This Sunday (19), which marks the centenary of Paulo Freire, from Pernambuco, several activities commemorate the educator’s legacy in the capital of Pernambuco. During the morning, the entities that make up the Latin American and Caribbean Campaign in Defense of Paulo Freire’s Legacy gathered for a political and cultural event at Armazém do Campo, in the central area of Recife.
The campaign has been running since 2019, developing various training activities to debate the importance and impact of Paulo Freire’s theoretical production, in order to show how his legacy is expressed through various initiatives, as explained by Mónica Tavares, from the campaign coordination, which states that activities will continue throughout this year.
“More than ever, we need to live educational processes based on this pedagogy, so this wave of attacks on Paulo Freire is not for nothing. As Freire said, educating is a political act, so this transformation bothers those in charge of the government today” , denounces.
Among the various leaders of popular movements and political leaders of the left of Pernambuco, state deputy João Paulo (PCdoB) was present at the event, who recalls how the Freirean perspective was fundamental to his political formation.
“I am one of those very influenced by Freire. In 1978 I left Brazil, from the back of a factory, to study for six months at the Center for Studies on Development in Latin America (CEDAL), which was a dream of Freire already in 78 , in this sense of forming leaders of popular movements to assume important tasks in Brazil. Paulo Freire was an illuminator of human consciousness, so nothing fairer than the movements keeping him always present in their practice and in their vision of the world.”
The procession was attended by groups from maracatu, popular street theater and feminist batucada, as well as representatives of Afro-based religions, such as Marta Almeida, from the Nagô Vodun tradition, which makes a relationship between the Pernambuco educator and popular culture .
“Through the roda, the music, the drums, our tradition, culture and axé. When we defend Paulo Freire, we defend his legacy that is also in the African-based religion, in the quilombos, in the terreiros, in the peripheries and for those and those that are invisibility. When we are on the street, we have a turn and we have a voice, we bring Paulo Freire,” he says.
With the presentation of maracatu groups and a giant puppet made especially for the occasion, the procession continued to Ground Zero, where the act ended with music the slogan “Fora Bolsonaro”, well received by the local public.
Alceu Valença and Silverio Pessoa in honor
This Sunday afternoon (19) the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) reopened its acoustic shell with an event in honor of Paulo Freire, who graduated from the institution in law school, in 1946.
The event was held by the National Confederation of Education Workers (CNTE), was broadcast online on Youtube and featured shows by Alceu Valença and Silvério Pessoa, as well as the Maracatu nation Estrela Brilhante and the Northeastern group. The activity was restricted to guests, with an audience of approximately 300 people.
The president of CNTE, Heleno Araújo, also from Pernambuco, summed up that this Sunday’s event “celebrates life and salutes democracy, both of which are daily attacked by this misgovernment”.
State deputy and also professor Teresa Leitão (PT) participated in the event and said that Paulo Freire is “necessary and current” to counteract hatred and discouragement. “He teaches us to seek the ‘viable unprecedented’, the construction of the collective dream, the possible dream. This unnerves our opponents. They want a breeding school of the status quo, a castrating school. But Paulo Freire’s school is liberating, emancipating, it’s about affection”, he pointed out.
Educator Rubneuza Leandro, leader of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), highlighted the role of Freirean education in building the movement.
“He thought of education as a tool also for organizing workers. Through his thinking, expressed in popular education, the MST was born at the end of the 1970s. And the movement took popular education as the foundation of its action, educating not only to read the word, but to read the world”. Professor Paulo Rocha, president of the Central Única dos Trabalhadores de Pernambuco (CUT-PE), summarizes that Paulo Freire is “the hope of a Brazil with income distribution, the right to housing and three meals a day for everyone”.
Caruaru educator Cícera Maria, a member of the Caruaru Education Forum, also reinforced Freire’s legacy as a motivator for the construction of another possible society.
“It teaches us to hope for better days, in a fairer world and to maintain the joy to fight. Whoever wants to curtail our freedom does not want us with joy or fighting. The musician and university professor Silvério Pessoa defends that teaching centers and educators rescue Paulo Freire’s work.
“His legacy goes beyond education for young people and adults. He proposes another philosophy of education, which must always be rediscovered. Schools and universities need to expand the scope of this work”.
The dean of UFPE, Alfredo Gomes, says that Paulo Freire is an inspiration for the university. “It has everything to do with our university. Freire inspires us to guide inclusion, sustainability and bring the university to meet the people”. Gomes celebrated the reopening of the university’s Concha Acústica, named after Paulo Freire. The equipment had been closed for at least four years.
“We are striving to recover our cultural equipment to be closer to society, not only through education, innovation, research, but also through culture.
Also present were senator Humberto Costa (PT), councilwoman and professor Liana Cirne (PT) and federal deputy Luiza Erundina (PSOL), former mayor of São Paulo who had Paulo Freire as secretary, participated by video; Mário Sérgio Cortella, former advisor to Freire in the city of São Paulo; theologian Frei Betto; former education minister Renato Janine Ribeiro; and Bolivia’s current minister of education, Adrian Quelca Tarqui.
The Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) did not issue any note or tribute to the educator, just as President Jair Bolsonaro ignored the date.
Former President Lula said that we must defend Freire from attacks directed by the conservative right.
“We have to recover the true story of this great educator persecuted by the dictatorship. Even today he is disrespected by those who do not respect education. I have rarely seen a man as generous as Paulo Freire was”, said the former president, who considers him “the greatest educator of the 20th century”.
Former Education Minister Fernando Haddad recommended that people read Freire before criticizing him.
The governor of Pernambuco, Paulo Câmara, published a photo of the educator on his social networks.
“He left an effective literacy method as a legacy, adopted in Brazil and abroad. Paulo Freire showed us that education is the path to transformation”, wrote the governor. The mayor of Recife, João Campos, wrote that Freire’s work “is urgent in a society that intends to be fairer and with better prospects. His teachings are still current and help us to build a path to face the harsh Brazilian reality”, he wrote, mentioning the 11 million illiterate people in the country.
Source: BoF Pernambuco
Edition: Vinícius Sobreira