We promoted out first great public demonstration on December 17, 1993, when the city stopped for two minutes to ask for peace, consolidating Viva Rio as an important and active social movement in the debate about Rio de Janeiro. The city was then facing a period of extreme violence, including two deadly slaughteres in Candelária Church and the Vigário Geral favela. Summoned by Viva Rio, hundreds of people from different backgrounds gathered in front of the Candelária Church, united on the plea por peace, justice and freedom.
The violence crisis in Rio was the trigger that caused people from varied backgrounds – leaders in the favelas and labor unions, creators and the press, influencerse in culture and sports, different churches and the private sector – to unite around a movement.
Viva Rio was born at a time when civil movements flourished in the aftermath of the Brazilian dictatorship, which ended in 1985 .
We grew quickly due to the high visibility of our founders and because of our ability to listen and give voice to a range of opinions. With a diverse, dynamic, and open-minded team, we have always worked for a fairer and more inclusive society.
Since the beginning, Viva Rio has walked its own path, one that has shaped its identity and guides its actions to the present day. We chose to work in the most vulnerable communities, with those exposed to poverty, who often live in environments with gun violence. This choice drove our early work as an institution, such as with the Balcão de Direitos, project that took a desk with a specialist to 10 favelas to clarify the residents on their civil rights and help them with court cases.
We are proud of our history and we like to remember it whenever we can. With no resources at all, we managed to summon people from every corner of the city on a rainy Friday to dress in white and fill the streets as a response to the crisis of violence in Rio. Almost a quarter of a century later, Viva Rio continues to seek inspiration from that demonstration held at Candelária – both to amplify the voices of those who demand the right to live in peace and to provide a conscious voice for civil society in the debate on challenging issues.