By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – An estimated seven thousand people took to the streets of Copacabana near Copacabana Palace in Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone) on Sunday, July 29th, in the fourth annual “Black Women’s March” to protest the rising tide of violence and other injustices against black women in Brazil.
“The Brazilian state has a policy of executing black people,” exclaimed one of the march’s organizers, Clatia Vieira, to a government news agency. “And this execution does not happen only with firearms,” she added. “It happens when you are not healthy, when you do not have a home, when you have no education, when you do not have quality of life.”
A study from the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea) showed that in 2016 the homicide rate of black women in Brazil was 5.3 per 100,000 people. That figure was 73 percent higher than the homicide rate of non-black women, who have a rate of 3.1 per 100,000.
Significantly, in ten years, the homicide rate of black women in Brazil has increased fifteen percent, while decreasing eight percent for non-black women.
According to Vieira, the murder of Rio City Councillor Marielle Franco on March 14th, has had a chilling effect on protestors within the community while at the same time providing an impetus to take further action in support of the cause.
“Of course Marielle’s execution brings a lot of fears to people who are activists. We’re scared,” she admitted. “But, fear also brings courage, because we must live and survive to take care of ours.”
“Marielle is a stimulus to show us that the fight is very great. We have racist interference that does not listen to the black community and has no proposals for us…only killing.”