More than 1,700 leaders and religious communities sign a document claiming justice, the right to land, religious freedom, racial and gender justice by Mãe Bernadete Pacífico, quilombola leader and mother of saint murdered in the Quilombo Pitanga dos Palmares in Simões Filho, metropolitan region of Salvador, on the 17th of last August.
The public note asks for the resolution of problems for which Mother Bernadette fought, such as the titling of quilombola territories, land regularization, demarcation of indigenous territories and agrarian reform. The text was signed by representatives of African religions, Catholics, Evangelicals/Protestants, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Spiritists, Bahá'í Faith and indigenous, Gypsy, Wiccan and Shamanic religions.
The undersigned also obtained the support of the National Coordination of Articulation of Rural Black Quilombola Communities (CONAQ), the Black Coalition for Rights and the Unified Black Movement. In addition to elucidating the crime, the signatories demand firm structures to combat racism, religious intolerance, gender violence and defend human rights defenders.
The vice-director of the Institute for Religious Studies (ISER) Clemir Fernandes, one of the authors of the letter, believes that it is in diversity and in the dialogical encounter of different efforts that Brazil becomes a giant, above all to face its most serious problems. “Our history has shown that. In this moment of pain for the death of Mother Bernadette, the conjunction of people and groups of different religions and social actions demonstrate hope that we can overcome racism, violence, including gender, agrarian, religious and more”, he says.
Read the full note:
“We, the undersigned leaders and faith communities, are dismayed by the murder of Mãe Bernadete Pacífico, quilombola leader and coordinator of CONAQ (National Coordination of Quilombos Articulation), executed inside the candomblé terreiro where she was matriarch in Simões Filho, region metropolitan area of Salvador, Bahia, on the night of this Thursday, August 17, 2023.
We express our deep solidarity with the family members, daughters of saints, friends, companions in struggle and with CONAQ. We vehemently repudiate what happened and demand effective investigations by state/federal governments and justice systems that lead to the accountability of executors and possible principals.
We echo the words of CONAQ:
“Mother Bernadette, now silenced, was a shining light in the fight against discrimination, racism and marginalization. She acted on the front line to solve the case of the murder of her son Binho and bravely faced all the adversities that a black mother can face in the search for justice and in defense of her son's memory and dignity. In this fight, with courage, she challenged the system and, like so many women, put her body and voice in defense of a cause with which she had an unshakable commitment. His voice resonated not only at meetings and events, but also in the hearts of those who believed in change.” (Note from @conaquilombos)
We await the elucidation of this crime and we understand that the resolution of problems for which Mother Bernadette fought involves a structural change that involves the titling of quilombola territories, land regularization, demarcation of indigenous territories, agrarian reform. As well as firm structures to combat racism, religious intolerance, gender violence; and advocacy for human rights defenders.
We call on leaders, communities, groups and youth of faith to join our cry for justice, land rights, religious freedom, racial and gender justice. There will be no peace as long as injustice reigns.”
Check the document and the complete list of signatures here.