Black Women Maria-Maria Group

The Amazon, a Land of Charms and Magic: Addressing Discrimination and Racism against the Black Women of Umbanda (Afro-religious groups) in the Transamazon and Xingu and promoting cultural and socio-political empowerment


Objectives and target audience

To increase visibility and respect for the religion, liturgy, pantheon, tales and Afro-descendant myths through actions in ten cities in the Xingu River region and the Transamazon Highway in Pará, to face discrimination and racism that violate the rights of Black women and LGBT people.

Main activities

  • Cine-Sarais Debates “Black Women in the Gongá”;
  • Construction of the Umbandamazônica Network of Black and LGBT Women;
  • The I Umbandamazônico Meeting of Black and LGBT Women;
  • Regional Campaign “Drums, History and Resistance”.


The Amazon region has always had its history intertwined with the magic and charms of shamanic, spiritual, indigenous and Afro-Brazilian cults. Since the 1970s, with the opening of the BR-230 (Transamazônica) Highway, these cults began to spread and reinvent themselves, including African cultural aspects, which added to the religious culture gave rise to the many umbandistas e “linha cruzada” cults practiced in the region. The increasing migratory flow, caused mainly by colonialism and the implementation of capitalist enterprises intensified the establishment of evangelical, Catholic and Pentecostal churches. Today, according to IBGE (a research institute), Altamira has a population of 58 thousand Catholic people, 32 thousand evangelicals and only 298 umbandistas. However, there are thousands of Umbandists and people from other African religions such as Candomblé and Kimbanda who fear reprisals, attacks, discrimination and prejudice and, therefore, do not declare their faith.

About the organization

COMUNEMA was created in 2015, and its mission is to provide visibility and support to the struggle of Black women from the outskirts of Altamira and of Black communities in the region of the Transamazon highway and Xingu, fighting on behalf of the Black youth, LGBTs and Black women that are disregarded by state and public policies aimed at these populations and their families. It works for the right to decent housing and quality of life in collective urban resettlement (RUCs) imposed by the settlement of energy projects located in this region (Belo Monte / Belo Horizonte Mining Plant), promoting campaigns and interventions in the field of Black women’s health and self care agenda, training community leaders in the field of urban resettlement, solidarity and sustainable economy and empowerment, decriminalization and visibility of Black and LGBT youth.


FDA - Fórum em Defesa de Altamira (Forum in Defense of Altamira);

MMCC- Movimento de Mulheres do Campo e Cidade (Rural and Urban Women's Movement - MMCC-PA);

Mutirão Pela Cidadania (Joint Efforts for Citizenship);

Associação das Comunidades Quilombolas de Porto de Moz (Association of Quilombola Communities of Porto de Moz);

Centro de Formação do (a) Negro (a) da Transamazônica e Xingu (CFNTX - Transamazon and Xingu Black People's Training Center);

Grupo de Resistência da Negritude Jovem (Black Youth Resistance Group);

Rede Fulanas (Fulanas Network);

Rede de Mulheres Negras Amazônicas (Amazon Black Women Network);

Coletivo Sapato Preto (Black Shoe Collective);

Fundação República do Emaús (Republic of Emmaus Foundation);

Movimento Xingu Vivo Para Sempre (Xingu Alive Forever Movement);

Coletivo de Mulheres do Xingu (Women of Xingu Group).

Funding Line

Fighting Racism from the Bottom Up



Total Granted

R$ 70 mil


14 months

Main Themes

Confronting racism

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