for the organization by engaging youth in organizing campaigns. Her portfolio includes designing and facilitating workshops & trainings on leadership, community organizing, and racism. She is also an experienced fundraiser turning around break-even fundraisers and obtaining new grants for her organization.
She holds fast to the principles of Ubuntu which declares, “I am because we are. We are because God is.”
TENTATIVE LIST OF GROUPS WE WILL MEET WITH:
Colectivo Papo Reto (Collective Papo Reto) A group from the favelas Alemão and Penha focusing on sharing information about the realities of the favela. They have activists throughout the favelas documenting their realities as a counter message to big media.
Forum de Juventudes RJ (Youth Forum Rio de Janeiro) A forum for youth of Rio to discuss policies the state implements that impact their daily lives such as the UPP program and the World Cup and the Olympics.
Maes de Maio (Mothers of May) Founded after the 2006 “Crimes of May” massacre when over 450 civilians were killed during a 10 day battle between gangs and Sao Paulo police.
Rede de Comunidades Contra a Violencia (Network of Communities Against Violence) An organization of people who have had a loved one killed by the police in Rio who are working to end state violence.
Justica Global (Global Justice) Global Justice is an organization that works to protect and promote human rights.
Forum Social de Manguinhos (Manguinhos Social Forum) It is a space that brings together residents of the favela Manguinhos, its institutions, and social movements that defend citizenship and social rights, through direct participation in the design, construction, implementation, monitoring and social control of public policies.
Anistia Internacional (Amnesty International – Brazil) They recently launched the campaign “Young, Black, Alive” to counter the extremely high rate of deaths of Black youth by homicide and police violence. Their most recent report on police violence in Brazil is “You Killed my Son: Homicides by Military Police in the City of Rio de Janeiro” released in August 2015.
If you would like to speak with a delegation member, please email firstname.lastname@example.org