Marielle was an extraordinary woman who defied odds. Being both black and woman and queer under a repressive and racist regime in Brazil, she stood for human rights, police accountability and reproductive justice. Her voice was powerful and critical in the face of feudalism, a failing economic system in Brazil and an eruption of poverty driven violence created by corporations such as FIFA.
Having grown up in the Mare favela, one of the poorest regions in Brazil, she was able to receive a scholarship to the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro where she was 1 out of 2 black students with a student population of 17,000. She did this while being a young mother and supporting herself as a pre-school teacher while, actively involved with the local socialist movement through the Maré Centre for Studies and Solidarity Action
In 2016, out of 1,500 candidates in the Rio Di Janiero election, Marielle won the 5th highest vote. Out of the 51 council members, Marielle was the only black woman on the council in a state where black people represent 50% of the total population.
On March 14th 2018 , Marielle was brutally murdered in an ambush just as she was ironically leaving an event on political empowerment for black women. She was actively involved with the Poor Peoples Campaign and was set to present at Harvard University shortly after her death. It Is no surprise that the bullets used to kill Marielle have been traced back to the federal police of Brazil. Marielle was vocal about the senseless police violence that claims nearly 7,000 lives in Rio every year.
Marielle's death has created devastation, pain, confusion and anger amongst political activists and organizers globally. Her life will not be forgotten. Today, we remember Marielle for her strength, resilience and heart warming smile in the face of oppressive government administrations. As a young woman wanting to one day run for office, Marielle's life has sparked a transformation in me that can't be broken. Her life has shown me how to live authentically and fight harder for justice. We will never forget you Marielle. Your spirit lives on in our work.
Rest in love forever.
More on Marielle Franco:
- The Life of Brazil's Marielle Franco, Now This World
- Marielle Franco had to resist, The Guardian
- Marielle Franco, Vivacious fighter shared by the favela, BBC
- Marielle Franco, Wikipedia