Note from BW of Brazil: The murder of Pedro Henrique Gonzaga last Thursday night throws yet another log into the fire of a rising outrage of Brazil’s black community. After years decades, centuries of racist acts, a visible racial hierarchy, the promotion of a false racial democracy, and a true genocide in motion, black Brazilians will no longer remain silent on these issues. As I’ve written in numerous previous texts, in the past few decades we’ve seen a growing consciousness of this community, evidenced by a number of noticeable changes: tens of thousands of black men and women rocking their natural hair, with every texture of curl and kink, the staging of thought-provoking theater pieces as Brazil continues to ignore its talented group of black film directors, the use of YouTube by numerous activists, actors/directors to fill the gap left by Eurocentric television networks, protests against all sorts of inequalities and tragedies and what black people have come to define as black genocide.
With the weight of a security guard on top of him, 25-year old Pedro Henrique couldn’t even manage to scream that he couldn’t breathe, but his brutal murder provided yet another breath in the life of his brothers and sisters who gain more force, courage and strength with every senseless murder of one of their own. Below are just a few of the powerful photos and descriptive words that defined the various protests that took place in memory of Pedro Henrique just a few days ago. See more coverage in the second piece here.
Protesters carry out act in front of supermarket where young man was killed by security in the West Zone of Rio; protests took place in several cities
Several groups organized to promote the demonstration, whose main slogan was the fight against racism. Pedro Gonzaga, 25, died after receiving a ‘mata-leão’ (headlock) from a security guard of the establishment.
Courtesy of BCN with extra information courtesy of Revista Fórum
A demonstration was held Sunday afternoon (17) in front of the Extra supermarket in Barra da Tijuca, West Zone of Rio, in protest against the death of Pedro Henrique Gonzaga. The 25-year-old boy died after being hit with a headlock by a security guard on Thursday (14).
Several social movements were present at the protest, held in the supermarket parking lot. The protest also happened in a supermarket in São Paulo and Pernambuco. The protest in Extra Benfica, in the West Zone of Recife, began around 2pm last Saturday (16), with about 20 participants.
According to one of the participants, the organizers toured areas of the establishment and shouted phrases like “a carne mais barata do mercado é a carne negra” (the cheapest meat on the market is the dark/black meat). Some of the customers who were on the premises followed the action.
Posters with sayings like “Vidas negras importam” (Black Lives Matter) and “Minha cor não é um crime” (My Color Is Not a Crime) were glued to the site’s guardrail.
While some of the demonstrators were conducting speeches in a sound car, another stood at the entrance of the parking lot to convince customers to stop entering the supermarket.
The actor Aílton Graça was also at the protest in Barra da Tijuca. He spoke about the importance of protesting and requested a “that’s enough” and respect to citizens.
The Military Police sent teams to follow up the act and reinforce the policing in the place. Despite the large number of people, traffic on Avenida das Américas was not interrupted until 4 pm last Sunday.
In São Paulo, activists protest at the Extra located at Avenida Brigadeiro Luís Antônio, near Alameda Ribeirão Preto, downtown region of São Paulo. The act began around 2:30 p.m.
The group took banners with the phrases “não consigo respirar” (I can’t breathe) and “vidas negras importam” (black lives matter). According to the Military Police, they occupied the sidewalk and parking lot of the supermarket and there were no roadblocks. With the protest, the market, which operates 24 hours, closed the doors.
Some drivers even backed down after learning that Pedro’s death happened at the supermarket chain’s Barra da Tijuca unit. Every car that was leaving was celebrated by the group.
When asked about the demonstrations, Extra stated that it “understands the pain and sympathizes with the sentiment surrounding the death of Pedro Henrique.” The company also said that it is “against all acts of violence, excesses and racism”.
Family in silence
The body of Pedro Henrique Gonzaga, 25, was buried Saturday in the Cemitério Jardim da Saudade, in Paciência, in the West Zone of Rio. Very shaken, his mother didn’t go to the funeral and relatives who attended the ceremony chose not to talk to the press.
Relatives and close associates reported that the victim had a small child of only eight months.