The new Americas Quarterly features 24 Heroes of Social Inclusion as part of a special photo and essay series on champions of the struggle for racial, gender, economic, and political progress.
To help choose our heroes, AQ asked readers for their suggestions. We received many great ideas from across the hemisphere, and while we couldn’t feature them all, the new AQ highlights three heroes directly proposed by our readers. Each of these respondents wins a complimentary one-year digital subscription.
Our reader suggested heroes include: Santiago Levy, the Mexican economist, former deputy minister of finance and current vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank; María Elena Moyano, the late Peruvian women’s rights advocate; and David Razú, the Mexican assemblyman and same-sex marriage proponent. We thank Charles Shapiro (Levy), Andrés Bermúdez-Liévano (Moyano) and Enrique TorreMolina (Razú) for these excellent suggestions.
Here’s a little more about each of these AQ readers:
Charles Shapiro is a retired U.S. diplomat and president of the Institute of the Americas, a San Diego-based public policy think tank. He recently authored an AQ Web Exclusive titled “The Summit of the Americas: Why It Matters.” Ambassador Shapiro selected Dr. Levy because “as Mexico’s deputy minister of finance, Levy designed Mexico’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program Progresa. Now called Oportunidades, the program has been expanded across almost all of Mexico and helped the poorest quintile of Mexicans weather the 2007-2009 economic recession. Key to Progresa’s success was Levy’s insistence that all data be made available to internal and external researchers.”
Levy’s book, Progress Against Poverty: Sustaining Mexico’s Progresa-Oportunidades Program, is referred to by Shapiro as “the owner’s manual for any CCT program.” He adds: “Not satisfied with resting on his laurels, Levy is busy investigating the limits of CCTs and working on other programs to increase financial and economic inclusion.”
Ambassador Shapiro can be found on Twitter: @ioa_shapiro.
Andrés Bermúdez-Liévano is editor-in-chief of China Files, a Beijing-based editorial agency that writes reports and articles about China for Latin American and Italian media. He first learned about Moyano while traveling through Peru five years ago and stumbling on a photography exhibition called Yuyanapaq that featured collages on the country’s turbulent past.
Bermúdez-Liévano reflects: “Several of the photos told Moyano’s story—from her community work and her leadership to her tragic death—and her tale immediately captivated me. I think she truly embodies what a social inclusion hero is.”
Andrés can be found on Twitter: @bermudezlievano.
Enrique TorreMolina is a freelance journalist and activist based in Mexico City and also the news and opinion editor at Ohm, a Mexican publication covering lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues in Mexico and the world.
TorreMolina chose Dep. Razú because he “is a great example of the importance of having straight allies in the LGBT movement. By playing a key role in legalizing same-sex marriage in Mexico City, he has shown that being gay is not imperative nor sufficient to work for the respect and celebration of sexual diversity.”
Enrique can be found on Twitter: @eTorreMolina.