Columns, Opinion

Miss Leading: Say (her name) louder for the people in the back

Why must people be killed for change to occur? We’ve seen this be the case with the assassination Martin Luther King Jr., with the death of 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — and most recently — with the passing of Marielle Franco. Franco, an Afro-Brazilian politician who dedicated her entire life to fighting for women’s rights and rights for people of color in Brazil, was assassinated in her car along with her driver last week.

This is the story of a black woman who was born in the crime-torn slums of Rio de Janeiro, a place where those in office use public spaces as their Monopoly board, rather than a place to pass good judicial laws for the people. Marielle Franco was determined at a young age to change the way her community runs herself. Franco got out of the slums, graduated from one of the most prestigious schools in Brazil, pursued a career in politics, and in 2016, earned a seat in Rio’s city council.

For the entirety of her career, Marielle Franco was a critic of the naysayers of women’s rights, black rights, LGBTQ+ rights and the rights of the poor. She was unafraid to speak out against the police for “rogue behavior.” Franco was relentless in her fight for activism and politics, and she received a lot of support from her fellow Brazilian citizens. Marielle was an encouraging beam of hope for the youth of Brazil who desire to see strong leaders in office, not corrupt politicians who can control them.

Since her death, the many, diverse youth whom Franco was fighting for turned her eulogy into a revolt. It’s so empowering that so many young people around the world are fighting for policies that actually matter, rather than worrying about material things. When people talk about fighting for a better future for their children, what they really mean is that children need to fight for that future themselves, because there aren’t as many people in power who are trying to make positive change happen.

Since her death on Wednesday, Marielle Franco has become the subject of more than 3.6 million tweets from 400,000 users in 54 countries and 34 languages, and her mission has spread around the world. The only question I have is why wasn’t her death talked about more in the media? Like the thousands of other people of color who have been killed for their selfless efforts in fighting for other human’s rights, Marielle Franco’s death was not talked about in mainstream media.

With even our leaders not solving actual problems that the everyday person faces, I find it appalling that people who have committed such incredible feats are not represented in American media. It seems as though the media only cares when the news has to do with a non-minority population of America, which is why it chose not to discuss Marielle’s efforts or her death.

Minorities aren’t talked about in media unless someone from that specific group of people comes forward to protect the lives of the millions of people who come after them. We’ve seen that with movements like Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, the March for Our Lives and Say Her Name.

So for the media and everyone out there who thinks that young people do not have the right to have a voice, we are going to say Marielle Franco’s name and the names of the thousands of other people who have died fighting for a noble cause louder for the people in the back. 

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