The Brazils within Brazil

Meet Lavínia Gabrielle – her Amazonian roots, engagement in gender equality and leadership, and interests in politics.

“When I stepped foot in the Rio de Janeiro airport for the first time, the impact was already huge. Everyone spoke differently, the slangs were different. I was afraid to answer when people asked me where I was from, because I suffered prejudice before.”

From the dense waters of the Rio Negro to the sea of Copacabana, International Relations student Lavínia Gabrielle grew up knowing every corner of Brazil. Without abandoning her Amazonian roots, the young leader is present in the fight for women’s rights, the end of regional inequality, and the democratization of access to politics.

Her passion for social activism was born at school, between history and geography classes, where she began understanding her place in the world. Soon, her ideas became too big for the ordinary curriculum, and so Lavinia started her journey as an agent of change.

In high school, she got involved with “Lidere-se”, a project that fights for gender equality and provides leadership opportunities for girls and women. Through this experience, she realized she could get involved with more social impact-related topics. She also attended Global Citizen Year, an international program where she met young leaders from all over the world and learned more about leadership and human rights.

“When we say that young people can change the world – this world can be their home, their neighborhood, their city, their state. It could be anything they decide they want to change. People thinking that changing reality is too idealistic and impossible is what keeps them away from taking the initiative.

At the end of high school, she wasn’t sure what to study at university, but after participating in Harvard’s International Relations Program, Lavínia realized that the course brought together all her interests. She is now starting her second semester of IR at UFPB (Federal University of Paraíba). She also recently became a Mobilizer for Politize!, an organization that takes political education to all corners of Brazil.

However, while occupying all these spaces, the manual (person from Manaus – Amazonas) also noticed a major common problem within them: there were no Brazilian northerners there. While her colleagues came from São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Santa Catarina, and Fortaleza, she felt like the minority.

“Why aren’t other people coming here? The north has talents, it has people who could be occupying these places. What’s stopping that?”

In her view, this is also a political issue, and regional inequality needs to be discussed by everyone. It was within LALA that she met LALíderes, who had gone through the same experience. Through a connection of stories, the Banzeiro Project began, focused on developing the population in the north of the country in the social, emotional, and environmental spheres.

With her journey almost entirely linked to her northern origins, today, she understands that this is her primary cause. In her quest for self-knowledge, she was captured by the idea of taking the culture of her region beyond stereotypes.

The north of Brazil is culture. It’s boi-bumbá, it’s Joelma, Tacacá and Tambaqui. But it’s also much more than all that.

Lavínia doesn’t have her sight wholly set on the future. She has volunteered for UNICEF and NGOs and accumulated much experience with social impact. That’s why she’s sure she’ll continue as an activist, as well as explore more and more of her history, of which LALA is part, to be the best version of herself.

This interview was scheduled by Nicolle Cardoso, written by Maria Eduarda de Oliveira, and edited by Carlos Bomfim. They are part of LALA’s Media Production Voluntary Team.

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