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Harassed while shopping? Anti-Racist Handbag empowers Black Brazilians to seek justice

A new accessory is taking a stand against the racism and discrimination that Black Brazilians routinely face while shopping, including bag checks. The Anti-Racist Handbag contains a label displaying the text of Law 14.532/2023, which penalizes racial insults and affronts to someone's dignity or honor based on race, color, ethnicity or national origin. Also included is a QR code linking to a website for reporting incidents to legal authorities on the spot.

The concept was developed by Grey Brasil in partnership with Racismo Zero, a program by the University of Zumbi dos Palmares. Naya Violeta designed the bag; she's the first in a series of designers commissioned to create interpretations of an anti-racist bag. Violeta's design is purposefully loud and boldly patterned, aiming to bring visibility to insidious racism. While the limited edition purses will be given to influencers to promote the initiative, thousands of labels incorporating Law 14.532/2023 will be handed out for others to sew into their own bags.

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By prompting wearers to exercise their legal rights if subjected to discriminatory treatment like racial profiling, harassment from staff or being unfairly surveilled, the Anti-Racist Handbag turns a routine accessory into a tool of protest and justice. Launched on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the bag sends a powerful message: Black shoppers should not have to deal with intimidation and insults, but — if the need arises — should feel empowered to call out injustices.

"People of African descent face a unique history of systemic and institutionalized racism, and profound challenges today. We must respond to that reality — learning from, and building on, the tireless advocacy of people of African descent."
— António Guterres on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2024

Racial and ethnic profiling is prevalent in retail environments not just in Brazil, but around the world. How can your brand ensure all customers are treated with respect?