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.