Rio de Janeiro Has Named March 14th 'Marielle Franco Day—Against the Genocide of Black Women'
The day will be used to promote community wide reflection on the killings of black women.
Following the targeted assassination of Afro-Brazilian human rights activist and city council member Marielle Franco this past March, the governor of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fernando Pezão, has named March 14th, the date of Franco's untimely death, "Marielle Franco Day—a day against the genocide of black women" in Rio de Janeiro, reports The Rio Times.
The ordinance states that the day be used to promote community-wide discussion and reflection on the killings of black women in Brazil through lectures and public debates.
"To have March 14th as a date that saves and revives Marielle Franco's struggle for the lives of black, poor, favela and peripheral women is very important and symbolic," Renata Souza, Franco's former Chief of Staff told O Globo.
"It is urgent that black women be the focus of public policies because they are the main victims of the lack of state assistance. Therefore, it is these black women who in the last ten years have the highest rates of feminicide when they are murdered by their spouses in abusive relationships," she added.
But domestic abuse isn't the only violence threatening black women in Brazil. "They are also the main victims of obstetric violence, in public hospitals and also because of abortions in backyard clinics, says Souza. "They are the main victims of maternal death. Either we deal with these matters in earnest, as Marielle treated them, or black women will continue to be the main victims of the State's neglect."
Franco death rocked the world and highlighted Brazil's ongoing struggle with stark racial inequality. Franco committed her life and career to voicing the struggles of neglected black populations living in the country's favelas. She won her post as a city council member despite being considered an underdog in Rio politics on account of her gender and race.
Street art dedicated to Marielle Franco in Bedstuy, Brooklyn.Photo by Antoinette Isama.