People attend a demonstration against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, racism and in support of democracy in Brasilia, Brazil June 7, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Black Unity: Brazil and the USA


Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Sed Miles and I am a Black man, father, artist, community worker, explorer, activist and researcher. I was raised between Anchorage, Alaska, and Bennettsville, SC, by a single mother and grandmother who helped me to become the first in my family to receive a college education. 

I currently live in Brazil, which has the largest population of Black people than any other country on earth, with the exception of Nigeria. My State and city, Salvador, Bahia, is the country’s largest Black population, making it the Blackest place in the diaspora. In spite of this, Afro-Brazilians face record-high levels of inequality resulting in marginal support for education, health, or workforce development. These inequalities impact Black women and gender-expansive people the most. Those who pursue higher education struggle to finish or have their knowledge seen and shared.

Although this fact is increasingly becoming common knowledge in the States, I believe there is a lack of understanding about what the reality of this nation means to our own. 

That’s why I dedicated my work to building Atlantic Archives- a transnational community organization with the goal of creating a working-class dialogue. Atlantic Archives is a bridge facilitating a long-due conversation between African descendants in the United States and Brazil and an incubator for grassroots organizations in Brazil. Through a global network of support, we assist the most marginalized and underresourced communities in building future resources by using the inspirational archives of their past.

We began in 2018 as a Mellon Foundation-supported, community-engaged research project to connect marginalized groups in Brazil and the United States through community archives. In a few short years, we have grown into a multifaceted organization at the intersections of higher learning, community development, culture and philanthropy.

Our goal is to build the capacity of local organizations to be leaders and change-makers, as well as to inform and influence donors on the pivotal role of civil society in Brazil. Our work is made possible with a growing global network of local organizations, international NGOs, advocates, and donors. Together we collaborate and dialogue about shared issues faced by our communities.

What’s next?

This summer, Atlantic Archives is full of activity.  I’ve stayed relatively quiet while I have tried to build up this diverse network of creative projects, fellowships, and mutual aid programs. But now I am ready to make some noise. 

I honestly don’t know where to start… but during the next couple of weeks, I will share all the exciting work, important figures and activism of the Atlantic Archives global movement.

Transnational projects like the Odu Film Festival and Black Freedom Fellowship were created by a group of queer Haitian American and Afro-Brazilians. This project brings together artists from around the world to stimulate the local economy and create networking and leadership opportunities for Black Brazilians.

We highlight activism projects like Black Women Radicals, created by Dr. Jaimee Swift. Their annual “Protect Black Women March” featured the work and legacy of slain Afro-Brazilian leader Marielle Franco.

Dr. Swift brought her “school for Black Feminist Politics to Salvador in July to collaborate with Atlantic Archives and highlight the work of local, unsung Black feminist activists.

The From Below documentary film series by Atlantic Archives and Karen Hunter Media.

From Below is a short documentary series directed by me and produced by Karen Hunter Media. I interview working-class, first-generation educated Black people from Brazil and the United States to combine into a unique dialogue that is desperately missing from our local and international political discourses.

We cover modern topics relevant to both communities, which, when examined together, shed light on how are linked historical struggles have prepared us for a shared future filled with revolutionary possibilities.

Our first film in the series is about the fight for mandatory Black education in Brazil and the United States. Among others, Professor Greg Carr of Howard University (USA) and Public School Principal Tarry Christina discuss the fight for equal education. Here’s a clip.

This is only a taste of the work we are doing to unite Black communities in Brazil and the United States. Our growing list of international collaborations is proof that the Black community in the United States understands the importance of diasporic networks.

Big thank you to Karen Hunter and the Knubia family for their support and motivation.

Follow us on Instagram today to stay informed on our upcoming events and projects.

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