Photo: Javier Wallace.

In Panama, a Youth Soccer Group Leads the Charge Against Racism & Economic Impacts of COVID-19

In Curundú, a predominantly Black neighborhood in Panama City, a group of young people are using soccer as a way to come together to fight discrimination and social exclusion—issues which have been exacerbated in recent months by COVID-19.

"We are Black! In the USA and here in Panama, the same racial issues exist and we are not oblivious to them," says Andres Madrid, the 23-year-old co-founder and coach of Asociacion Deportiva Curundú (Curundú Sport Association or ADC).

ADC is a community-based organization that seeks to "achieve social integration and the strengthening of values, in boys, girls and youth through sports and workshops."

The group is also rallying in support of its community, in light of the economic impacts of COVID-19 and ongoing police violence and racism in the country.

Since the onset of the pandemic earlier this year, Madrid and ADC co-founder Cesar Santos, 24, have used mobile technology, such as WhatsApp, and virtual platforms to remain in communication with the group and to conduct practices with the more than 30 boys and girls, aged 10 to 17, who participate in the soccer program. The group has also leveraged its community connections to provide a much-needed supply of food to players and their families over the past several months.

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Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Activists Across Latin America Are Marching in Solidarity With 'Black Lives Matter' Protests in the US

From Panama, Colombia, Brazil, and El Salvador to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico, here's how Afro-Latino activists are uniting in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and in memory of George Floyd.

It was a powerful sight — the words "Black Lives Matter," inscribed above a large Black power fist, were projected against the side of Costa Rica's legislative assembly building Tuesday night.

It was one of many acts across Latin America over the past two weeks, not only in solidarity with Black lives in the U.S. but also with Black communities in their home countries, where Black people are also targets of state-sanctioned violence.

Hashtags in support—including #NoPodemosRespirar! #LasVidasNegrasImportan! #NoAlRacismo #SoyGeorgeFloyd (We Can't Breathe, Black Lives Matter, No to Racism, and I am George Floyd)—have been spreading through social media as Black Latin Americans have joined in marches and protests, virtual and in-person.

"The bullet that kills there is the same one that kills here," Brazilian group ColectivoJuntos posted on Instagram June 5, in a call for a global fight against racism.

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