by Eugenia Tovar, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

by Eugenia Tovar, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Afro-Brazilian, bisexual and committed to Human Rights: The murder of fearless Marielle Franco.

06 Dec, 2018

by Eugenia Tovar, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Marielle Franco was black. She was born poor. She identified herself as bisexual and she was also a single mum to a daughter she had when she was 19 years old. Marielle was a strong woman with an even stronger voice. She was a fighter. Marielle Franco fought for basic human rights. She spent her life speaking out against the atrocities committed by the police towards people who live in the ‘’favelas’’ (slums) of Rio de Janeiro. Marielle Franco was a leader and a counsellor of her city. She was a politician without wanting to become one. Marielle was asking the right questions but she was not obtaining any answers...until the 14th of March, 2018 arrived and she was brutally murdered.

One of the most courageous Social Leaders in Brazil

Franco was a 38 years old leader who was born in a favela in Rio de Janeiro. She became a Sociologist with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. She was part of the Partido Socialismo y Libertad (PSOL), and she represented everything the privileged class, patriarchal society and state hates: she was a strong, young black woman, in a stable relationship alongside her partner Monica, and an active fighter against the oppression and violence that the State of Rio de Janeiro has perpetrated for years.

Franco was voted for over 40,000 in the city’s council elections, and she dedicated almost all of her adult life to denounce crimes committed by the police against civilians, especially towards those who are usually most vulnerable, such as the poor, black and LGBTI’s communities in Rio de Janeiro.

‘’How many more people will have to die for this war to stop?’’ was the last question Marielle Franco was able to Tweet before her own murder. Little did she know that she was about to become another number of the sadistic statistics of the Brazilian state.

Michel Temer was new to power

It was an awful and incredible coincidence, but the murder of activist Marielle Franco coincided with the first month of military intervention proposed by the then-President Temer. The intervention consisted of allowing the Brazilian Army to be in charge of the National and Public Defense while also managing the local police factions. Many activists have claimed that Franco’s murder was in fact done by the Rio de Janeiro’s Police.

Now Jair Bolsonaro is the future President, starting in January 2019

Little has changed since elections took place and Bolsonaro won as the future President of Brasil. In fact, things are looking more worrisome as the elected President has been making headlines since before the elections with some quotes - and way of thinking- that are simply unjustified...from saying he ‘’wouldn’t rape another Politician because she was ugly’’ to ‘’If I saw two men kissing I would definitely punch them’’, to ‘’If I hire women to do this job then I would also have to hire black people’’, it is unfortunate to say that Brazil’s future is not looking very bright, whatsoever.

Marielle’s Franco keeps living in our hearts
She was a fearless advocate for basic human rights of Afro-Brazilians, LGBTI members, women and low-income communities, and this is why her voice has not died. In fact, she will be honoured and remembered in this years ELLA event in La Plata, Argentina.