RIP: Marielle Franco

18 Mar


The world has lost another warrior. When somebody dies, its a sad loss but when a warrior who lived for the rights of many is assassinated for speaking up, we need to raise the alarm. Last week, Marielle Franco, an Afro-Brazilian activist was assassinated in her car.

Marielle Francisco da Silva, known as Marielle Franco was a Brazilian politician, feminist, and human rights activist. She served as a city councillor of the Municipal Chamber of Rio de Janeiro for the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) from January 2017 until her assassination on 14 March 2018.

She had been an outspoken critic of police brutality and extrajudicial killings, as well as the recent federal intervention by Brazilian president Michel Temer in the state of Rio de Janeiro which resulted in the deployment of the army in police operations.

Who was Marielle Franco?

Franco was raised in Maré, a slum in northern Rio de Janeiro, where she also resided for most of her life. Franco identified as part of the LGBT community, and in 2017, she moved to the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Tijuca with her partner, Mônica Benício, and her daughter, Luyara Santos.
In 1998, Franco gave birth to her first and only child. In 2000, she began her pre-university studies. Franco raised her daughter without the father’s help and worked as a pre-school teacher making minimum wage.

In 2002, she entered the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro on a scholarship and continued working and raising her daughter as she earned a degree in social sciences. She went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration from the Fluminense Federal University. She wrote her master’s thesis (titled “UPP: The Decline of the Favela in Three Letters”) on the law enforcement program to retake control of the city’s favelas from gangs.

Before running for city council, Franco worked for state representative Marcelo Freixo as a consultant and helped coordinate the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and Citizenship on the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro (ALERJ). In her bid for a seat on the Rio de Janeiro city council in the 2016 municipal elections, Franco received 46,500 votes. She received the fifth most votes out of more than 1,500 candidates and was one of 51 people elected.
As a city council member, Franco chaired the Women’s Defence Commission and formed part of a four-person committee that monitored the federal intervention in Rio de Janeiro. Working with the Rio de Janeiro Lesbian Front, Franco presented a bill to create a day of lesbian visibility in Rio de Janeiro in August 2017, but the bill was defeated by a vote of 19-17.


On 14 March 2018, after Marielle Franco attended a women’s empowerment event she and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, were fatally shot by two men in another car who fired nine shots at them in a targeted assassination in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Thousands took to the streets in coordinated protests across Brazil, and both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch condemned her killing.

May her dear soul rest n peace.


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