Angela Mendes

Socio-environmental Activist, Ashoka Brasil's fellow, Coordinator of Chico Mendes Comittee
Chico Mendes Committee

After her father’s death, several of his friends and colleagues approached Angela, who then started working at the Amazon Workers Center (CTA), an organization co-founded by Chico Mendes that works with community-based forest management for multiple uses, which had a great participation in the formulation of Extractive Reserves and Agroextractive Settlement Projects (PAE), guaranteeing to the communities that lived there. At the same time, Angela was part of the founding group of the Chico Mendes Committee, created to demand that the police and judicial authorities investigate, judge and convict those involved in her father’s murder and to publicize nationally and internationally the ideals and legacy of Chico Mendes’s struggle. From her work at CTA and the Chico Mendes Committee, which were at the same headquarters, Angela began to learn more and more about her father’s history, the struggle of rubber tappers and traditional peoples and the reality and challenges of local communities.

In 2009, Angela took over the leadership of the Chico Mendes Committee, working mainly with initiatives to raise environmental awareness and preserve the legacy of the rubber tappers’ struggle, at the time supported by the Acre Secretariat for the Environment. Years later, Angela was elected Director of the Secretariat of Women of the National Council of Extractive Populations (CNS), in which she proposed and negotiated with the Ministry of the Environment for the resumption of the project Bagagem das Mulheres da Floresta, aimed at the reproductive health of women of traditional communities. She then began to perceive a change in the scenario over the years: the conflicts over land that seemed to be pacified still occurred, and young people participated more and more actively in the Committee’s activities, exposing their opinions and the challenges they faced.

In 2015, based on her contact with young people, Resex Residents’ Associations, and her trajectory in the movement, Angela identified the problem of youth exodus and the growing number of invasions, subdivisions and divisions within Resex Chico Mendes, caused by the lack of investment in the extractive production chains and public policies for the territory as a whole, but also by the erasure of the memory of the history of struggle of the extractive communities. Knowing these difficulties and nuances, Angela founded the Youth Center within the Chico Mendes Committee and initiated the co-creation of Young Protagonists of Resex, in partnership with CNS, CTA and the Pro-Indio Commission, to train young extractive leaders to be conscious of their history and their potential to create change.