Maria Ivanilde de Morais

"... the quilombo is not over, no! The quilombo is alive, right here."

Coming from
Rua Francisco Bicalho, 49 (Quilombo das Guerreiras) Rua Francisco Bicalho, 49 (Quilombo das Guerreiras)

Now living in
Rua da América, 62 - Santo Cristo Rua da América, 62 - Santo Cristo

“The people in a struggle are not playing around. You are talking to the quilombo of warriors [quilombo das guerreiras).”

And in that moment, I was in despair, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t have a way to get out of there. What I earned wasn’t enough to pay for rent somewhere else. Rent was already expensive there, but I was able to pay it. And then an opportunity came up, the organisation “quilombo das guerreiras.” We lived quilombo das guerreiras… it will be eight years soon. This year it will be eight years, on October 6. But we won’t make it because a rumour started to spread that Donald Trump was going to buy the building in which the building of quilombo das guerreiras is. The federal government gave the building and the land to City Hall, and City Hall, with an eye on selling it to Donald Trump (there is a project on the internet of a building with five tours which he was going to build here!) but then in the final hour, everything went downhill, because Trump wanted to be president, he forgot about the tours, and the building is empty today, totally destroyed.

Several people from the quilombo das guerreiras had their lives threatened. Roberto, Angela, Cida… several people had their lives threatened, and there was no way we could continue in the building. City Hall started to evict other smaller occupations, those that were less well-organised than quilombo das guerreiras. One fine day we woke up, and a Comlurb (rubbish) truck arrived, full of furniture, toys, clothes, and boxes, and they started to throw it all into the old warehouses that were behind the quilombo. Those buildings that no one could have lived in, you know? But soon enough, we saw them forming an occupation there, behind us. And with it came drug dealing, prostitution, and the police were constantly invading it. The people who lived behind us and sold drugs started to invade our building to hide inside, something we had never experienced before, because we didn’t allow drug dealing, stealing, drug use… Everything was subject to possible expulsion from the building. We had very rigid internal rules about these kinds of things, because we had a lot of children living in the building.

So they started entering into conflict with us, because they couldn’t accept that we lived the way we were living. They wanted to impose their will on us, to sell drugs at the door of the building, and we didn’t accept it, we tackled them on it. My son had his life threatened, and that was how I knew it was time to leave the quilombo. I really liked my space there because it was a big space, you could probably fit this whole apartment in there. There, there were office rooms and we divided them up like this: those who had bigger families had the bigger spaces. My house was very big, very spacious. I have photos of everything, of our comradeship, our parties, the June parties we held for the children… a lot of rappers, artists, teachers and craftspeople came to visit, I’ve got photographs of the meetings we organised, by unions and teachers. It was the place to be, everyone wanted to organise themselves and meet in the quilombo das guerreiras. The only thing we got out of the struggle was rent of R$400, which doesn’t go anywhere. We were 70 families to begin with, now there are only 33 of us. But the quilombo is not over, no! The quilombo is alive, right here.

Reporter: Juliana Moutinho e Matheus Wenna

My journey

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