Channel partner ELAS+, the Brazilian women’s fund, hosted a livestream on March 23, 2022 where they launched a unique and vital research report, “Activism and Pandemic in Brazil.” The purpose of this report is to enhance understanding of the social, political, and economic context in which movements led by women and trans people in Brazil have operated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to date.
ELAS’s research is based on information from almost 1,000 Brazilian groups led by women and trans people working on issues such as women’s political participation, LBTI+ rights, reproductive justice, and more. The report praises these groups for being “fast, creative, and resilient” in their responses to the challenges of the pandemic, despite having little or no resources. Among the challenges faced by these groups were digital inequality, mental illness among activists, and an increase in violence. ELAS+’ research revealed that groups responded to these challenges by reinventing their models of activism in order to support those most vulnerable during the pandemic. This reinvention involved a shift to digital activism, distribution of information and hygiene items, and a reliance on activist networks.
The findings of this research serve not only to highlight the diligence with which women and trans-led groups in Brazil organized in response to the pandemic, but also the necessity for flexible resources and funding to groups like this, especially those led by Black and Indigenous women.