Camilla Hawthorne is Associate Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, author of
Jovan Scott Lewis is Associate Professor and Chair of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of
This chapter examines Black women in political positions of power and their representation, focusing on Marielle Franco’s life, death, and legacy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It explores Franco’s social and spatial significance, intersectionality, and positionality as an activist, Black woman, favelada, LGBTQ person, and single mother elected to city council and then assassinated. The chapter employs Black Geographies to examine Franco’s assassination in the context of white nationalism, Black genocide, and spatial violence. In doing so, it unpacks how Black Geographic approaches give meaning to Black women who sacrifice themselves through their person, bodies, and lives to position themselves at the center of white supremacist political institutions. The chapter argues that Franco represents and embodies alternative visions and projects that strive for social justice, equality, and collective and inclusive agendas.