Costa Rica’s Kendall Waston raises his voice against racism

Kendall Waston is speaking out and working to create support for Black and Latinx athletes and communities.

The soccer star, who plays for the MLS team FC Cincinnati, is a part of Black Players for Change, a group of approximately 77 MLS players who have come together to tackle racial injustice. In a video made by MLS Español about the effort, Waston talked about the double racism he faces in the United States as an Afro-Costa Rican, as well as racism back home.

“Here in the United States – especially, obviously – I am marked by of my skin color and because I speak Spanish,” he said in a video for MLS Español. “I’m treated differently… Many players… don’t feel the freedom to go [for help]. Now with this organization, all know… that their voice and opinion can be heard and respected.

“Many people won’t identify with what a Black person or a Latino experiences because they don’t walk in our shoes,” he said. “In my country there is racism. It might not be of the same dimension as in the United States, but it does exist. What doesn’t exist [in Costa Rica] is mistreatment of people of color by authorities.”

If you speak Spanish, please watch the whole video. Congratulations, Kendall. May this platform continue to grow for you.

All hail Stephanie!

Here’s some good news to start your week: Stephanie Blanco of Amubri, Talamanca, in southeastern Costa Rica, has been signed by a European football club. This milestone makes Stephanie the first indigenous woman from Costa Rica to play professional soccer internationally.

This. Is. HUGE.

The defender is a star of the reigning women’s champions in Costa Rica, la Liga Alajualense, and previously made history as the first indigenous woman to play on Costa Rica’s National Team. She’ll now be playing for Deportivo La Coruña.

Thank you, Stephanie, for reminding us that life goes on, and for giving Costa Ricans, women, and beautiful Talamanca a reason to cheer right now!

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or FacebookIf you want to learn more about how to support Costa Rica during the crisis, visit my COVID-19 section, updated regularly – or for ways to enjoy Costa Rica from afar, visit Virtual Costa Rica.

The Fearless Ones (futbolísticamente hablando)

ImageOur neighborhood is usually quiet on Sunday morning, but this past Sunday it was as solemn and still as a church. As I trotted down the hill to start my run, I could hear the hushed voices of the altar guild, the barmen of Garros Bar, who behind their barricaded doors were cleaning glasses and righting overturned bottles after an insanely prosperous evening. I huffed and puffed up the hill beyond, past houses of Ticos dreaming of Jesus Christ – the Cristo de Río de Janeiro, that is, to whose photo someone added a Costa Rican soccer jersey in an image circulated widely on Facebook the night before. As I settled into the rest of my usual route, I realized that on this Father’s Day, men all over the country were waking up, looking skywards, clasping their hands in prayer, and thanking God for the best gift they could possibly have imagined. Continue reading The Fearless Ones (futbolísticamente hablando)