Instituto Midia Étnica

Comunicação e Ação Afirmativa

U.S. and Brazil Team Up to Fight Discrimination

Atlanta — In his book Letters to a Young Brother, actor and author Hill Harper writes about a friend at Harvard Law School who lost an election to be a U.S. congressman but never gave up his dream and
became a U.S. senator. That friend, he writes, was Barack Obama.

The book was written in 2006, before Obama’s historic election as the first black president of the United States. During the 2008 election, one issue of media focus was the role of race and identity in the election. Obama even gave a speech dedicated to that very question.

On May 21, Harper will join the Reverend Bernice King III, the daughter of famous civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and two Brazilian journalists, Paulo Rogério and Juliana Cézar, to talk about how the
media influences perceptions of race in the United States and Brazil. Harper and the other speakers are holding a digital town hall meeting that will bring together a group of U.S. and Brazilian
university students and civil society leaders 4,700 miles apart. (You can watch andparticipate in Portuguese here).


The digital town hall is part of a two-day conference at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, titled “A Call to Action.” The conference is part of the U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality. The Joint Action Plan connects U.S. and Brazilian government, civil society, and private
sector representatives to explore the unique challenges facing African Americans and Afro-Brazilians in both countries.

The digital town hall marks the first time since the United States and Brazil signed the Joint Action Plan in 2008 that the conference discussions reach beyond the confines of a meeting room to across the globe. It builds on the Joint Action Plan’s statement that Brazil and the United States are both multi-ethnic, multiracial democracies whose ties of friendship are strengthened by shared experiences.

The U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro partnered with the Pedro Calmon Foundation and the Brazil-U.S. Cultural Association to host a viewing party for the digital town hall at the Public Library of the state of Bahia in Salvador. The live audience in Salvador will have the opportunity to ask questions directly of the panelists in Atlanta. The speakers will also answer questions submitted online via webchat as well
as from the in-room audience in Atlanta.

Following the digital town hall, participants can continue the discussion on the Joint Action Plan Facebook page.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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