With 55.1 percent of the vote, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro won the presidential election in Brazil – the results of which will have far-reaching consequences. With his comments, Bolsonaro, a former army captain of the Partido Social Liberal, has made it clear that he’s not concerned with leading a nation where the LGBTQ community, women, Afro-Brazilians, Indigenous groups, and more can thrive. With their rights on the line, for many, Brazil’s future looks grim. But as anger, fear, and hopelessness set in, one message has spread on social media: “Ninguém solta a mão de ninguém.”
The phrase – translating roughly to “don’t let go of anybody’s hand” – is a reminder that the resistance continues. It also implores people to keep their fight for Brazil’s future intersectional. Bolsonaro has attacked many vulnerable communities, and has even admitted in the past that he is a “homophobic” and “very proud of it.” According to The Guardian, LGBTQ activists say Bolsonaro’s rise has sparked even more homophobic attacks in recent times. “It’s as if the gates of hell have been opened – as if hunting season had been declared,” said Beto de Jesus, founder of Sao Paulo’s gay pride parade. “It’s barbarism.”
And it’s not just this community that feels under threat. “To me, the KKK represents fear,” Daniela Gomes, an Afro-Brazilian woman living in the US, told The Root. “It’s the fear of what is going to happen to us as Black people. Bolsonaro and the KKK are linked by their anti-blackness, racism, and white supremacy, so Bolsonaro represents that fear, to. Bolsonaro is a return to the past. It’s like going back to a time machine where I can see the future and the past at the same time.”
As stories like these take over our feeds, Bolsonaro’s opposers say it’s important to stick together. While it’s not yet clear where the words “Ninguém solta a mão de ninguém” came from, we do know that celebrities have helped make the phrase go viral. Bruna Marquezine, Bruno Gagliasso, and Débora Falabella have all posted the powerful message on their social media accounts.