(21 Nov 2017) Dozens of Brazilians commemorated the National Day of Black Consciousness on Monday in Rio de Janeiro.
Carrying a giant figure of a woman of colour, dancing and marching in downtown Rio, people also demanded an end to inequality and discrimination in the country where people of colour represent more than 50 percent.
Among the participants were followers of the Afro-Brazilian religions of Umbanda and Candomble.
They marched to the monument of Zumbi dos Palmares – one of the leaders of the resistance against slavery in the country – where they made a cleansing ritual to pay tribute to him and to bless the place.
Brazil has a fraught racial legacy: it was the world’s largest slave market and also the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery.
Today, more than half of Brazil’s population identifies as black or mixed race.
Brazil is only just beginning to grapple with racism after decades in which talking about it was taboo.
The country’s searing inequality is racially-tinged, with dark-skinned Brazilians more likely to be poor or suffer violence than their white counterparts.
People of colour have only recently begun to gain access in significant numbers to areas that traditionally excluded them, like universities, prominent acting roles or senior political positions.
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