Marielle Franco a black politician from Rio de Janeiro was killed Wednesday by armed men while sitting in her car. She was shot four times in the head. Her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes was also killed during this vicious attack. Franco was just leaving an event pertaining to black women’s empowerment.
Franco spent her career as councilwomen fighting for rights of women and favela residents. Women and residents experienced police brutality on a regular basis. She was loved by many. In fact, her death sparked vigils and protest in over 20 cities in Brazil. Franco stood as a testament for Afro-Brazilians that a black woman could be educated, gracious, and have a voice to speak out against the injustice that so many faced.
Many feel her execution was because she spoke up and fought for those that did not have a voice. In Brazil sexism and machismo are very much a dominate presence. This is why her death has touched so many. On Thursday Franco was buried and thousands gathered in front of her home to celebrate the woman that was steadfast in her actions and beliefs. The hashtag #MarilellePresente which translates into “Marielle is here.” is trending. However, she is much more than a hashtag, she is a hero.
Amnesty International, has demanded that her death be investigate and that no stone is left unturned. With those nine shots she became with she fought so hard to prevent, a statistic. Black women in Brazil face violence acts twice as much as their counter parts.
Franco broke ground as she was the only black female representative and one of seven women on the 51-seat council. She fought not only for her community but for her daughter and her companion. She gave her life for her beliefs.