Levantamos’ mission is to develop partnerships between Americans and Afro-Brazilians focused on eliminating inequality and provide technical and financial assistance to Afro-Brazilian community-based organizations
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Levantamos is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and also operates out of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. Its operations in these cities are not by accident.
On a local level, Washington, D.C. and surrounding counties have much in common with Salvador da Bahia. Both cities have an Afro-descendant population that is near or slightly above 80% of the population. In both cities, this Afro-descendant population makes up an overwhelming number of both cities’ poor underclass even in spite of their large numbers. Both cities also have large numbers of at-risk youth and others who can most benefit from partnerships with Afro-Brazilians that positively reinforce both groups’ racial identity and the opportunities for personal growth and development that arise from such reinforcement.
Finally, Washington and its surrounding areas are diverse cities that have traditionally been receptive to cultures and ideas that originate beyond the borders of the United States. Washington, D.C. is therefore the logical location for an organization that impacts relations and affect change in the Afro-descendant populations of North America and Brazil—change that we hope will have an effect on a national level as well as a local level.
Washington, D.C., as the nation’s capitol, has long been the focal point of significant developments in race relations and identity in the United States. From Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream Speech” on the National Mall to the recent Supreme Court decisions regarding the future of affirmative action programs in the United States, affairs in Washington, D.C. have long set the course for developments regarding perceptions of race in society, the progress of African Americans, and race relations on a national level.
WashingtonD.C. has a large segment of the population that is well traveled and has a keen interest in international affairs. Additionally, its significance in affairs with Latin America especially as they relate to society, development, and race, as the home of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Inter-American Dialogue, the Inter-American Foundation, and diaspora-focused organizations like Trans-Africa and Africare, among others, is also undisputed.
Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
Levantamos made its first entry into Brazil in Salvador da Bahia. Brazil’s third largest city, Salvador is considered the gateway to the North East of Brazil, a region that has the largest number of Afro-Brazilians, the lowest monthly income per capita, and the highest illiteracy rates in Brazil. The population of Salvador itself has the largest percentage of Afro-descendants of any of the major cities in Brazil and, as previously mentioned, has much in common with Washington, D.C. Levantamos also has networks and has conducted programs in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which also have significant Afro-descendant populations. Levantamos is developing contacts in the state of Minas Gerais and Recife, and is expanding its outreach activities into lesser-known cities in the North East of Brazil.