Aretha Duarte Becomes First Black Latin American Woman to Climb Mount Everest & Global News

by Debra Brown

Aretha Duarte

Each Wednesday, All the Pretty Birds recaps the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news. This week we’ve included coverage of Aretha Duarte making history becoming the first Black Latin American woman to climb Mount Everest, along with updates about police brutality in the U.S. and the Biden administration’s statement discouraging asylum seekers at the southern border.


Aretha Duarte Becomes First Black Latin American Woman to Climb Mount Everest

Aretha Duarte, a Brazilian, is the first Black Latin American woman to climb Mount Everest. Duarte completed her journey up the world’s highest Mountain on May 23.

Duarte documented her climb through her Instagram and said the mountain challenged her physically and mentally. In an Instagram post, Duarte said she developed a pulmonary edema, which can be caused by high elevation or exposure to toxins. 

Duarte said she trained for 12½ months before embarking on her trip along with several team members. She praised her team for their support, high performance and guidance on the trip.


Police Brutality in America

Report Documents 32,542 Police Killings in U.S. Since 2000 with Vast Undercount of POC

A major new report on police killings suggests far more people of color have died in police custody than previously known. The report by the Raza Database Project and UnidosUS found that deaths of Latinos, Asian and Indigenous peoples have been historically undercounted. The numbers likely still undercount Latinos and Asians and Pacific Islanders because a significant number have non-ethnic surnames because of relatively high intermarriage rates.

According to the research by the Raza Database Project, which is a network of some 50 researchers, scholars, journalists, activists and family members of victims killed by police, 32,542 people were killed while in police custody since 2000, with Blacks and Latinos making up 20 percent and 17 percent of those killed, respectively.

Researchers documented the deaths of 32,542 people who have been killed by police since 2000, 60% of whom constitute people of color, who make up just 40% of the U.S. population. White people, who make up more than 60 percent of the population, accounted for less than 40 percent of all police custody deaths.

The Raza Database Project research includes not only those shot by police—at 23,664, the majority of deaths, by far—but also those who died from various other incidents, including 6,200 from a vehicle, 576 from an undefined “medical emergency,” 325 from “physical restraint” (as George Floyd was subjected to), 194 from beatings and 40 from pepper spray.

Police Brutality

Advocates Speak Out Against VP Kamala Harris Anti-asylum Statement

During her first foreign trip as vice president, Kamala Harris said the United States would bolster investigations into corruption and human trafficking in Guatemala, while also delivering a clear, blunt message to undocumented migrants hoping to reach the United States: “Do not come.”

While President Biden campaigned on unwinding some of the Trump administration’s border restrictions, allowing migrants to apply for asylum at the U.S. border, Ms. Harris amplified the White House’s current stance that most of those who crossed the border would be turned away and would instead need to find legal pathways or protection closer to their home countries.

The progressive New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has criticized Vice-President Kamala Harris for saying undocumented migrants from Guatemala should not come to the US.

“First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival,” said the congresswoman, an influential voice on the Democratic left since her upset win in a 2018 primary and widely known as AOC.

“Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America. We can’t help set someone’s house on fire and then blame them for fleeing.”

The Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, a non-profit that works with asylum seekers, tweeted: “Kamala Harris, seeking asylum is legal. Turning back asylum seekers is illegal, dangerous, & oftentimes sends them back to their deaths. Seeking asylum is a right under US and international law.”


Nigerians Launch Legal Action Against Government’s Twitter Ban

Dozens of Nigerians and a local rights group have filed a lawsuit at a regional court seeking to lift the government’s ban on Twitter, describing the decision to suspend the hugely popular social media platform’s operations as an attempt to silence criticism of the government.

Authorities announced the ban, two days after Twitter removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional secessionists.

The government’s move prompted an immediate backlash among social media users and human rights activists, with #NigeriaTwitterBan and #KeepitOn trending on the platform as Nigerians used virtual private networks to access the site. The government has said those who continued to use Twitter would be prosecuted.

Nigeria joined countries such as China, North Korea and Iran in issuing a ban on Twitter, while Uganda, Turkey and Egypt have suspended the app during elections or political unrest.


Simone Biles Wins Her Seventh U.S. Gymnastics Title Ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Simone Biles won her seventh all-around U.S. Gymnastics Championships title with an overall score of 119.950, which gives her the most wins at the event by any woman in American history.

Biles surpassed Clara Schroth Lomady’s previous record of six titles with her win. She’s now tied with Alfred Jochim for the most by any American, man or woman, and has won every title but once since she first entered back in 2013.

With the U.S. Championships now behind her, Biles and her teammates will now prepare for the Olympic Trials later this month.


Manchin Meets with Civil Rights Leaders After Rejecting Democratic Voting Bill

Senator Joe Manchin met with leaders of several civil rights organizations, two days after the moderate Democrat from West Virginia announced he would not support an expansive but controversial voting rights and elections reform bill. 

HR 1, The For The People Act, would require states to expand voter registration as well as voting initiatives and would implement reforms to federal campaign finance and ethics laws. 

In 2019, Manchin cosponsored HR 1, the For the People Act, but now opposes it because there aren’t any Republican votes for it. Manchin also opposes ending the filibuster, which if he supported the bill, would give Democrats a slim majority to pass the voting rights legislation without the threat of the GOP blocking it. The bill scraped by the House in March, with zero votes from Republicans.

Participants in the virtual meeting included NAACP President Derrick Johnson, National Urban League President Marc Morial, and Reverend Al Sharpton; as well as representatives from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Council of Negro Women and National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

The civil rights leaders who met with Manchin said that they urged the senator to support the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 knocked down by the Supreme Court.

Manchin will also continue to face pressure from voting rights activists. The voting rights group Fair Fight Action, headed by activist and former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, announced a month-long campaign to help mobilize young voters of color around the For the People Act. Reverend William Barber II, who leads the Poor People’s Campaign, tweeted on Monday that his organization would lead a “Moral March on Manchin” in West Virginia in support of the bill.

Legislators in 48 states have introduced more than 380 bills that would restrict voting rights, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Changes to voting procedures in several states, including Georgia, Arizona and Florida, have already been signed into law, while a bill overhauling elections in Texas has been temporarily stalled.


(Leading Image via Aretha Duarte; Second Image via La Semana)

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