For Immediate Release
Para publicación inmediata
Para divulgação imediata
Elida de Aquino (Coordinadora de Comunicaciones)
AfroResistance and partner organizations announces their International Week of Action for Miguel: Seeking Justice and Centering Black Lives
Activities in several countries will mark one year of Miguel’s death, the absence of justice, and a call to valuing the lives of Black children around the world.
May 30th, 2021. New York, New York. Miguel Otávio Santana da Silva was a five years old who fell from the ninth floor in a luxury building in Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and died on 2nd June 2020, due to being abandoned by Sarí Gaspar Corte Real. Ms. Mirtes Renata Santana de Souza, worked as a Black domestic worker, in the household, and like most domestic workers due to many inequitable social, cultural, and economic reasons, had to report to work even during the height of covid-19, a global health pandemic. Due to the lack of childcare and school closures during the pandemic, Ms. Souza had to report to work with her son, Miguel. Mrs. Gaspar Corte Real was Ms. Souza’s employer.
While Mirtes, complied with the order to walk the dog of the family that employed her, Miguel was left in the care of Sarí Gaspar Corte Real, Ms. Souza’s boss. The child started crying, wanting his mother's presence, and was abandoned, by Sarí, alone in one of the service elevators after she pressed the button for the 9th floor. Miguel ended up getting lost and exited the elevator on the ninth floor. Looking for his mother, the little boy climbed a railing and fell from a height of approximately 35 meters. He was taken alive to the hospital but with several fractures and bleeding in his body, his tender little body did not survive all the injuries, and unfortunately, he died.
“Since I discovered the truth about my son's death, I said that I would move heaven and earth so that his case would never fall by the wayside. Me and the social movements from Brazil and the world are together, firm and strong, to show Sarí and the judiciary in Brazil that we want justice for the death of Miguel, that we want justice for our Black Children, with cases that are treated indifferently and unequally in the country and elsewhere. We Black people are human beings and deserve respect " shares Mirtes
As it stands right now, the Civil Police investigation concluded that Mrs. Corte Real (the employer) was indicted for the crime of abandonment of an incapacitated person (Miguel) resulting in death. And the Public Ministry of Pernambuco denounced Ms. Corte Real for the crime of abandonment. Finally, after some unjustifiable months of delays, an evidentiary hearing was scheduled for December of last year (2020), after popular pressure.
In memory of Miguel, a year after his death, and also in memory of many other black children who lost their lives in Brazil and around the world, as a result of racism and structural violence, the International Week "Menino Miguel" was created and will take place from Sunday, May 30th to Saturday, June 5th, 2021. The week's agenda brings together activities and actions that will take place in different places around the world, generating reflections on Human Rights, racism, gender, class, and the growing inequalities that Black Women, Black Children, and Black People face. Organizations from countries such as France, Germany, United States, England, Haiti, among others, will participate with local and international programmes, directed to the general public.
The agenda of confirmed activities include a video launch “Denouncing Miguel’s case” in English by Anti-racists around the world; a day forum to examine the “Implications of Whiteness in Miguel's Death” hosted by Mulheres de Pernambuco an NGO in Brazil; and a march in Recife, Brazil, hosted by Coalizão Negra Por Direitos to name a few. The closing of the week will take place on Saturday, June 5th with a full day of live events hosted by Mirtes Renata, AfroResistance, and Grupo Curumin with guests that include mothers that have lost children to state violence and United Nations representatives to name a few. For a full list of events, please visit https://www.afroresistance.org/justicapormiguel