Introduction to the Special Issue

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In March 2018, sociologist and Carioca councilwoman Marielle Franco (Partido Socialismo e Liberdade—PSOL/RJ) [Socialism and Freedom Party] was brutally murdered at the age of 38. She was a Black, lesbian woman from Complexo da Maré, a set of slums reclassified as communities, located in the northern zone of Rio de Janeiro and with about 140,000 residents. Coming from an economically and socially disadvantaged background, her death had national and international repercussions due to the brutality of her extermination, which remains unsolved, and the attempt to silence the agendas defended in her political activity. As a human rights activist, Marielle gave voice to social movements and residents who were constrained by the presence of militarized police forces in several of Rio de Janeiro’s precarious neighborhoods. The fact that the crime remains unsolved says a lot about Brazil’s structural problems, both from the urban violence point of view and the infiltration of the militia in politics and from the symbolic and cultural point of view, expressed in the absence of investment in schools, libraries, parks, and public squares. Marielle represented—in both senses of representation and representativeness—Blacks, women, LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transvestite, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and more), and the poor; in a single parliamentary performance, she concentrated on the aforementioned groups, who suffer the oppressions imposed on citizens by a structurally racist, sexist, and elitist nation-state daily.