Brasilien: Nilza Iraci

The desire to belong has permeated my entire life.

— Nilza Iraci

Nilza Iraci (1950) is part of the Afro Brazilian Women Feminist Movement, communicator and political articulator. Tireless, she works behind the scenes and on stage at the meetings of women and UN social conferences. Her role: to guarantee that the subject of racism is present in documents and in public policies. She has a daughter, and she defines herself as an obstacle jumper.

Nilza Iraci lived a tough childhood: she had an aggressive mother, a missing father and was extremely poor. She was a maid from ages nine to 13. When she was 14, she worked in a factory. But the girl made of her doubts a door to the world. Nilza Iraci rewrote her destiny. After her work in the factory, she attended school. “I wanted to learn, learn, and learn.” She approximated herself to the studentile movement, without feeling that she belonged there. In the most repressive moment of the military dictatorship, she dove into left-wing militancy. She was arrested in 1972. Again, she did not feel like she belonged. “My fellow militants were revolutionary in their speech, but sexist in their daily life.” The sensation of finally belonging happened in her meeting with the feminist movement. Nilza realized her mission inside the feminism: to include the specific problems of the Afro-Brazilians to increase awareness of racial discrimination. She also joined the Afro-Brazilian movement and discovered her second challenge: to include the matters of women in the agenda of anti-racist fights. “I would go back and forth in these two spaces. I insisted for the feminists to include Afro-Brazilian women. I insisted for the Afro-Brazilian women to accept feminism.” Nilza Iraci is responsible for the communication project of Geledés–the largest female Afro-Brazilian NGO. Politically, she believes in the union of flags. Class, Gender and Race are of a unique effort: to reduce inequalities. Her work was recognized by Latin-American women to such a degree that she represented them in the evaluation meeting of the 10 years of the Women's World Conference (Beijing +10). National born articulator, she goes from meeting to meeting, from conference to conference introducing her message. “All my energy is used to transform the reality.”

Geledés–Instituto da Mulher Negra