Afro-Brazilians Remember the Political Assassination of Marielle Franco

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On March 14, 2018, Marielle Franco, a Black, queer, feminist and socialist councilwoman, and her driver Anderson Gomes were assassinated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The assassination sent shockwaves through Brazil and the world as it exposed the deep-rooted issues of racism, sexism, homophobia and political violence that continue to plague the country.

Franco was a political leader and human rights activist who dedicated her life to fighting against police brutality, racial and gender inequality and for the rights of Black and LGBTQ+ communities in Brazil. She was born and raised in the Maré favela in Rio de Janeiro, and her personal experiences of poverty, violence and discrimination shaped her political consciousness and activism.

As an Afro-Brazilian and LGBTQ+ woman, Franco represented the voice of marginalized and oppressed communities that are often excluded from mainstream political discourse. She was a symbol of hope and resistance for millions of people who faced systemic oppression and violence on a daily basis in Brazil.

Her assassination was a targeted attack on these communities and their right to political representation and activism.

The murders were a clear sign of the extreme right-wing Bolsonaro administration’s disregard for human rights and democracy. Franco was a vocal critic of the government’s policies and the police’s excessive use of force in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Her assassination was an attempt to silence her voice and intimidate other activists and politicians who dared to challenge the status quo.

However, her assassination had the opposite effect.

It ignited a wave of political participation and activism by Black and queer women across Brazil. In the 2018 elections, a record number of Black women and LGBTQ+ candidates were elected to public office, and they cited Marielle as their inspiration and role model. Franco’s legacy continues to inspire a new generation of activists and leaders who are fighting for a more just and equal society.

Her sister, Anielle Franco, was recently appointed to a high-level position in former President Lula’s government. This appointment is a testament to Marielle’s enduring legacy and the impact of her activism on Brazilian politics.

The Marielle Franco Institute was created in her memory to continue her work and advocate for the rights of marginalized communities in Brazil. The Institute’s mission is to promote human rights, social justice, and political representation for Black and LGBTQ+ people in Brazil. They offer a range of programs and initiatives, including advocacy, education, and research, to address issues such as police violence, racism and homophobia.

Franco’s legacy continues to inspire a new generation of activists and leaders who are fighting for a more just and equal society.

The Marielle Franco Institute is a powerful example of how her activism and advocacy continue to impact Brazilian politics and society. It is our duty to honor her memory by continuing her work and fighting for the rights of marginalized communities in Brazil and around the world.

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