Marielle Franco was a rising political star in Brazil. She was an activist, the only Black woman to serve on Rio de Janeiro’s current City Council, and a fierce critic of Brazilian government corruption.
Franco grew up in Maré, a favela in northern Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was known for her infectious smile, colorful headwraps, and strong advocacy for poor Black people. Brazilian police killed 4,222 people in 2016, and of these victims, 76% of the victims were Black. Franco was a symbol of hope to these many marginalized individuals and communities in Brazil who have felt left out of politics for decades. But on March 14, the 38-year-old was tragically assassinated.
Franco was gunned down in her car after hosting a rally in support of Black women. Bullets from the crime scene were reportedly purchased by federal police in 2006. She and her driver both died in the shooting.
In the days after her murder, thousands rallied outside Rio’s state legislature and across Brazil. However, President Michel Temer, has used her death as a way of defending his decision to militarize Rio.
So, what led Marielle Franco to a life of activism in Brazil? Find out in NowThis World correspondent Versha Sharma’s report, The Life of Marielle Franco.