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Monthly Digest

Latest News and Opinion on and from
Rio de Janeiro's Favelas

November 2015
Volume V Issue 11

Welcome to our November digest with the latest news from RioOnWatch (Rio Olympics Neighborhood Watch), Catalytic Communities' project to bring visibility to favela perspectives on the rapid transformations in Rio through the 2016 Olympic Games. For this month's RioOnWatch articles see below and for an exhaustive list of news reports and features on favelas from the full range of English-language media sources, see the right-hand column.

November is Brazil's Black Awareness Month, an annual occasion to celebrate the country's Afro-Brazilian heritage and resistance to oppression. An interactive timelapse map documents the Atlantic Slave Trade from 1545 to 1860 and highlights the unparalleled scale of Brazil's involvement. A Studio-X event this month discussed the culture of modern quilombos—originally communities of escaped slaves—and ongoing efforts to develop the African Heritage Circuit in Rio's Port. One of the legacies of Brazilian slavery is the stark segregation and increased racial tensions of Rio de Janeiro today, recently captured in new maps of the city's racial distribution

Activists at a Popular Committee event argued that poor, black areas of the city are disproportionately suffering from the militiarization of the city ahead of the Olympics. The New York Times published an exceptionally produced video on the heartbreaking consequences of violent struggle in Rio's favelas, focusing on the case of ten-year-old Eduardo killed by police in Alemão in April. First investigators found police acted in 'legitimate self-defense,' but then the State Public Prosecutor's Office made a potentially landmark decision to prosecute an officer.

Black women, in particular, have been at the forefront of conversation this month, in large part due to the 10,000-strong Black Women's March in Brasília on November 18 in the context of newly published data on violence against women in Brazil. Celebrated black favela author Carolina de Jesus was honored at a São Paulo museum exhibit. November also saw protests against abortion restrictions and social media campaigns against harrassment, making the month an exciting moment for gender equity.

Pressure continues to build on Vila Autódromo next to the Olympic park, where this month the City destroyed the community's ping pong table. Fearing that the attack on already limited public spaces is part of the City's strategy to further intimidate them, residents and allies organized a day of collective action
, as well as day-long cultural occupation, to revitalize the playground and broader community.

Other exciting community initiatives this month included two you can support directly: the Museu de Favela's fundraising campaign to take its 'Women Warriors' exhibit on tour around Brazil, and the eight diverse organizations in Complexo do Alemão that have joined together to crowdfund a powerful package of services to support the community and raise visibility for their work. Several communities organized events around sustainability during Rio's first Zero Waste Week, which took place shortly before a discussion on issues facing residents of areas near the polluted Guanabara Bay.

November also marked the 118th birthday of Providência, Rio's oldest favela, and residents celebrated the culture both of Providência and of favelas more broadly. The vibrancy of daily life in Rio's favelas is the subject of stunning photos by the Imagens do Povo collective's archivist-documentarian photographers.

Finally, we're thrilled to confirm that our crowdfunding campaign has guaranteed full delivery of RioOnWatch through the Olympics. However, our Favela Correspondents program, RioONWire, the #EndFavelaStigma campaign, and Olympics Resources for Journalists are still not fully funded, so we’re asking our supporters for top-up donations to help us secure our full budget. We’re offering an extra chance at winning our Rio Raffle for each $20 donated before December 31st. Please help us reach our target here!

