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A Black Woman in Power

Discussing the legacy of Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco with a woman who knew her well

Last week, the charismatic young Afro-Brazilian politician Marielle Franco was assassinated. While motives remain unknown, many fear the beloved Rio de Janeiro councilwoman was targeted for her strong stance against police repression and other injustices. Professor Jaqueline Gomes knew Franco well. Gomes is an Afro-Brazilian trans woman who plans to run for Congress in this year's national elections. She was honored by Franco last year with a special city council award, the Chiquinha Gonzaga medal for her work in human rights and education. Gomes, a professor at a federal institute, became the first black transgender woman to be honored. It was the presence of Franco, a black woman on the city council of Rio de Janeiro, says Gomes, that made it possible for her to receive such an award. Over the next year, she supported Franco in all of her work.

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