World In View: Do Black lives matter in Brazil?

From the March-April 2015 issue of News & Letters

Editor’s note: It is reported that in Brazil, 30,000 people ages 15 to 29 are murdered each year. That’s around 82 young people killed every day. Of those youth, 77% are Black. On average, police kill more than five people daily. Only 5% to 8% of homicides ever go to trial. Brazil has more homicides than any other country in the world. There were 56,000 murders in 2012. Never has there been so much murder in Brazil.

Youth organized by the “Reaja ou Será Morto, Reaja ou Será Morta” (React or You Will Be Dead) campaign in Salvador, Bahia. Photo courtesy of Black Women of Brazil.

Youth organized by the “Reaja ou Será Morto, Reaja ou Será Morta” (React or You Will Be Dead) campaign in Salvador, Bahia. Photo courtesy of Black Women of Brazil.

No, the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose in the photo above is not from Ferguson, Missouri, nor is it from New York City or any of the other nationwide protests going on across the U.S. in protest against a number of police murders of unarmed Black men in that country.

No, the photo above features Black youth in Salvador, Bahia, where young Afro-Brazilians are “in the target” of police and death squads in that heavily Black state. And it’s not just Bahia. States such as Paraíba, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, among others, should be placed on the list of states of emergency due to their murders of Black youth.

All told, police in Brazil kill five times more people than do police in the U.S. So what’s it going to take to create a sustained movement of resistance and international coverage?

—Black Women of Brazil

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