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Women In Costa Rica Are Supporting The LGBTQ Community After A Presidential Candidate Ran His Campaign On An Anti-Gay Platform

Earlier this week, the people of Costa Rica stepped out to the polls to cast their ballots in the country’s presidential election. Amid the lines of voters, eight women dressed in white bonnets and crimson robes were also waiting.

The women wore costumes that harked back to garbs worn by the female characters of Margaret Atwood’s famous book “The Handmaid’s Tale.” As seen in similar gestures across the globe, the women wore the costumes to protest against political policies and politicians that threaten women.

Costa Rican women demonstrated against policies proposed by the country’s presidential front-runner.

Fabricio Alvarado, a former television journalist-turned-Evangelical Christian singer, ran on a platform that made homophobia the magnet of his campaign. The right wing politician pushed forward to lead the race after fiercely and openly rejecting a ruling made by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that called on Costa Rica to grant same-sex couples civil marriage rights.

The eight women at the polls on Sunday rebuked his platform and wore their costumes to support the LGBTQ community and advocate for the rights of women.

A letter signed by the protestors outlined the reason behind their demonstration and costumes.

In a letter published by The Tico Times, the eight women — Gabriela Clarke, Ana María Rodríguez, Angélica León, Alicia Coto, Yorleny Araya, Karla Piedra, Paola Rogue and Sara Mata — called for the continued push for equality for all.

“Today we celebrate, and we decided to make it a costume party as well. Why? Because we want to and we can. Because protest is also a form of celebration. That’s how lucky we still are. We can pretend to be part of a renowned work of fiction, in the face of a fundamentalist threat that is anything but fictitious… We vote for our rights. We vote for our safety. We vote for our freedom. Today we use our voices – because we still count on them and don’t plan on letting go.”

The women cast their votes at a center in Heredia, just outside of San Jose.

Even Margaret Atwood was moved by the women and their effort to highlight the global issue.

A New York Times report published on Tuesday revealed that while Alvardo won the first round of presidential votes against his opponent Carols Alvarado Quesada, the two will square off again in the country’s April 1 runoff.

Read: Women Of The Internet Are Calling Out The Sexism Of Lady Doritos

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Why Thousands Of Los Angeles Teachers Are On Strike

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Why Thousands Of Los Angeles Teachers Are On Strike

Since Monday, more than 30,000 Los Angeles educators left their classrooms to go on strike for the first walkout of 2019.

The teachers are demanding a 6.5 percent raise and calling for more funding for public schools, noting that staff is extremely low, with some schools lacking even one nurse or librarian, classes are too large and there aren’t enough desks for students and that the growth of charter schools has created an over-tested student body that views education as more of a business than a right to U.S. youth.

The strike, Los Angeles teachers’ first in 30 years, follows months of unproductive negotiations between the teacher’s union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

On Friday, the school system extended a deal, but teachers rejected it, expressing that they’re fighting for the future of the education system.

Organizers are on Day 3 of the strike, and Los Angeles schools Supt. Austin Beutner laments the demonstration is costing the state millions. On the first day, only a third of the district’s students showed up for class, with that number growing, slightly, in the days that followed. So far, it has cost the school system about $25 million in state funding tied to enrollment, he told the Los Angeles Times. Deducting unpaid wages for the strikers at about $10 million, he continued, and that comes to an estimated one-day net loss of nearly $15 million.

But Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA, said Tuesday that members are “prepared to go as long as it takes” to get a fair contract.

“This has been already an historic week for educators and for public education in Los Angeles,” Caputo-Pearl told the paper.

Tens of thousands of LA teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians were inspired by teacher walkouts throughout the nation, from Arizona and West Virginia to Kentucky and Oklahoma, many of them ending in victories. A triumph for Los Angeles educators would mean an agreement and resources to move toward smaller classrooms, reductions in standardized tests, increased support staff and higher salaries.

“We need to invest in public education,” Jennifer Heath, a drama teacher at Burroughs Middle School, said during Tuesday’s strike. She held a sign that read “FUND THE FUTURE” in red block letters.

Despite rainy weather, educators remain on the picket line, demanding change they believe is necessary for the success of future generations.

“Teachers are dedicated. Teachers become teachers because they want to affect the future and make a difference in human beings’ lives, and we’re passionate about that,” she said. “That’s why we stand in the rain. We’re used to horrible conditions and we can handle more, but we shouldn’t have to,” Hollywood High history teacher Kelly Bender said.

