Viva Rio chose Mother´s Day May 13 to launch its new disarmament campaign, "No Guns! It´s The Gun Or Me". The campaign is led by women whose children have died as a result of gun violence, and by women artists.
At the launch the women handed out white roses, pamphlets and car bumper stickers.
There was a performance by the AfroLata band, made up of 25 children from the Vigário Geral shantytown. The campaign objectives were presented to the press along with an agenda for the next six months. The mothers of gun violence victims, weeping as they remembered their loved ones, destroyed a pile of toy guns with hammers.
The campaign objective is to increase popular pressure on government for disarmament, expanding the movement to other states and other countries in South America.
In Rio de Janeiro, eight out of ten homicides are committed with a firearm. Gun violence is a male disease: for every girl/woman that dies from firearms, 24 boys/men die. And behind every gun violence victim is a woman's suffering, whether she be a mother, wife, sister, grandmother or partner. Women are secondary victims of gun violence. For these reasons, Viva Rio has united female artists, police officers, journalists, writers, film-makers, mothers and relatives of victims to lead the campaign, to mobilize women from all over the country and all walks of life to say "No!" to guns.
Note: The campaign's first logo shows a lipstick and a bullet. It confronts men with a choice: "It's the guns or me". The message that guns do not make the man is especially important in the shantytowns where firearms have come to symbolize power, masculinity and status.