42nd Vladimir Herzog Award honors Laerte, Luiz Gama and Sueli Carneiro

The virtual award ceremony will take place on October 25

The organizing committee of the Vladimir Herzog Journalism Award for Amnesty and Human Rights unanimous accepted the recommendations of SJSP (Union of Professional Journalists of the State of São Paulo) and FENAJ (National Federation of Journalists) to honor the cartoonist and journalistic Laerte and the journalist Luiz Gama (in memoriam) in its 42nd edition. The commission also decided to honor the philosopher Sueli Carneiro.

“The Union of Journalists recommends Laerte for a brilliant body of work, marked by the defense of human, social and labor rights. This is a tribute of great importance for the world of journalism right now, as cartoonists have been in the crosshairs of recent attacks, whether the Military Police against Laerte and cartoonists of the Folha newspaper or the Bolsonaro government against Aroeira via the National Security Law. And for the ‘in memorian’ award, a proposal was submitted by Cojira-SP (Commission of Journalists for Racial Equality of São Paulo), which we endorse enthusiastically, to honor the journalist Luiz Gama, a prominent name in the anti-slavery movement in Brazil who wrote powerful and universal journalism and was attacked by the elites of his time, and who has never received proper recognition. We submit his name for your appreciation on the occasion of the 190th anniversary of his birth,” said the union in a statement to the organizing committee.

Since 2009, the organizing committee has granted the Vladimir Herzog Special Award to public figures for their meaningful services to society, for their contributions to journalism and for their work in defense of democracy, peace and justice. In 2019, the award honored Glenn Greenwald, Patrícia Campos Mello and Hermínio Saccheta (in memoriam).



Laerte is a cartoonist, illustrator, screenwriter, journalist and one of Brazil’s leading line artists. The creator of emblematic characters such as Piratas do Tietê (Pirates of the Tietê River), Hugo Baracchini, Deus Segundo Laerte (God According to Laerte) and Overman, Laerte grew to fame for exploring relevant topics of human existence with a humor that is both scathing and refined. Together with other artists of her generation, such as Angeli and Glauco, she developed a new style in the production of comics and made a name for herself in Brazilian cartoon art. Laerte has worked as a screenwriter on several television programs and contributed to several publications such as “Balão” and “O Pasquim”. She has also written for the magazines “Veja”, “Piauí” and “IstoÉ”, in addition to the newspaper “O Estado de S. Paulo”. Since 2014, she has published cartoons in the newspaper “Folha de S. Paulo” and is currently an activist for the LGBT movement. In 2020, she completes a 50-year-career.

Luiz Gama was a journalist, poet, lawyer and a tireless activist in the fight against the slave regime. Gama ought to stand among the best-known figures in Brazilian history as one of the greatest – if not the greatest – symbol of that time.  An activist of the republican and abolitionist cause, he wrote for several newspapers denouncing violations of the law and errors made by judges and lawyers against blacks and slaves. He did not have a law degree, but instead a provision – a document that authorized the practice of law issued by the Judicial Branch of the Empire of Brazil – and he was a self-taught lawyer with great legal culture and he was responsible freeing dozens of slaves. In 2015, the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) bestowed the title of lawyer on Luiz Gama, recognizing his importance as a jurist. In 2018, he received, from the National Congress, the title “Patron of the Abolition of Slavery in Brazil” and finally had his name inscribed in the Book of National Heroes.

Sueli Carneiro is a philosopher, educator, writer, spokesperson for a generation and one of the country’s leading references in race and gender studies. Her thinking teaches us how the experience of black Brazilian women and anti-racist feminism are fundamental to the struggles for democracy and human rights in Brazil.  Her contribution to journalism and communication has been outstanding. She was a columnist for the newspaper Correio Braziliense for almost a decade and, in this period, she caused newsrooms across the country to address racial and feminist issues in a more humanized, pluralistic and libertarian way. She is also the founder of Geledés – Black Woman’s Institute, an organization that since 1988 has been committed to the defense of human rights from a racial and gender perspective and that has become a reference for content – including journalistic content – on the topic.


42nd Vladimir Herzog Award

The ceremony of the 42nd Vladimir Herzog Journalism Award for Amnesty and Human Rights will take place on October 25 and this year it will be a virtual event. Click here to learn more. 

The organizing committee is currently formed by the following organizations: the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (ABRAJI); the United Nations Information Center in Brazil (UNIC Rio); the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of São Paulo; Conectas Human Rights; the School of Communication and Art of the University of São Paulo (ECA/USP); the Brazilian Association of Interdisciplinary Studies on Communication (Intercom); the Federal Council of the Brazilian Bar Association; the São Paulo Chapter of the Brazilian Bar Association; the São Paulo State Police Ombudsman’s Office; the Periferia em Movimento communication group; the Union of Professional Journalists of the State of São Paulo (SJSP); the National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj); the Brazilian Press Association (ABI); and the Vladimir Herzog Institute (IVH);

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