We are two black women, two women who grew up living with racism from the favela to the asphalt. We are from two different generations, we could be mother and daughter and, as incredible as it may seem, from the older generation to the younger generation, the injustices and deaths that blacks like us are victims grow like the bodies exposed to whom want to see.
Evidences of the racism that we still feel in our skin are everywhere, including in the statistics of the Public Security Institute (ISP). According to the state body, 7,848 people lost their lives at the hands of police officers in the state of Rio from 2018 to June of this year.
Last year alone there were more than 1,300 deaths in these circumstances, which represents 29.7% of all violent deaths in Rio de Janeiro. A third is no small feat.
We live, therefore, with an average of almost four deaths bankrolled by the state per day. For those of you reading this to have an idea, in the region that includes Complexo da Penha, in the north of the capital, exactly where 10 people were killed this week during an action by the Civil and Military Police, there were 321 cases in 2022. is the same Vila Cruzeiro that lived, astonished, the police massacre that resulted in 25 deaths in May last year.
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Why do lives in these regions where clashes are daily not matter? The retail of deaths that is trivialized on a daily basis has color in Rio de Janeiro.
Those who know, know well, but we used here the answer given by the Observatories Network, a project by the Center for Studies on Security and Citizenship (CESeC) with data from 2021: 87.3% of those killed by the police in Rio de Janeiro that year they were black.
Favelas and peripheries are exclusion and death zones par excellence, where black and poor people are at the mercy of the necropolitics instituted by this state that, instead of protecting and providing guarantees, kills without accountability, as if the pretext of fighting the drug trafficking justified the killings. Also an effect of capitalism, which reproduces itself through the enslavement of entire populations subjected to deadly conditions.
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At each operation, whether more or less lethal, there are residents who are, essentially, ordinary people, who work, who go to school, who relate to each other and also exchange affection. There are children, there are elderly people. All normalcy is taken from them by panic at every rifle volley that can hit their heads at the crack of dawn. Imagine the terror of living under that threat.
The committees that we chair in the respective legislative houses that we are part of, the Legislative Assembly and the Chamber of Councillors, are crowded with relatives who arrive every day in search of answers about their own, of encouragement and some support.
People who want justice, an appeal that the government insists on not listening to. We, who come from this place, welcome, but we can no longer act alone.
It is necessary, once and for all, that more sectors of society understand that, at the speed at which unjustified killings proliferate, everyone’s life – or anyone’s life -, one hour, could be hanging by a thread.
Read more: Case of Marielle and Anderson: read the testimony of Élcio Queiroz with the account of the day of the murder
*Dani Monteiro is a state deputy, president of the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights and Citizenship at Alerj.
**Mônica Cunha is a councilor and president of the Special Committee to Combat Racism of the Chamber of Rio de Janeiro.
***This is an opinion article. The authors’ view does not necessarily express the editorial line of the newspaper Brasil de Fato.
Source: BdF Rio de Janeiro
Editing: Jacqueline Deister