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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

LCCR Meets with Brazilian Leaders to Discuss Civil Rights

May 11, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

LCCR President Wade Henderson speaking with Edson Santos, Brazil's minister of the Special Secretariat for Policies to Promote Racial Equality

Wade Henderson, LCCR president and CEO, speaking with Edson Santos, Brazil's minister of the Special Secretariat for Policies to Promote Racial Equality, after April 29 U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan Memorandum on Race and Civil Rights steering committee meeting in Washington, D.C.

On April 29, LCCR met with the U.S. State Department, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Brazilian officials that make up the U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan Memorandum on Race and Civil Rights steering committee to discuss ways to further implement the agreement's goals.

As the two largest democracies in the Western Hemisphere, the U.S. and Brazil signed the agreement in 2008, outlining both countries' goals for promoting racial equality and equal opportunity for all their citizens and as an example for the rest of the Americas.

After remarking on the parallels in the U.S. and Brazil regarding race, LCCR President Wade Henderson noted that even though "rampant inequality based on race" still exists, the example of the U.S. civil rights movement demonstrates that "transformational change is possible."

Almost half of Brazil's population - more than 90 million people - are of African descent, making it the second largest Black population in the world, after Nigeria. Millions of Brazilians also have indigenous ancestry, though very few identify as such. 

Although overt discrimination is illegal, employment and housing discrimination is rampant in Brazil. Brazil has one of the largest economic gaps between Whites and people of color. Afro-Brazilians are paid about half of their White counterparts.

The steering committee will work with American and Brazilian universities and youth outreach programs to help Brazil implement equal opportunity initiatives in education and employment.

Listen to audio of the conversation

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