Radical and beloved Brazilian city council member Marielle Franco died Wednesday night (Mar. 14) alongside her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, during a drive-by shooting in Downtown, Rio De Janeiro, The Guardian reports. She was 38.
Franco was known for her staunch socialist politics, and was a fierce advocate for the disenfranchised in Brazil’s poorest slums, commonly known as favelas. She was extremely knowledgable and vocal of the police brutality, poverty and gang violence that riddle these communities. Of Afro-Brazilian descent, Franco overcame many obstacles and leaped over odds, earning a position as a city council member with the fifth highest vote among her peers.
Local authorities told reporters two men in a car fired nine bullets at Franco’s vehicle, killing her and the driver, while a press agent in the back seat survived with some injuries. Moments before her untimely death, she participated in a panel discussion she live-streamed on her Facebook page titled, “Black Women Moving Structures.”
“More than a friend, Marielle was a symbol of our biggest conquests. A woman like us, black, from the favela, who had a lot of strength to face the institutional challenges of the politics that always kept us distant,” said Daiene Mendes, a journalism student.
Franco was a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSOL), and recently accused a slew of police officials of being excessively violent when searching homes in slums that were controlled by gangs. She was known for her active social work throughout these impoverished areas.
“She had a very promising future,” said Franco’s old college professor, Ricardo Ismael. “She was already standing out in terms of debate, leadership capacity and intellect.”
Many took to Twitter to mourn and react to Franco’s untimely death, below. Our condolences to the family, and may she rest in peace.