From March 10 to 13, the ELAS Fund promoted the "Dialogue between Activists: Strategies and Techniques for Protection and Care in the Midst of Restrictions of Freedom". The meeting brought together representatives from grantees in the Program to Combat Violence against Women, developed by the ELAS Fund with the support of the Sigrid Rausing Trust and aimed at ending violence against activists. Since 2014, this initiative has supported 32 projects and promoted 4 Dialogues on this theme.
"We are currently experiencing a conservative offensive with the criminalization of social movements, the religious, dogmatic and fundamentalist wave, an increase in racism, homophobia, lesbophobia, transphobia and all kinds of violence. It is strategic to invest in the self-care and safety of feminists who act in defense of women's rights," explains KK Verdade, executive coordinator of the ELAS Fund.
The Dialogue was attended by 41 activists from all over Brazil, representing the 14 grantees in the current cycle of the program. They are women who experience racism, lesbophobia, transphobia and sexism on a daily basis in their communities; grassroots lawyers who work in the territories to empower and protect women; activists who use Afro-Brazilian music and culture in the fight for women's well-being; programmers who disseminate digital security and privacy defense techniques; indigenous, quilombola and riverine women who face the fight against the genocide of their peoples; women who strengthen and articulate mothers of victims of state violence; among others.
Together, they discussed the current challenges in their activism and outlined strategies for resistance, protection and care. The program included debates on safety, self-care and the political situation, as well as workshops on digital safety, body awareness exercises and natural medicine.
Jéssica da Cunha and Tais Rocha, who represented the Tambores de Safo Collective at the Dialogue, visited the ELAS Fund after the event and shared their impressions with us: "I left the Dialogue feeling strengthened and articulated. It was a time for building alliances, we had the opportunity to meet other sisters who are doing similar things. Apart from the huge gain of incorporating the discourse and practice of self-care into our actions," says Tais. "It was a wonderful experience - I knew it was going to be cool, but I imagined something much more institutional, in fact it was a moment of very intense exchanges," says Jéssica.