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Costa Rica Just Elected Latin America’s First Black Female Vice President

After a heated election season, Costa Rica chose Carlos Alvarado Quesada as its new president on Sunday. Alvarado Quesada will be the youngest president in the country’s modern history, but perhaps more impressive are the barriers his running mate, Epsy Campbell Barr, is breaking.

Campbell Barr is not only Costa Rica’s first female vice president of African descent, but the first black woman to be elected vice president in all of Latin America.

It’s an honor the 54-year-old takes seriously. Ahead of Sunday’s election results, Campbell Barr told CRHoy, a digital publication, that if elected it would be her “responsibility not only to represent people of African descent but to represent all women and men in the country, a country that gives us all the same opportunities.”

Take Action: Let’s Act in Unity With Girls All Over the World.

Campbell Barr, who is of Jamaican descent, has been vocal about both sexism and racism. She stirred controversy in 2015 when she criticized a children’s book required in public schools for perpetuating harmful stereotypes about Afro-Costa Ricans.

More recently, she has spoken out about the gender wage gap and violence against women.

“Can you imagine thinking about closing the National Institute for Women in a country where approximately 28 women die every year at the hands of their partners?” she tweeted. “We cannot go back, we must move forward, and by a lot.”

Read more: Costa Rica’s New President Wants to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage, Eliminate Poverty, and Serve All People

An economist and author, Campbell Barr is a co-founder of the Citizens’ Action Party and was previously the head of the Center for Women of African Descent, the Alliance of Leaders of African Descent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Black Parliament of the Americas. 

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