Read: Austin Council Member Delia Garza Just Became The City’s First-Ever Latina Mayor Pro Tem

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When Emma Gonzalez Leads The March For Our Lives, She’ll Be Following In The Footsteps Of These Latina Civil Rights Leaders

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When Emma Gonzalez Leads The March For Our Lives, She’ll Be Following In The Footsteps Of These Latina Civil Rights Leaders

As you gear up and rally to march for our lives this weekend, you might be completely in awe of the power and effect of Emma Gonzalez. The high school student from Parkland, Fl has, along with the great efforts of her peers, rallied cities and communities across the globe to fight back against the NRA and the inaction of political leaders who have long held the power to put an end to gun violence. For many of us, it’s exciting to see a Latina show the world that once again we are forces to be reckoned with. But long before Gonzalez called B.S. and became the face of a growing national movement, other Latina activists had a huge hand in changing the course of our history.

Here’s a look at seven of some of history’s most powerful Latina activists who led marches and fought for your civil rights.

Sylvia Mendez

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When it comes to the desegregation of schools in the country, American history often credits the case of Brown v. Board of Education for the changes. Barbara Rose Johns is also the one who is most typically considered to be the face of that movement after she led a 450-student walkout at a high school in Virginia in 1951.

But history has largely written out the work of Sylvia Mendez an American civil rights activists of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent who played a key role in the integration movement back in 1946.

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Mendez v. Westminster was a case sparked by Mendez’s rejection from an all-white school in California back in 1943 when she was just eight years old. Mendez’s parents sued the school district and the landmark case which was ultimately settled in 1947 successfully desegregated public schools  in California making it the first U.S. state to do so.

Dolores Huerta

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As a fierce civil rights activist and labor leader, Dolores Huerta became a tireless advocate of the United Farm Workers union. The American-born Latina of Mexican descent originally started out her career as an elementary school teacher. After seeing kids in her class come to school hungry and in need of new shoes, she decided she would help organize their parents.

She started to fight for economic improvements for Latino farm workers and pressed local government organizations to improve barrio conditions.

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In 1962, she co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (now known as the United Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee) with César Chávez. Her non-violent strikes and protests led to her 22 arrests. In 1997 she was named one of the three most important women of the year in by Ms. magazine.

Carmen Perez

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In 2017, Perez helped lead the country in its largest protest in U.S. history as a co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington.

In her 20 year career as an activist, Perez has dedicated her advocacy to some of today’s most important civil rights issues including violence against women, mass incarceration, gender inequality and community policing.

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Before the Women’s March she helped launch a 9-day 250-mile march from New York City to Washington, DC called March2Justice which implored congressional lawmakers to turn their attention to the nation’s police justice crisis.

Berta Cáceres

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Best known for leading a campaign that opposed a dam on the Gualcarque River, Cáceres was an award-winning Indigenous environmental activist. In 2015, the Honduran environmentalist received the Goldman Environmental Prize for helming the grassroots effort that pushed the world’s largest dam builder to stop the construction of the Agua Zarca Dam at the Río Gualcarque.

Because of her efforts the river that was saved and considered to be sacred by the Lenca people, was still able to provide the nearby tribe access to water, food, and medicine.

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On March 3, 2016, Berta Cáceres was assassinated for her activism when two assailants broke into her home and shot her. Her murder sparked international outrage and brought attention to the fact that Honduras is the most dangerous country in the world for activists who fight to protect forests and rivers.

The Mirabal Sisters

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Patria, Dedé, Minerva, and María Teresa Mirabal were four sisters from the Dominican Republic who ferociously opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo and became known as Las Mariposas. In 1959, after witnessing a = massacre executed by the Trujillo regime the sisters were sparked into activism and rallied communities into public protests that renounced Trujillo’s rule.

Three of the sisters, Minerva, María Teresa, and Patria, were murdered for their advocacy when they were beaten to death by associates of the government.

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Following the death of Las Mariposas, Dominicans across the island decided they had had enough. Six months later, Trujillo’s dictatorship was brought down when he was assassinated.

Sylvia Rivera 

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Well before activists like Harvey Milk and figures like Caitlyn Jenner made waves, there was Sylvia Rivera. The Latina born and raised in New York City had Puerto Rican and Venezuelan roots and a tragic story when she first began to carve out a place for trans people in the American gay liberation movement. 

Rivera was a self-identified drag queen and transwoman who participated in the Stonewall riots of 1969 and soon after founded Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with Marsha P. Johnson.

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In 1970 she led trans activists in the country’s first Gay Pride march, then known as Christopher Street Liberation Day March and in the years after she delivered fervent speeches that called for the support of LGBTQ people of color and who were homeless.


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