'We Want the College to Represent Us too', Says Student Leader

Student Manuela Morais who spoke at the act for democracy is the 3rd black person to preside over the USP Law School student union

Manuela Morais, 19, had just been elected President of the XI de Agosto Student union when she took the stage at the USP Law School and spoke on behalf of the students at the act in defense of democracy on August 11.

Her speech highlighted the difference between the academic environment of 1977 when the "Letter to Brazilians" was read, and the one of today, with the "Letter to Brazilian men and women in Defense of the Democratic State of Law".
"We are young, black, from the outskirts, a new kind of intellectuality that is the result of the public school, the hoods, and the favelas", said Manuela.

Sao Paulo, SP, BRASIL, 19-08-2022: Manuela Morais, 19 (Foto: Eduardo Knapp/Folhapress, PODER). - Folhapress

The university's new demographic scenario did not come into reality randomly; it is one of the main goals of the current management in charge of the oldest academic center in Brazil, which, in 119 years of history, has only had three black people as president.

In her sophomore year, Manuela uses a motto to explain the plans of the student union: "Travessia is going to turn Sanfran inside out".

Travessia is the student movement to which she belongs, formed by independent students, as well as others linked to PSOL. Sanfran is the nickname of the USP Law School, which is located in Largo São Francisco (downtown São Paulo).

And 'to turn inside out? "We mean it in the sense of reversing many traditions originally designed for the white elite of São Paulo. We want the college to look more like us too."

Translated by Cassy Dias

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