Rio de Janeiro governor Luiz Fernando Pezão has named March 14 Marielle Franco Day—”a day against the genocide of Black women,” The Rio Times reports. The date marks the day that Franco, an Afro-Brazilian human rights activist and city council member, was assassinated while returning home from a Jovens Negras Movendo Estruturas (Young Black Women for Change) meeting in central Rio.
Renata Souza, the councilor’s former chief of staff, told local news outlet O Globo that the holiday “saves and revives Marielle Franco’s struggle for the lives of black, poor, favela and peripheral women is very important and symbolic.”
“It is urgent that Black women be the focus of public policies because they are the main victims of the lack of state assistance,” she continued. “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 that Black women are the main victims of obstetric violence, in public hospitals and also because of abortions in backyard clinics. “They are the main victims of maternal death,” she said. “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.”
As previously reported by NewsOne, Franco was elected to office in 2016 as part of the leftist Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL). She fought against police brutality and also worked to spark advocacy campaigns about sexual violence and the incarceration of Black youth. Franco, who was one of only six women on Rio’s 51-person city council was also elected to Rio’s legislature in 2015 with the fifth highest votes, according to The Rio Times. She was assassinated on March 14, 2018.
May she continue to rest in power.