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Pretuguês For Children - Strengthening Ancestral Connections through Portuguese Language Learning

Learning and using a language encompasses much more than just linguistic capabilities. It re-shapes our identities, assists in developing socio-emotional skills, cultural values, and our sense of community.


Therefore, the teaching of the Portuguese language and the opportunity to have emotional support in one's own language is a key factor in the preservation of various cultural legacies within communities of Black Brazilian immigrants. This is significantly important now in a world affected by a pandemic that has intensified inequalities and raised the levels of isolation. ​



According to Afro-Brazilian scholar and activist Lélia Gonzalez, Black Brazilian women, especially the “Mãe Preta/Black Mammy” in her capacity as a family caregiver, played a significant role in reshaping the Portuguese language and preserving African cultural values in Brazil.

They Africanized the Portuguese language and taught it by turning it into “Pretuguês” (a wordplay meaning Black (Preto) Portuguese). This means that the language of dominance was subverted and re-signified to mark the presence and resistance of Black people in Brazil.

Considering the specific aspects of Afro Brazilian use of the Portuguese language, this program is designed to teach Pretuguês for immigrant children & help family members, caregivers, and immigrant children connect to and embrace their identity as heirs to the African diaspora in Brazil/ South America. 

This is an initiative for Black Brazilian immigrants in the U.S. Registration is required through the form below (in Portuguese).

More information & Registration


Helen Santos is an educator who has been immersed in the world of Heritage Language since 2011 and certified in the area since 2014. She has a B.A. in Literary Studies from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais where she also specializes in Second Language Acquisition. She has been a regional representative of the American Organization of Teachers of Portuguese (AOTP) since May 2020.

Leonora Souza Paula is a professor of Literary Studies at Michigan State University. She has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California San Diego, an M.A., and a B.A. in Literary Studies from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Leonora is certified in Language and Cultural Acquisition for Heritage Learners of Portuguese. She is coordinator of Kilomba Collective. 

Luana Reis is a PhD student in Literature at the University of Pittsburgh. Master in Language and Culture from the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA). She served as a Portuguese Teaching Assistant (Fulbright FLTA Program) and a Lecturer (Leitorado Program) at the University of Pittsburgh. She received the award for excellence in teaching Portuguese in the United States from the American Organization of Teachers of Portuguese (AOTP) in 2017. She is coordinator of Kilomba Collective. 

Kilomba Collective is a collective dedicated to centering the perspective and realities of Black Brazilian people, especially Black women and girls in their multiple identities, in the international scenario, connecting with other Black women's movements in the African Diaspora. We do so by developing advocacy, community building, and international solidarity actions on issues around social justice, gender equality, and human rights.

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