Entertainment

This Team Of Synchronized Swimmers With Down Syndrome Were Denied Access To A Pool For Fear Of Contaminating Other Swimmers

Sirenas Especiales (Special Mermaids) is giving girls with Down Syndrome in Mexico a chance to show off their athletic abilities in synchronized swimming. The team and program were organized by Paloma Torres, a former synchronized swimmer from Peru, after she studied educational psychology. Her thesis was on the cognitive benefits of synchronized swimming. With that and a little patience, Sirenas Especiales was born.

Sirenas Especiales is tearing down the stigma and misinformation about people with Down Syndrome.

Credit: sirenasespeciales / Instagram

Coach Paloma Torres knew that people with Down Syndrome are often very creative and flexible. Those two characteristics are perfect for synchronized swimming so she knew that it would be a great idea to get a group of girls together.

However, Torres and Sirenas Especiales immediately faced pushback from local pools in Mexico City because of the girls’ Down Syndrome.

Credit: sirenasespeciales / Instagram

“I had to find a swimming pool where we could organize regular practices. At first, I couldn’t find anywhere. One pool even refused entry to my swimmers, saying that they might contaminate other swimmers! It was really disheartening at first — both for me and for the girls’ parents,” Torres told France24. “Finally, I found the Alberca Olímpica Francisco Márquez pool, which is located in southern Mexico City. I’ve been training the group there since 2011.”

The team overcame the initial mistreatment from local pools and have been competing in national and international competitions.

Credit: sirenasespeciales / Instagram

Their Instagram is filled with photos of the team holding medal from the various competitions they have participated in. They’ve competed all over Mexico and were recently at the PanAm games to cheer on Mexico’s national synchronizing team.

The team continues to grow with more girls and boys wanting to participate in synchronized swimming.

Credit: sirenasespeciales / Instagram

Torres currently trains about 20 swimmers between 14 and 30. There are three boys who are part of the team and 17 girls, according to France24. It seems clear that the swimmers enjoy their chance to show off their own athletic abilities.

The sport is doing more than just giving them something to do.

Este día tan especial Sirenas Especiales darán entrevista en Capital 21 Canal 21 en TV abierta, no se lo pierdan a las 10:35am en VIVO!!!!! FELIZ DÍA MUNDIAL DEL SINDROME DE DOWN Edith Perez Rocio Hernández Martínez Paloma Torres Montserrat Vega Triny Turcio Blanca Olivia Fontes Machado Araceli Vazquez Loredo Beatriz Mendoza Castañón China Li Lourdes Castellanos Daniel Perez Martinez

Posted by Sirenas Especiales on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

This sport helps participants improve their concentration and memory,” Torres told France24. “However, most importantly, this activity helps them integrate socially. They participate regularly in competitions both nationally and internationally, which sometimes include swimmers without disabilities. Our team has won about 50 medals. They become more social and their work is applauded. It’s also important for their families because some of them don’t think that these girls will make something of their lives.”

One thing Sirenas Especiales is doing to changing the narrative around disabilities one synchronized swim at a time.

Credit: Sirenas Especiales / Facebook

The swimmers are showing everyone that you can do anything you set your mind to. There is nothing that can keep them from participating in the sport that they love and enjoy.

Congratulations, swimmers.

We can’t wait to see what you do next.

READ: The Internet Was Having A Collective Sob Fest After A Video Of Young Disabled Man’s Reaction To Getting His First Job Goes Viral

Photographer Diego Huerta Took An Update Photo Of The Most Beautiful Girl In Mexico

Culture

Photographer Diego Huerta Took An Update Photo Of The Most Beautiful Girl In Mexico

diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Diego Huerta is a photographer who has used his talents and time to document indigenous communities to preserve the culture and history. One of Huerta’s most famous photos was one of a young girl that he called the most beautiful girl in Mexico. He recently shared a new photo of the girl as a woman.

Diego Huerta shared an updated photo of the most beautiful girl woman in Mexico.

Huerta first met the girl when he was traveling through Mexico years ago. The first photo, posted in 2016 but taken in 2011, highlighted the young woman that he dubbed the most beautiful girl in Mexico. The latest photo shows the girl grown up and still living in her same pueblo in 2017. She is still a stunning reminder of the beauty that exists in southern Mexico.

The woman lives in Chiapas, the last Mexican state before entering Central America by way of Guatemala. There are multiple indigenous communities in Chiapas. While Huerta does not mention the indigenous community the woman belongs to, the clothing appears to represent the Zoque people.

The woman is still creating wander and interest among Huerta’s fans.

Credit: diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Her quiet and still composure makes her seem like a Mexican Mona Lisa, tbh. Her stoic face in the photographs has captivated Huerta fans for years. The first photo of the young woman was seen around the world and her beauty was celebrated by everyone who saw the photo.

The young girl’s eyes are what drew in the love and praise from people around the world.

Huerta made it a point to call out the young girl’s eyes in the photo. It isn’t because of the color of her eyes. He was intrigued by her eyes because she is deaf and her eyes are one of the ways she is able to communicate with the world around her.

