This Former Housekeeper Just Become the First Black Vice President of Colombia

Francia Marquez

History has been made in the South American country of Colombia as 40-year-old Francia Márquez has been elected as the nation's first-ever Black vice president. She was elected into office on June 19, 2022. She is well-known as a lawyer and a long-time Afro-Colombian activist that has spent decades fighting for human and environmental rights.

Márquez began her fight for human rights when she was just 13 years old to protest the construction of a dam that threatened her community, but officially in 2010 when she became President of the Association of Female African Descendants of Yolombó (la Asociación de Mujeres Afrodescendientes de Yolombó). She served in this position until 2013.

Throughout the years, she has continued her work and, in 2018, was even awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, a prestigious recognition in environmentalism, in San Francisco, California. In 2019, she was named one of the most influential women in the world by BBC, the UK's most popular news network. In 2020, she earned her law degree from the University of Santiago in Cali (la Universidad Santiago de Cali).

Her victory as a Vice President of Colombia, the third-largest country in South America, is historical because she is only the second woman of African descent to hold this position in a Latin country. The first was Epsy Campbell Barr who became Costa Rica's first female vice president of African descent in 2018.

Colombia reportedly has the third largest black population outside of Africa and the second largest in Latin America, after Brazil.