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Social Inclusion & Development
Champion of Justice
Finding the courage to be herself

Will Francis be willing to extend his more liberal discourse on economics and the environment into contentious social issues like gay rights and abortion? The outcome of his trips to Bolivia and Ecuador, earlier this week, and a visit to Paraguay, now underway, may help answer those questions.


Artist and activist Bree Newsome became an internet sensation, this weekend, after she briefly took down the Confederate flag that stands on the grounds of South Carolina’s state capitol. Many viewed her act as an important statement about racial equality in the United States. But it was also a reminder of how Afro-descendant women are taking the lead advancing civil rights in the Americas as a whole.
 
Indeed, at the same time Newsome was scaling a flagpole in Columbia, Afro-descendant women from throughout the region were meeting in Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, to discuss their own plans for advancing social justice at the First Summit Meeting of Female Leaders of African Descent of the Americas (Primera Cumbre de Lideresas Afrodescendientes de las Américas).

This week’s likely news stories: Dominican Republic set to deport individuals of Haitian descent; Mexican high court paves way for full marriage equality;  U.S. and Venezuelan officials meet in Haiti, address strained relations; Nicaraguans protest Chinese-funded canal project; top ELN commander killed in Colombia

In an environment of international soccer scandal and domestic frustration, Chile will kick off its run as host of the Copa América today when it takes on Ecuador in the first match of the three-week tournament. Chilean President Michele Bachelet will help inaugurate the tournament Thursday as student protesters try to draw attention to the country’s education system.

Colombia's Ministers of Justice and the Interior will be on hand as the first individuals take advantage of new rules simplyifying the process for legally changing one's gender.

A joint report by ProPublica and NPR released Wednesday alleges that the Red Cross “repeatedly failed” in its efforts to provide adequate support to Haiti after the country’s 2010 earthquake.

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