“In my journey through South Mexico, in a town located in the middle of the Chiapas’ mountains I found the most brilliant eyes that I have ever seen,” Huerta wrote in the original post. “The beauty of this girl was similar to the panoramic views I was able to appreciate every time I turned around. She´s deaf, the way to communicate with her was by signs. It is no mystery that the beauty of the true Mexican woman is way above all beauty contests.”

People are obsessing over her beauty that seems to improve with age.

Credit: diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Nine years makes a big difference in a young person’s development. It can be the difference between 11 and 20, which is a huge difference. Her silent beauty is proof that indigenous communities hold some of the most beautiful people in the world. There is no reason to praise and adhere to Euro-centric beauty standards.

The Instagram posted is filled with messages of appreciation celebrating the photo and the young woman we saw grow up.

Credit: diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Huerta currently has a documentary about the Tehuana people in Oaxaca. His photographs and film collection highlighting and exalting the indigenous community of Mexico is beautiful and necessary. He is collecting an important and vibrant part of human history by giving the first people to inhabit the land a chance to shine and show who Mexico truly is.

READ: Photographer Diego Huerta Is Giving Everyone A Look Into The Tehuana Culture In Oaxaca, Mexico

Amid Rising Domestic Violence, Mexico’s AMLO Says That 90% Of Women’s Calls For Help Are Fake

Things That Matter

Amid Rising Domestic Violence, Mexico’s AMLO Says That 90% Of Women’s Calls For Help Are Fake

Hector Vivas / Getty

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, AMLO, has faced serious criticism from around the world for his handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. His government has been accused of fumbling its response and not having a real, concrete plan to help the country of nearly 130 million people weather the storm.

However, before the pandemic arrived, AMLO was also in hot water for his handling of increased gender-based violence across the country – with femicides reaching record levels. So far, his response has been to brush the issue away as ‘fake news concocted by his opposition.

Now the two issues of femicide and the pandemic have collided as there’s also been an increase in domestic violence, as victims are forced to stay at home. But yet again, AMLO is denying these reports as fake news.

The Mexican President said that Coronavirus lockdowns won’t contribute to violence as much as in other countries because ‘Mexicans are different.’

At one of his daily press conferences meant to address the Coronavirus and a variety of other issues affecting the country, President AMLO made sure to preface his statement with a fairly long disclaimer of sorts. He urged the media not to misquote him or misreport what he said – but it was quite clear:

“I’m going to give you a piece of information that doesn’t mean that violence against women doesn’t exist,” AMLO said. “I don’t want you to misinterpret me because a lot of what I say is taken out of context: 90% of those calls … are false, it’s proven.”

Instead, the president maintained a more romantic view of life under quarantine in Mexico, where he said “there has always been harmonious cohabitation.”

“The Mexican family is different from families in Europe and the United States; Mexicans are used to living together, being together. … In the homes of Mexicans, the children are there, the daughters-in-law, the grandchildren, and there has always been harmonious cohabitation. In other places, where this tradition, this culture, doesn’t exist it might be that isolation causes aggravation, confrontation and violence,” he said.

President AMLO is literally denying several reports that contradict his hopeful narrative.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty

According to the Spotlight Initiative, a partnership between the United Nations and the European Union that is aiming to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030, Mexican women made more than 115,000 calls to the 911 emergency number in March to report violence, a 22% increase compared to February. The figure equates to an average of 155 calls per hour during the month.

But according to the president, 90% of these are fake.

After his own Interior Secretary estimated that violence against women had increased 60% during the coronavirus isolation period, the president said it wasn’t necessarily true.

Such violence “cannot be measured using the same parameters as the rest of the world. In Mexico we have a culture of solidarity within the family. The family in Mexico is exceptional, it’s the most fraternal human nucleus…”

For his part, AMLO did say that the Interior Ministry and the National Women’s Institute are taking action against the problem but sought to downplay its severity.

Denying violence against women has been a cornerstone of AMLO’s presidency.

Almost 1,000 women have been murdered in Mexico in the first three months of the year, in comparison to 890 murders last year. Nearly 250 of these murders are attributed to femicide, or the act of killing a woman because of her gender. Across the region, domestic abuse rates have drastically increased since countries began nationwide lockdowns. Nearly 20 million women and girls experience sexual and physical abuse each year in Latin America.

Endless stories on horrific murders – and daily indignities such as harassment, catcalls and being groped on public transit – have prompted a burgeoning women’s movement, whose members have protested online and in the streets and organized a national women’s strike on March 9th.

However, the president has cast himself as the victim of feminist activists and an opposition that is creating the issue solely to undermine his presidency.

Feminists continue denouncing femicides committed during the pandemic and demanding justice. Despite campus closures, students maintained a five-month-long occupation of the School of Philosophy and Letters at Mexico’s top public university, UNAM, and its affiliate high schools over authorities’ inaction in the face of widespread sexual harassment, assault, and even the deaths and disappearances of students.

Despite the López Obrador’s remarks, his supporters are still hopeful that his government can implement a feminist agenda.