Costa Rica just made history. On Sunday, the Central American country elected Afro-Latina Epsy Campbell Barr vice president, making her the first Black woman to ever hold the position in all of Latin America.
“Thank you very much, Costa Rica,” Campbell, a left-leaning politician and economist, wrote on Twitter following her momentous win.
Campbell, who triumphed alongside running-mate Carlos Alvarado Quesada, campaigned on a platform of “unity, infrastructure and reducing inequality,” Jezebel reports.
While her name may be new to many, she’s no novice to politics or leadership. Campbell, 54, co-founded Costa Rica’s Citizen’s Action Party, which Quesada is also a member of; served in the legislature from 2002 to 2006 and was formerly 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.
A fierce feminist, she often speaks out about sexism and racism, and during her run for VP, she also discussed the need to reduce the gender pay gap in Costa Rica.
— Epsy Campbell (@epsycampbell) February 2, 2018
But she intends on being a leader for all, telling CRHoy, “it will be a 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.”
In her interview with the outlet ahead of the election, Campbell also noted the moment’s significance.
“It would not be the first only in Costa Rica, but in Latin America. And eventually, if the president leaves the country, [I would be] the first woman of African descent to assume the presidency in the entire American continent. It’s a big responsibility,” she said.