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 first piece here.
“The strongest meat on the market is the dark meat!”* Community protests at Extra stores asking for justice
By Silvia Nascimento
The Guardian is correct in saying that the protests held today in some cities of the country, after the assassination of Pedro Gonzaga inside the Extra supercenter in Rio, strengthened the movement #VidasNegrasImportam (Black Lives Matter), here in Brazil.
On Sunday the 17th, the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and Campo Grande were host one of the biggest protests against genocídio negro (black genocide) of recent times. To get an idea, the execution with 111 shots of the 5 black youths in Costa Barra (Rio suburb), mobilized a little over 40 people in front of the Palácio do Guanabara (Guanabara Palace) in Rio de Janeiro in 2015. In today’s event, in Rio alone, there were an estimated 500 people, according to the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper.
In Rio de Janeiro, at the supercenter where Pedro was murdered in the Barra da Tijuca district, activists, popular artists and Youtubers entered the establishment in an organized and peaceful manner. “We are not here to break Extra but to break the structure of racism,” said one of the demonstrators.
Many war cries and texts about genocídio negro have been read collectively, and a unison choir demanding justice and declaring that the time of carne negra ser a mais barata do mercado (black/dark meat being the cheapest on the market)* is part of the past.
“This revolution we are asking for will come only through the politicized black men and women, intellectuals and conscious civil society. These will be the true revolutionaries. In their hand is the power of transformation and mobilization, as was done today. Today we join hundreds of people with the same goals, to repudiate the death of the povo negro (black people),” said the actor and activist, Érico Brás.
“We watch on television, it’s no use making an assembly, everyone saw what happened. We must all be united, the black whole!” said the congresswoman Benedita da Silva during the beginning of the protests.
On Friday, a small group from Recife did an act of huge symbolism in the Extra of that city. “Stop you’re killing him!”
It happened today at Extra’s Madalena unit, in Recife, in repudiation of the death of Pedro Gonzaga, aged 25 by a security guard of the supermarket chain in Rio de Janeiro.#VIDASNEGRASIMPORTAM (BLACK LIVES MATTER)
In São Paulo, Extra attempted to prevent access
In the capital of São Paulo, the Extra unit on Brigadeiro Luis Antônio street was the place chosen by the activists to protest.
Architect and activist Stephanie Ribeiro gave us some details. “There was a small confusion between the organization and another group. Some who wanted to come in and some did not. The supermarket closed the bars, but we managed to get in and we stayed in the parking lot, then we went towards Paulista.”
For her, the act managed to bother the people, the Extra customers and the people who were passing the place at the time of the act. “We managed to show that Pedro’s life was not in vain,” concluded Ribeiro.
Source: Mundo Negro
* A spin on the 2002 Elza Soares song “A Carne” where she sings “a carne negra é a mais barata do mercado”, meaning the “the dark/black meat is the cheapest on the market”, which makes an analogy between dark meat being the cheapest in a supermarket with black lives having the least value in Brazil. The song has become an anthem for black artists and activists.