On January 2, 2021 two Black activists – Igo Ngo and Felipe were arrested accused of theft at Pinheiros district in São Paulo.
By CSP-Conlutas Media Team
The two friends were in the area around Largo da Batata eating yakisoba from street vendors who are always there, in a walk they always do. When they finished, they came back home from the Pinheiros subway station. On the way, near to Campo Limpo district, the bus was intercepted by the police, who ordered the two of them and some other passengers to get off, and the two were arrested for supposedly having the suspects profile as indicated by the victim and witnesses. They were not even allowed to be properly heard.
Igo and Felipe are INNOCENT! They had not participated in the theft that they were not even aware about. They didn’t even walk by the street where the theft happened. On their way they stopped to get money at the terminal, missed the bus and were waiting for the next one, in the tranquility of those who owe nothing and were just returning home.
According to he victim’s account, two young black men stole her bag with her belongings inside. She called an UBER driver who followed the suspects to the terminal where he called the police who arrested Igo and Felipe who had not committed any misdemeanor. This operation resulted in an illegal, arbitrary, random and racist arrest! But for the criminal justice system, which involves everything from the police commanded by the State Government, to the judges at the top of their chairs in the courts and their pens, it does not matter!
We know that in Brazil, racial and class bias makes us the third country across the world in arrests. The target are black, poor, young people from the favelas and outskirts. 40% of those in prison were not trialed. This is the same target of the killing and genocide perpetrated by the state, which causes every 23 minutes a young black man to be murdered in our country.
In São Paulo, almost 500 young people were killed by the police in 2020, they also arrest innocent people or people who don’t even have the right to actually defend themselves, like the recent case of the musician of the String Orchestra from Grota of Niterói, Luiz Carlos Justino, 23 years old, arrested “by mistake”, like so many others. Meanwhile, the real criminals, politicians, businessmen, bankers, corrupt who steal money from health, food, transportation, education, who divert money from works that we so badly need for the improvement of life of the population, remain at liberty to continue take off everything they can from us!
This real policy of death and injustice destroys the future of many and makes thousands of families go through pain, suffering, anguish, besides the humiliation, torture and injustice that we suffer every day for more than 500 years because we are black, poor and workers. And this is what is happening to Igo and Felipe and their families right now!
Igo Ngo is a rapper, from the group Resistência du Gueto, percussionist, music producer and filmmaker at 2as Marias Produções. A young black from São Paulo who has dedicated his life and art to fighting against racism, defending indigenous peoples and families who do not have adequate housing, through the Popular Struggle Movement – Luta Popular.
He is currently one of the main leaders of the Hip Hop Quilombo Brazil Movement, a national Hip Hop organization that has affiliated groups from various regions of the country. In São Paulo, the organization affiliated to the MHMQB is called O3 (Ouvir, Ousar, Organizar – Listen, Dare, Organize), a movement that Igo helped found and spread throughout the peripheries.
It is also one of the organizers of the mobilizations named “Periphery March” in São Paulo, an event of a political and cultural nature that takes place during the month of November in reference to black consciousness and the antiracist struggle. In the south zone, he also helped build the Comitê Mestre Môa do Katendê and builds mobilization works in several communities, such as in the Olaria slum, where he makes movies for youth and children.
In the last national meeting of the CSP-Conlutas Igo participated in one of the most exciting cultural presentations that drew tears from the eyes of hundreds of fighters present there, singing and protesting together with representatives of the Guarani Mbya indigenous people of the Tenondé Porã village, extreme south of São Paulo city.
Igo has a series of video published on YouTube, among them the clip “Nhanderu” which he recorded precisely with members of this indigenous community, with whom he builds daily relationships of exchange, learning and solidarity.
In 2020, before the pandemic, he collected images and testimonies of indigenous peoples by several countries in America, particularly in Chile, which was experiencing one of the most important popular uprisings in our continent’s recent history. During the pandemic, he helped organize a solidarity action at Sapucaí village, in Bracuí district (Angra dos Reis city), which he coordinated for the Luta Popular, with the support of CSP-Conlutas, Sindsef-SP and the Oil Workers’ Union of Angra dos Reis city. Recently he was organizing together with activists of the Baixada Santista and member of the Oil Workers Union of Santos city a new action of solidarity in the villages of the region. Also, with the volunteers of Project Overcoming Challenges they were able to support with food to 11 villages in the State of Sao Paulo.
Igo was planning his son’s birthday party and planning also – once again – to be present at the beginning of the year planning meeting of the Luta Popular movement, of which he is an old and important member and leader.
Felipe is also a social and cultural activist, having participated via Luta Popular of the last National Congress of the CSP Conlutas, supported several initiatives in the communities where the movement operates and participated in the musical productions of the Resistência du Gueto. He is a martial arts fighter, champion of Muay-Thai, a teacher of boxing struggles, and makes this work a way to involve young people from his community in paths that point to self-discipline and a sense of community, having helped many to build prospects for the future. He, like Igo, is deeply loved by friends and family and in his neighborhood.
In this way, we want to say loud and clear that Igo’s and Felipe’s history and work is to offer knowledge, hope, self-esteem, culture to his people and not to steal material goods.
Igo Ngo and Felipe were deprived of freedom, deprived of being next to their own for 13 days. The racism that rules our country kills and incarcerates the Black and poor Youth. It was not the color of the shirt (supposedly identified by the victim) that arrested the two friends, it was the color of the skin under the shirt. All solidarity is needed with our brother and with all the Black and poor Youth unjustly imprisoned in Brazil.
Those from the peripheries of São Paulo, particularly the capital’s South Zone or Praia Grande, know the qualities of these young black activists and know that their journey has always been for the right, for the humiliated and oppressed, for the right to expression, diversity and life. His walk has always been for freedom and there is no stain on it, nor will there be.
The defense team of our two comrades finally set them free through an habeas corpus, collecting evidence and camera images about their journey and the crime scene, to show their innocence. But we know that Justice, for those below, is not always fair.
That’s why we count on everyone’s support and solidarity, to support them and to promote a campaign for dropping all charges! And for JUSTICE, so that all those involved who are making them and their families go through this INJUSTICE, fruit of a clear case of RACISM, are also accountable.
Freedom for Brothers Igo and Felipe NOW!