A Bleak Territory: Black Women Candidates from the Urban Periphery in the Baixada Fluminense [VIDEO]

Clique aqui para Português

In this Portuguese-language mini-documentary, three Black women from Greater Rio de Janeiro’s Baixada Fluminense speak about their experiences of running for office and how the region is, as the video’s name implies, “A Bleak Territory” for Black women candidates who challenge local political clans. During the 2022 election cycle, Juliana Drummond, a history teacher from São João de Meriti, and Rose Cipriano, a math teacher from Duque de Caxias, were candidates for Federal Deputy and State Deputy respectively. Educator Leci Carvalho from the Austin neighborhood in the municipality of Nova Iguaçu didn’t run in 2022 but reports the difficulties she faced during the 2016 and 2020 elections when she ran for mayor of Nova Iguaçu.

None of the three women were elected. However, Juliana Drummond received 4,181 votes and became an alternate for Federal Deputy, and Rose Cipriano received 13,699 votes and became a State Deputy alternate. This means that thanks to the strong vote share they received, should deputies of the same party stand down or require substitution for any reason, they could be appointed to the role. This may happen by 2026.

The three activists share a lot in common and reflect on the structural racism and sexism which historically permeates election processes in the Baixada Fluminense. The mini-doc also describes the racism present in the distribution of political party election budgets when it comes to Black female candidates as compared to white female candidates. Even among political parties that theoretically embrace the anti-racist struggle and have historical links to the Black Movement, such as the Workers’ Party (PT), Black candidates are under-resourced and cannot depend on the full institutional support commonly available to their white counterparts.

Watch the mini-documentary in Portuguese here.

The Comendador Soares train station in Nova Iguaçu with the Vulcão mountains in the background.

About the filmmaker: Fabio Leon is a journalist, human rights activist, and media advisor with Fórum Grita Baixada

About the producer and editor: Janine Miranda lives in Nova Iguaçu and is a language teacher who works with video and photography. She is also an environmental educator with the NGO Contato. 

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