NDI is shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Marielle Franco, a councilwoman in Rio de Janeiro, who was shot in the head four times this week as she traveled home from a public event. Franco, an outspoken critic of police brutality in Brazil, was also a prominent advocate for Afro-Brazilians. “How many more will have to die for this war to end?” she asked on Twitter the day before she and her driver were gunned down.
“Another female political leader has been violently taken from us because of what she represented,” said Sandra Pepera, director of Gender, Women and Democracy at NDI. “We remain committed to the mission of the #NotTheCost campaign to end violence against women like Marielle all around the world.”
“Marielle was an inspiration to Brazilians and for all of us," added Jim Swigert, NDI regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Serving in her first term as councilwoman, Franco was elected in 2016 and enjoyed widespread support throughout the city. A gay black woman from a poor neighborhood in Rio, she was both a friend and a symbol to feminists, working people, Afro-Brazilians, the LGBTQ community and those living in poverty. Protests erupted as thousands filled the streets in cities all over Brazil to mourn the loss of the 38-year-old Franco.
NDI expresses its deepest sympathy to Ms. Franco’s family, friends, constituents and everyone who loved and found hope in her. The Institute will continue its mission of ending violence against women in politics.