Epsy Campbell Barr has just been elected as vice president of Costa Rica, making her the country’s first Afo-Latina VP, reports Jezebel. She is also the first Black woman to hold this position in the Americas.
She won the election by a landslide alongside President-elect Carlos Alvarado Quesada. They are both members of the Citizen’s Action Party and ran their campaign with the goal of creating unity, infrastructure and reducing inequality.
Before the election, Campbell Barr told a local news outlet that it will 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.”
She reportedly took a grassroots approach to her campaign by traveling in an RV around the country to get her message and beliefs out to voters.
In the past, Campbell Barr has served as a leader for several organizations including 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. She has been very outspoken about racism and sexism in Costa Rica and made closing the gender pay gap one of her major campaign points.
Her election follows in the footsteps of other prominent women including Thelma Curling, who served as the first Afro-Costa Rican legislator from 1982-1986, Victoria Garron, who served as the first female vice president from 1986-1990 and Laura Chinchilla, who served as the first female president from 2010-2014.