To celebrate this year's International Women's Day, we asked our female student leaders to share something about a woman in their life that they admire or would like to acknowledge. Below you can read their responses:
Nusrat Awan - Board of Governors Representative
"On International Women’s Day 2022, I would like to acknowledge the contribution and encouragement of four inspirational women, Mandi Fusaro - Smith, Catherine Koch, Celia Logan, and Christina Musa, whom I remember as mentors and role models to become a better version of myself as a woman, as a learner, as a leader, and as a community member. Thank you, Mandi, for giving me many opportunities to grow professionally and personally. Your guidance and kindness have taught me to be a caring peer and continue the cycle of support in the student community. Your faith in me has given me enough courage to break the stereotypes and go beyond gender and cultural boundaries. Thank you, Catherine, for teaching me that true leadership not just requires skills; it takes gratitude, kindness, and passion. Your encouragement has given me the courage and path to becoming a better human and a true Ally. I take pride in having you as a role model! Thank you, Celia and Christina, for being the best mentors I could ever have. Years have passed, but I couldn't forget your contribution to my life and learning journey. You had supported me during those crisis times when I needed a strong push to stay motivated and focused on my goals. Your confidence in my abilities and motivation to keep forward made me resilient enough to persevere through any challenge I face.
I wish you and all other women across the globe a happy “International Women's Day.” We together as women are strong enough to build nurtured and supportive communities
regardless of gender, race, culture, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion. Empowered Women Empower Women! Let's Break the Bias!"
Juliana Constantino - Councillor
"I would like to share with you Mariele Franco´s history.
Biography of Marielle Franco
Marielle Francisco da Silva (1979-2018), known publicly as Marielle Franco, was a Brazilian politician.
Graduated in Sociology (from PUC-Rio) and with a Masters in Public Administration (from UFF), Marielle was elected Councilor of Rio de Janeiro by the PSOL (Socialism and Freedom Party) in 2016.
Black, female, feminist, poor, raised in the favela, and gay, Marielle represented several minorities throughout her political life. The sociologist presided over the Chamber's Women's Committee, was a defender of human rights and LGBTI causes.
Marielle was the daughter of Marinete da Silva and Antônio Francisco da Silva Neto and her sister was Anielle Franco. The family lived in Complexo da Maré, a poor region located in Rio de Janeiro.
At the age of 19, Marielle gave birth to her only child, Luyara Franco, the result of a relationship with her first boyfriend.
Marielle was the partner of the architect Mônica Benício, with whom she had been in a relationship since 2004.
In 2002, Marielle Franco joined the undergraduate course in Social Sciences at PUC-Rio with a full scholarship provided by the University for All Program (Prouni).
Before entering college, she had been a student at the Maré Community College Entrance Examination.
After graduation, Marielle joined the Masters in Public Administration at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF). His dissertation, defended in 2014, focused on the performance of the UPPs (Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora) and provided an analysis of the Public Security policy of the State of Rio de Janeiro.
Marielle was a street vendor, dancer, maid, and child educator until she had enough money to pay for her studies.
After the death of a close friend, the victim of a stray bullet, Marielle decided to dedicate herself to militancy for human rights. The sociologist worked at Redes da Maré and harshly criticized the abuses of power by the police forces.
In 2006, Marielle ended up joining the Maré Community team that campaigned for deputy Marcelo Freixo, a Rio de Janeiro politician considered Marielle's political godfather.
Marielle was elected in 2016 to the Rio de Janeiro City Council by the PSOL party with 46,502 votes. She was the fifth most voted councilor in the city.
During her term, the sociologist presided over the Chamber's Women's Committee.
A defender of human rights, she coordinated, together with Marcelo Freixo, the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights and Citizenship of the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro (ALERJ).
Marielle presented the Lesbian Visibility Day project in the House, which was not approved by just two votes.
During the period in which she served as a councilor, she presented 16 bills, specially designed for public policies for blacks, women, and LGBTI.
On March 14, 2018, a Wednesday, the car where Marielle was was hit by 13 shots that took the lives of her and the driver Anderson Pedro Gomes. Marielle was 38 years old at the time and the driver was 39 years old.
The crime took place at night, around 9:30 pm, on Rua Joaquim Palhares, in Estácio, central Rio de Janeiro. In the car were the councilor, parliamentary advisor Fernanda Chavez and driver Anderson Pedro Gomes.
They were returning from an event held at Casa das Pretas, a collective space for black women located in Lapa when they were suddenly shot."