Mobilising support example:
I wear white for the freedom of faith
|Organisation||Rede Ecumênica da Juventude (REJU)|
SummaryAlthough the constitution of Brazil defines the state as secular, believers of African or Afro-Brazilian religions and non-Christian religions are still being discriminated against. That is why is it still necessary to celebrate the national day for the fight against religious intolerance on January 21. The Rede Ecumênica da Juventude (Ecumenical Youth Network) participated in the activities, among others in the very successful campaign 'I Wear White for the Freedom of Faith' in which people were asked to buy the white action T-shirt, make a selfie and post it on the social media. Religious and non-religious persons and groups adhered to the campaign, as did people of influence from the political, social and religious fields. With people of political and social influence on board, the campaign had greater reach and visibility.
Religious fundamentalism in Brazil and religious intolerance still exist. This concerns the society in general, but particularly victims of structural racism (believers of African or Afro-Brazilian religions) and non-Christian religions (Jewish, Romanian, indigenous).
a. Recognition of religious diversity in Brazil.
b. Recognition that the country is not actually secular (laws; in education a Christian supremacy still prevails).
c. Strengthening and supporting religious leaders and victims of intolerance due to their beliefs or convictions.
Which stakeholders (NGO’s, government, private sector) did you identify as allies and how did you involve them?
1. Federal Government: Ministry of Justice - Special Secretariat for Human Rights - National Committee for the Respect of Religious Diversity.
2. FE ACT Brazil: Ecumenical Forum in Brazil, FE ACT Alliance (CESE, CONIC, Koinonia, CEBI, Diaconia, etc.).
3. Young members of the Ecumenical Youth Network (REJU).
4. Church officials of the Christian churches (Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Evangelical, Presbyterian, etc.); progressive and conservative sectors.
5. Adepts of Afro-Brazilian religions (Candomblé, Ubanda, Ifá, etc.).
6. Religious people, atheists and agnostics who benefit from the guarantees of the Lay State.
Which stakeholders did you identify as opponents and why were they opposed?
1. Conservative political and evangelical leaders.
2. Conservative members of churches who serve as politicians, especially in Parliament.
How did you involve your beneficiaries in the stakeholder analysis/campaign?
Through the implementation of the campaign 'I Wear White for the Freedom of Faith', leading people to take a position: individuals dressed in white and published photos in their social media networks during the month of January, which alludes to the date of the national day of the fight against religious intolerance in Brazil.
Short description of the organisation implementing the action/campaign
The REJU was created in 2007 by the Ecumenical Forum ACT Brazil (FE ACT Brazil). This Forum, currently a member of the ACT Alliance, is an articulation of ecumenical organisations, religious communities and social movements for the promotion of human, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights (DHESCA - Platform). Nowadays, it is spread in the five regions of the country, specifically in 22 States of the Federation, being coordinated and planned by young people. It seeks to bring the youth closer to the theme and have their intervention in public policies for the youth, coupled with the challenges that are also causes for the ecumenical movement in Brazil. All actions are permeated by the protagonism of the young person as a subject of rights. Every two years, there are axes of action on the defence of the Lay State and for overcoming intolerances.
January 21-26, 2016, but the theme was worked out throughout the year by the network in Brazil.
a. Recognising that secularism in Brazil does not exist yet.
b. Recognising that there are religions which are the victim of intolerance and religious violence.
c. Creating a young language that communicates with different audiences on the theme of religious diversity in Brazil.
d. Showing solidarity and being in defense of the victims of religious intolerance.
The REJU mapped draft laws that violate the right of freedom of belief and conviction in Brazil, as well as cases of physical aggression and economical offences aimed at interfering with the right of worship and liturgy/beliefs and convictions.
Cases of religious intolerance, recorded through complaints during the year 2015, were analysed and compared to existing data and statistics.
A campaign with the participation of the youth in the social media was carried out with videos, documentaries, articles, photos and text posts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp).
Public position taken: people wore white clothes and accessories, adhering to the campaign by posting a photo on his or her social network with the hashtag #iwearwhite (#vistobranco in Portuguese).
Description of preparatory activities
1. Formation of a working group with young members of REJU.
2. Deliberation of actions in specific areas (virtual and local).
3. Mapping of activities related to the date of January 21st: National Day Against Religious Intolerance.
4. Elaboration of materials.
Description of implementation
1. The working group was formed after the REJU face-to-face assembly held in December 2015, with the possible joining of more members on the national network after that date.
2. With the organisation of the group, specific actions were pondered according to the reality of each state where youth collectives were organised.
3. The possibilities of partnerships for the activities related to January 21st in different states of Brazil, such as conversation circles, marches for religious freedom, public debates, etc. were investigated. Plans were made to request adherence to the photo posting of people wearing white.
4. The REJU Communications Committee invited young people through social media networks. The invitations had different formats, such as arts, posts and videos. Documentaries and a series of articles were also produced and published on the website – they dealt with the thematic of the campaign.
Description of time investment
The REJU was offered an amount of R$ 1,000 for the making of T-shirts. Expenses for graphic materials, web design and video editing came to a total of R$ 600. In 2016, there were no expenses for mobilising resources. Local partnerships were formed and the sale of the T-shirts for R$ 30 each was also suggested. The unpaid work by volunteers has been recorded under 'Estimated total time investment'.
As a result of the evaluation and for ongoing monitoring of the campaign, a longer period of organisation will be planned for 2017. The REJU realised how effective it is to reach people of social influence. They keep following up the draft laws on the subject in the congress, as well as the participation of the REJU members in committees of religious diversity at local and national levels, linked to the Special Secretariat of Human Rights.
Scripts and tools used
Reach data on Facebook