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Image courtesy of Érica Malunguinho .

This Afro-Brazilian Activist Has Become the First Transgender Woman Elected to State Congress in São Paulo

Érica Malunguinho's win is a bright spot in Brazil's controversial elections.

On Monday, Afro-Brazlian activist and community leader Érica Malunguinho made history as the first transgender woman to win a post in state congress in Sâo Paulo, reports Remezcla.

Malunhuinho, is one of more than 50 transgender candidates ran for office in Monday's election, according to NBC. The community organizer is also one of "The Seeds of Marielle"—the 231 black women who ran for public office, following in the footsteps of the late Afro-Brazilian activist Marielle Franco.

READ: The Seeds of Marielle: These Courageous Afro-Brazilian Women Are Running For State Office Despite the Odds

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Image courtesy of Érica Malanguinho.

The Seeds of Marielle: These Courageous Afro-Brazilian Women Are Running for State Office Despite the Odds

Here are 11 of the inspirational black women running for political office in Brazil's upcoming national elections.

Marielle Franco, 38, a black politician from Rio de Janeiro, died fighting for the rights of women and favela dwellers. On March 14 armed men gunned the councilwoman down in her car in the center of Rio de Janeiro with nine shots—four to the head.

Her assassination hit black women hard.

As a councilwoman from the Maré favela, she denounced the police brutality that favela residents, most of them black, regularly experienced. Many black women felt it was a direct attack on the potential of black women to ascend to power in politics. But her assassination came at a unique time—six months before Brazil's state and national elections. After Marielle's death, black women felt empowered to run for political office and in this year's elections, black women candidates are more visible than ever. These women are now collectively called the "Sementes de Marielle"—the seeds of Marielle.

The national elections take place on October 7. There are 231 black women running for political office in the state of Rio de Janeiro—almost twice the 2014 number (125). They are running for governor, deputy federal and state deputy. This should come as no surprise, black women make up 27 percent of Brazil—the largest group. The candidates represent the diversity of black women in Brazil. They are evangelical. They follow Afro-Brazilian religions. Some are from favelas. Some grew as middle class. Some are college-educated.

Below is a sampling of the seeds of Marielle.

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Poetry
Image via Flickr

5 Afro-Latinx Poets You Should Know

Get familiar with the work of this talented group of poets.

This August, OkayAfrica shines a light on the connections between Africa and the Latin-American world. Whether it's the music, politics or intellectual traditions, Africans have long been at the forefront of Latino culture, but they haven't always gotten the recognition. We explore the history of Afro-Latino identity and its connection to the motherland.

I have a strategy for finding new poetry to read: I take my friends to a bookstore and they can't help but comment on the latest works and suggest writers that would resonate with me.

Many of the poets on the following list came from that process. After exploring their work, I ended up enjoying the poems so much I wondered why I hadn't found them myself in the first place.

These five Afro-Latinx poets engage various topics from migrants crossing to Europe to the politics of loneliness in the 70's. Below are five Afro-Latinx poets you should check out.

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Still from 'La Negrada.' Image courtesy of Jorge Pérez Solano

An Interview With The Filmmaker Behind 'La Negrada'—The First Feature Film Starring an All Afro-Mexican Cast

The widely praised film has ignited some controversy in its portrayal of Afro-Mexicans. We chat to director Jorge Pérez Solano to get some insight.

This August, OkayAfrica shines a light on the connections between Africa and the Latin-American world. Whether it's the music, politics or intellectual traditions, Africans have long been at the forefront of Latino culture, but they haven't always gotten the recognition. We explore the history of Afro-Latino identity and its connection to the motherland.

When most people think of Mexico and its cultural mosaic, images of Mexicans of African descent generally don't spring to mind. According to a national survey taken in 2015 by the country's national census bureau known as INEGI, approximately 1.4 million people or 1.2 % of the population self-identify as Afro-Mexican, the majority concentrated in the southern states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Veracruz.

La Negrada, is the very first fiction feature film about and starring an all Afro-Mexican cast. The film written and directed by Mexican filmmaker Jorge Pérez Solano is set along the Costa Chica region of Oaxaca. Solano a Oaxaca native, although not of African descent himself, he mentioned in an interview he gave about the film on Excelsior TV that he wanted, "to raise awareness of the plight of Afro-Mexicans who are largely forgotten."

Africans first arrived on Mexican shores by force, as slave labourers brought by Spanish colonists as early as the 16th century. Although slavery was officially abolished in the early 1800's by a newly independent nation, the legacy of disenfranchisement still lingers deeply. Like many indigenous communities in Mexico, the descendants of Africans suffer from severe poverty with a lack of access to basic resources and infrastructure, along with heavily ingrained systematic and social prejudice towards them. This prejudice is compounded by the fact that Afro-Mexicans are yet to be included as an ethnic or cultural group in the national census. A result of this lack of official recognition, they continue to be excluded from access to government subsidized programs for marginalised minority groups, despite the harsh reality of their current circumstances.

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