David A. Wilson, Co-founder of theGrio.com
This is Marielle Franco a 38-year-old mother and popular councilwoman from Rio de Janeiro; the 5th most voted for in the city. She was a vocal critic of police brutality and their deadly violence against black people in the favelas, the city and country. A level of genocide and violence against us that is on par with what we see in Syria and Afghanistan. Yesterday evening she was on her way home from an event called “Jovens Negras Movendo as Estruturas” (Black Youth Moving the Structures) when her vehicle was shot up by “unknown” assailants. She died from four gunshots to the head, the driver was also killed and her adviser was struck by shrapnel. Many believe that her death was orchestrated by the very people she criticized so publicly. There is now a national outcry for justice and an end to the war against Black people here in Brazil — a nation that is 55% Black.
For those of us in the United States, who have dedicated our lives and careers to the liberation and equality of Blacks in the U.S. and in the mother continent of Africa; now is the time to extend our attention and efforts to the 110 million of us living here in Brazil and the the tens of millions more throughout Latin America, who literally share our same blood, ancestors, history and struggles. We are the same people and we are bigger than the individual nations we were all taken to on slave ships. The war against Black people is global and as Dr. King once said, “None of us are free until all of us are free.” Let’s make sure our sister Marielle Franco’s life and death isn’t in vain. Let’s make sure the voice and the strength of our diaspora is felt beyond Black Panther’s box office numbers. Share her story. Demand justice. End the war on black people everywhere. Say Her Name!