We also want to know what the people who've taken advantage of CatComm and RioOnWatch and made them a success over our fifteen years—YOU!—are up to today, and how we can best support our collaborators and fans going forward. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts on our birthday questionnaire! They're very important to us!
We hope you enjoy this month's carefully compiled digest and video recommendations below. Please share and don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Museu de Favela, a non-profit territorial museum founded in 2008 by community leaders in Cantagalo and Pavão-Pavãozinho in Rio’s South Zone, is promoting a crowdfunding campaign to tour their Mulheres Guerreiras (Women Warriors) art exhibition across Brazil.
  On Sunday, November 22, Brazil’s first favela, the community of Morro da Providência, celebrated its 118th birthday. Though the exact day is unknown, it is popularly understood that Providência was born in November 1897.
  Eight community projects in Complexo do Alemão are participating in a joint crowdfunding campaign entitled #TodosPeloAlemão. The community projects involved hope the initiative will raise awareness about the importance of Alemão’s community-based organizations.
  Last Thursday, November 19, Columbia University’s Studio-X Rio hosted Quilombo of the Present / Quilombo of the Future, an event exploring the significance of quilombos today. Held on the eve of Brazil’s Black Awareness Day, the event brought together researchers and practitioners in the areas of history, art, architecture and urbanism to share insights into the spatial and symbolic significance of quilombos in 21st century Brazil. Based in Maré, the Imagens do Povo photography collective and school for popular photographers prioritizes the idea of practicing photography as “an act of fellowship.” This article features ‘archivist-documentarian’ photographers who focus on the preservation of memory and celebration of everyday life, examining the daily and festive events of the community with less regard to extraordinary disturbances such as mega-eventsand army occupation.
  Last weekend students from two universities joined residents of Vila Autódromo to revitalize the community park, or Parquinho. Following the demolition of the community’s ping-pong table early this month and the lightning evictions of October 23 when bulldozers destroyed five homes, the Parquinho is one of fewpublic spaces still in tact.
  When speaking about large scale institutions and markets like slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Trade, it is easy to forget the individuals and small acts that comprised and sustained them. An interactive map produced by Slate, based on archives of slave ship manifests compiled by Voyages - The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, shows both the incredible scale and the minute, everyday-ness of the trade.
  Women in Brazil are on the march. That’s true in a literal sense, as women put boots-on-the-ground today in Brasília for the annual national Black Women’s March, and in recent weeks inprotests against a proposed law to restrict abortions in cases of rape. It’s also true in the sense that women’s issues, stories and opinions have seized a powerful spotlight in public conversation this month.
  Last Wednesday, November 11, a debate on militarization, exclusion, racism and the Olympics was held in the Cinelândia square, in front of Rio’s City Council. Organized by the Popular Committee on the World Cup and Olympics, the event brought together different social movements and NGOs concerned with police violence and abuses against the city’s poorer residents, and particularly against black citizens.
IMG_9119-2-620x264 (1)Communities Debate Pollution in the Guanabara Bay by Lovinia Reynolds, Marcela Benavides, | November 16
On Tuesday November 10, over 50 community members and activists gathered to discuss the heavily debated issue of increasing pollution in the Guanabara Bay, but also to discuss the problems that affect the population living around it. Today over 10 million people live in the surrounding areas of the Bay in over 15 different municipalities.
rsz_mapa-da-cidade-do-rio-de-janeiro-satelite-620x264 (2)Maps Show Racial Segregation in Rio de Janeiro
by Felicity Clarke | November 12
A new series of maps and infographics show the stark racial segregation of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Using data from the latest 2010 census, a São Paulo geography student Barbosa first mapped racial distribution in the South Zone, and then published maps which detail the racial distribution across the whole city region.
FOTO-CAROLINA-MARIA1-620x264 (1)Paying Homage to Favela Author Carolina Maria de Jesus by Benito Aranda-Comer, Marcela Benavides | November 11
Carolina Maria de Jesus was Brazil’s only favela writer to be published in English during the 1960s. In 1958, pieces of her journal were discovered and transformed into her first book Quarto de Despejo, in English known as Child of the Dark, which has since been translated into 13 different languages.
  A controversial piece from writer and poet Anderson Dinho challenges state security policies in Rio de Janeiro, with the Pacifying Police Units as its main focus. The post, which deconstructs the discourse which says that “the only good criminal is a dead criminal,” caused the Independent Media Collective’s social network pages to be blocked for two hours.
  The psychological stress on residents in Vila Autódromo, next to the 2016 Olympic Park, continues to increase as bulldozers are now a regular presence in the neighborhood. At the beginning of the week, Vila Autódromo saw the widely used community-made ping pong table smashed in seconds. The event is seen as a symbolic act of pressure and intimidation towards remaining residents resisting eviction, just over a week after five homes were demolished without warning on October 23.
rio-das-pedras-620x264 (2)Rio de Janeiro Holds Its First Zero Waste Week by Nia McAllister | November 5
This October Rio de Janeiro organized its first official Semana Lixo Zero, or Zero Waste Week. With Brazil wasting R$8 billion a year on the incorrect disposal of garbage that could be recycled, Zero Waste Week works to model and encourage waste reduction practices that can be widely applied by the broader population.
Octobercollageb-620x264 (1)Favelas In the News: October 2015 Digest by Cerianne Robertson | November 4
The media spotlight on Rio is growing ever more intense ahead of the Olympics, as October began with the official Rio 2016 press briefing for international journalists. The month included a number of notable themed days, from UN-Habitat’s World Habitat Day, to Blog Action Day 2015 exploring the theme of ‘Raise Your Voice’ and the UN’s World Cities Day with a focus on ‘Designed to Live Together.’
  Set with the task of hosting World Cup Games and the 2016 Olympics in the span of two years, Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Eduardo Paes has invested billions of reais in a wide range of transport development projects. Meanwhile, however, the primary and traditionally most important form of urban transport–the city’s buses–are suffering massive cuts that have left many passengers reeling.

