Brazil is an extremely violent country. 2014 saw nearly 60,000 murders; since then, the death toll in the country has been nearly equal (or greater) than in Syria.

What’s particularly shocking and tragic is that of these victims, more than 30,000 of the individuals are young—extinguishing hopes for the next generation. In addition, 77% are Afro-Descendants (as compared to roughly 50% of the population overall).

To put it differently: approximately 59 young Afro-Descendants are murdered in Brazil every day. This is a series of portraits of young Afro-Descendants—residents in the favelas of Brazil. This work aims to celebrate this embattled group.

—Edu Simões

Editor’s Note: Simões’ project was recognized by the jury of the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017—don’t miss the work from all 44 of the outstanding, international talents! You can follow Simões’ work on his personal website.

If you’re interested in seeing more work on this and similar topics, we’d recommend the following articles: Ta Cheio—It’s Too Full, Tommaso Protti’s project on the consequences of overcrowding prisons in Brazil; Maysa, the story of an 11-year-old girl seeking a different future through the “Young Miss Brazil” beauty pageant; and My Sweet Paradise, the gritty, award-winning street photography series by Fabricio Brambatti.