We’re Movimentos, a group of young activists from different favelas and peripheries of Brazil who want to change the current landscape of drug policies in the country. For many years, we have been suffering the violent impacts of the so-called “war on drugs”, a war we did not choose to fight. And we have been living through the stigmatization and racism which were certainly intensified by this war, though not invented by it.
The violent effects of this war upon us have persisted for far too long, but we have repeatedly watched debates about us that seldom include us. For this reason, we believe it is not possible to build alternatives to current drug policies if we do not have a seat in this conversation. We must be the protagonists in any discussion regarding the impacts of this war in our lives and in any attempt to conceive solutions and reparations. These are the fundamental conditions for us to overcome decades of failed drug policies.
What we believe in
We must talk about the impacts of the war on drugs in our daily lives.
We want to debate our own problems and bring the discussion on drug policy to our routine.
We need to think of alternatives to the war on drugs from the perspective of favelas.
Change is already coming, and not always in a positive sense. That is why we need transformation and information that include us.
The youth must be the protagonist of change.
We are dying. We are the ones who are losing friends, family, and opportunities because of this failed policy. We need to lead this debate, which is currently restricted to privileged areas of knowledge.
We need to strengthen harm reduction and mental health strategies in the favelas.
The war on drugs also impacts the physical and mental health of the people who live in these territories, so they must be a priority.
How we work
We create tools...
To help broaden the debate on drug policy reform inside the favelas, and from our perspective. A good example is the booklet we created a booklet on drug policy, available in Portuguese at movimentos.org.br/publicações.
We train young people...
From favelas and peripheries of Brazil on drug policy reform, so they can share our content among their friends, families and communities.
We organize grassroots activities in the favelas...
Aiming at broadening and democratizing traditional spaces and narratives on drug policy reform.
We build networks...
Among groups, collectives and initiatives led by young people from favelas who are interested in changing current drug policies. We currently maintain a national network of young activists from different Brazilian favelas called Movimente-se.
We occupy spaces of debate and decision...
On drug policy, bringing the perspective of favelas and peripheries to the center of the discussion.
What we've done since 2016
For three days, ten young activists from different favelas and peripheries in Brazil worked together in Complexo da Maré, the biggest complex of favelas of Rio de Janeiro, in order to debate the impacts of the war on drugs in their lives and to start building strategies to put an end to it. As the event approached its end, they all decided that Movimentos should not stop there.
The training process
In the months that followed, the group met regularly in order to keep with their training process on drug-related matters. We met national and international drug policy experts and participated in debates across the country to speak about drug policy reform from our perspectives. We studied a lot so we could talk properly about drug policy topics from our own standpoint.
Creating the booklet
In our training process, we realized that there was no material about drug policy reform built specifically by and to the people who live in favelas. This is why we decided to write a booklet ourselves. The booklet is a tool for broadening the discussion and promoting the drug policy debate inside the favelas, and from our own perspective.
Click here to download our booklet (in Portuguese).
The finalization of the booklet allowed us to amplify our voice and the outreach of our message. As a celebration of this achievement, we organized two launching events: in Rio de Janeiro, a debate with Djamila Ribeiro, Douglas Belchior and Flávia Oliveira; and in São Paulo, an event with Dr. Carl Hart, neuroscientist from Columbia University.
The first meeting of Movimente-se
In late-2017, we organized a big national meeting with 25 young activists from different favelas and peripheries of Brazil in order to create concrete proposals to change current drug policies. For four days, the activists shared their experiences about the impacts of the war on drugs in their lives and created tools that could help pushing this debate inside the favelas and peripheries, and from our own perspective.
You can read more about the 1st Movimente-se here (in Portuguese).
Occupying the debate and thinking ahead
Since Movimentos was created, we have been receiving invitations to speak in national and international seminars, debates, and TV and radio programs. We also organize workshops, give lectures and organize cultural events in different favelas of Rio de Janeiro; and build specific tools to speak about drug policy reform with the peripheral youth. By occupying spaces inside and outside the favelas, we help broadening the drug policy debate from the standpoint of those who are the most impacted by the war on drugs.