Enduring the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Imperatives in the Defense of Black Lives in Brazil


  • Raquel Luciana de Souza
  • Débora Dias dos Santos
  • Wellington Aparecido S. Lopes




For the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brazil and the United States were both under the rule of right-wing conservatives who focused on the pandemic’s impact on the economy, pushing for a reopening of “business as usual” while disregarding the deadly impact of COVID-19 on those considered essential workers. In light of racialized colonial legacies, the large majority of this labor force are people of color, who belong to the most vulnerable sectors of the population. In both countries, Black and Indigenous peoples have been disproportionally bearing the brunt of this pandemic in comparison to whites. This article illustrates how Black communities in Brazil have crafted strategies and created alliances in order to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic. Afro-Brazilians resist and provide alternative responses to the barriers posed by decades of colonial violence and state negligence, which set up complex and layered preexisting structural conditions of socioeconomic exclusion and disenfranchisement. Moreover, this article provides a critical framework for understanding the pedagogies of everyday resistance and the multifaceted strategies communities have forged in order to survive and respond to the social and racial impact of the pandemic.