"It is difficult to talk about peace and justice in a country where the laws do not work for a large part of our society – I’m talking about Black and peripheral communities living in favelas in the country. It’s an exhausting process and, as I write this text, there is a police raid happening right outside the place I’m in, in Favela da Maré (one of the biggest favelas in Brazil, home of 140 thousand people), something that was not allowed by law during the pandemic.
It is important to say it out loud: justice for whom?
It’s hard to believe in justice when peripheral mothers know their sons are seen as targets. I’ve always knew justice and peace in Brazil is not for everyone, but came to see the raw nature of it when my own son – a young black boy, father of a beautiful baby - was caught in a shooting during a police operation and now is bound to a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down from the shots…justice never came and it comes to us, community members and residents of peripheral communities to keep saying loud and clear that our fight for basic rights must be heard and must be granted, so other mothers don’t have to go through what I’ve been through. Justice in Brazil is not for the poor, but we’ll fight until the end for this to be a reality."
Irone is a human rights activist and resident of Favela da Maré - the biggest favela in Rio de Janeiro, home of 140.000 people. She is part of the civil society collective Mothers of Maré, a group that supports mothers that had their sons killed by the State during police operations in peripheral communities. The group advocates for justice and the creation of public policies that prevent systematic crimes against black youths from favelas to keep going unnoticed by the government and the media.