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in the Media

Vice November 30
The Cops Trying to 'Pacify' Rio's Favelas Are Psychologically Scarred by James Armour Young

The Guardian November 27
Pointe break: favela ballet project gives Brazilian girls a chance to dance by Frederick Bernas

Reuters November 27
Brazil's Andrade Gutierrez to admit World Cup bribes by Caroline Stauffer

Roads and Kingdoms November 26
Cidade do Rock by Manuela Andreoni

Global Post November 25
These 6 major companies keep popping up in Brazil's biggest corruption scandals by Will Carless

The Globe and Mail November 25
Why easing marijuana laws is a good first step by Misha Glenny

Yahoo! Sports November 25
Brazil auditor worried by border security for Rio Olympics by Mauricio Saverese

The Guardian November 24
Brazil's Petrobras scandal investigators will also scrutinize Olympic contracts by Reuters

Inside the Games November 23
Controversial Rio 2016 golf course unveiled by Liam Morgan

Black Women of Brazil November 23
White media, black population: Denial of reality – From novelas to newspapers: the black population still occupies subordinate positions in the hegemonic media by Vinicius Martins

Rio Gringa November 22

Q&A with Papo Reto's Raull Santiago by Rachel Glickhouse

NPR November 22
As Brazil's Largest City Struggles With Drought, Residents Are Leaving by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

The Root November 21
Fighting Poverty, Plagued by Violence: Why 10,000 Black Women in Brazil Marched for Their Rights by Kiratiana Freelon

Global Post November 20
Brazil just observed Black Awareness Day. A look at Congress proves they need it by Will Carless

Vice November 20
Brazil Says It Can Deal with Any Security Threat to the Olympics — Including Terrorism by Donna Bowater

Rio Real Blog November 20
Can Rio police come through, in an age of black swans? by Julia Michaels

The Rio Times November 19
Black Women in Brazil March for Equal Gender, Race Rights by Lise Alves

The Guardian November 19
Brazilian police officer charged with homicide over death of 10-year-old boy 
by AP

Amnesty International November 19
Brazil: Fresh hope for justice after 10-year-old boy shot dead in military police operation

NZ Herald November 18
Midweek Fixture with Dylan Cleaver: Rio de Janeiro edition by Dylan Cleaver

The Guardian November 18
Nemesis by Misha Glenny review – king of the favelas by Tony Wood

SurferToday November 18
From favela to bodyboarding glory: the emotional story of Socrates Santana

The Rio Times November 17
Violent Deaths Increase in Rio’s UPP Areas in First Half of 2015 by Lise Alves

Global Post November 17
Brazil's shocking violence against women, in 5 charts by Will Carless

Next City November 16
How a 29-Year-Old Designer Is Reinventing the Urban Monument by Greg Scruggs

Journalism in the Americas November 16
Former AP correspondent talks about life in Rio de Janeiro leading up to the Olympics by Teresa Mioli

Rio Real Blog November 16
Intelligent life in Rio, despite lack of funds by Julia Michaels

Black Women of Brazil November 15
1.5 million black women are victims of domestic violence in Brazil, reveals unpublished analysis 
by Alvaro Magalhães

The Rio Times November 14
Vidigal’s Casa Geração is Crowdfunding Next Fashion Show 
by Shalina Chatlani

Global Post November 14
Vile tweets and spiking femicides: It's a tough time to be a woman in Brazil 
by Will Carless

Yahoo! Finance November 13
Rio's favelas invaded... by book lovers
by Javier Tovar

The New York Times November 12
In Run-Up to Olympics, Rio’s Property Market Already Looks Hung Over by Simon Romero

The New York Times November 10
No Charges Against Rio Police in Fatal Shooting of 10-Year-Old Boy
by Simon Romero

The New York Times November 10
In Rio, Pacification Without Peace
by Nadia Sussman

Black Women of Brazil November 10
In the last 10 years, while the homicide rate of white women fell by 9.8% percent, for black women it rose 54%!!

Rio 2016 November 10
Dilma Rousseff presents the ‘10 Commandments’ of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

VOA November 9
Brazil Plans to Tax Airbnb Rentals Ahead of Olympics by Reuters

The Wall Street Journal November 9
Brazil’s Economic Crisis Beats the Emerging Middle Class Back Down by Paul Kiernan

The Economic Times November 7
From slum to bookshop, Brazil drug queen turns writer by AFP

Macleans November 7
Nem, Rio’s hardened criminal and anti-hero by Tomas Hachard

Global Post November 5
A Brazilian student mapped out Rio's racial segregation. What he found was startling by Will Carless

NPR November 4
Racial Tensions Rise in Rio de Janeiro as Economy Continues to Struggle by Catherine Osborn

Folha de S. Paulo November 3
Rio Olympic spending turns from gold to bronze by Jules Boykoff

Vice November 3
Activists Planning Protests at Rio Olympics Are Worried They Could Be Charged With Terrorism by Gabriel Marchi, Ben Tavener

BRIC Plus November 3
Favela to Fortune: The Success of Brazil's Women Entrepreneurs by Ana Paula Picasso

WBFO 88.7 November 3
Rio de Janeiro’s pacification program slips back to tactics from its bloody 'War on Drugs' by Catherine Osborn

Daily Camera November 3
Climbing out of poverty in Brazil and Mexico by Chris Weidner

Venture Capital Post* November 2
Brazil evicts families for 2016 Olympic Games

GreenBiz November 2
Why good governance is critical for sustainable cities by Maria Antonia Tigre
*CatComm supported/quoted

RioOnWatch is a project of Catalytic Communities


Highlights from



Top-up your donation in December and gain an extra chance to win the Rio Raffle!

We're thrilled to confirm that our crowdfunding campaign has guaranteed full delivery of RioOnWatch through the Olympics. However, our Favela Correspondents program, RioONWire, #EndFavelaStigma campaign, and Olympics Resources for Journalists are still not fully funded, so we’re asking our supporters for top-up donations to help us secure our full budget. We’re offering an extra chance at winning our Rio Raffle for each $20 donated before December 31st. Help us reach our target here!

2015 University Tour a Success

Over three weeks in November, CatComm Executive Director Theresa Williamson toured campuses across five US states delivering a range of talks, covering topics from green urbanism in Rio's favelas to the impacts of the 2016 Olympics on these communities and grassroots resistance efforts. Most visits were day-long, with campuses taking advantage of Theresa for a variety of additional functions: giving Portuguese-language class lectures, consulting with researchers undertaking favela surveys, discussing study abroad initiatives, and more. We have decided to maintain the tour for 2016 and plan to complete bookings by May. Learn more about the University Tour here.  

CatComm Questionnaire

We want to know what the people who've taken advantage of CatComm and RioOnWatch and made them a success over these years—YOU!—are up to today, and how we can best support our collaborators and fans going forward. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts! They're very important to us!



In Rio, Pacification Without Peace

10,000 Black Brazilian women marched for equality

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