SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and more than 20 others from the nation’s capital traveled to the Salvadoran capital from Aug. 11-14. Ruby Corado, a transgender woman and LGBT activist who lives in Washington was among those who witnessed Bowser sign agreements with her San Salvador counterpart.
The trip’s main objective was to meet with San Salvador Mayor Ernesto Muyshondt to sign a sister city agreement between the two cities that includes cooperation in investment, culture and sports. Bowser on Monday afternoon signed the agreement with her Salvadoran counterpart to promote economic and youth development, public security, sustainability, culture, education and government cooperation between both cities.
“Salvadorans have played an important role in the construction of a diverse, inclusive and prosperous Washington, D.C., in which we live today,” said Bowser. “With thousands and thousands of Salvadorans living in the D.C. region who continue to make tremendous contributions not only in our local economy, but in the culture of our city, I am proud that San Salvador will be the first city into which I am entering an agreement as mayor and I will work very hard to ensure that we can build safer and stronger communities together.”
Bowser arrived on Saturday, but she had to return to the U.S. capital on Sunday to oversee the city’s response to the “Unite the Right” white supremacist march. She returned to El Salvador on Monday without any disruptions to the agenda.
Bowser was the guest of honor on Monday at the signing of an agreement between Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School Executive Director and CEO Allison R. Kokkoros and Elsy Escolar, rector of ITCA-FEPADE de El Salvador, a school that specializes in engineering.
“I want to congratulate Mayor Bowser and her team for demonstrating Washington, D.C., values through the sisterhood between both cities,” said Kokkoros.
Bowser in her comments said, “I am pleased to be a witness to such an important signing of the memorandum of understanding between two great institutions, both from Washington, D.C., and from El Salvador.”
The mayor also said that her administration is doing everything it can to help migrants in the city — in which there is a large percentage of Salvadorans — be able to succeed.
She added “these agreements will benefit both entities, create opportunities for educational and cultural exchanges, both for students and for teachers.”
Corado, who had to leave the country during El Salvador’s civil war and seek asylum, is among them.
“I am a war refugee. Washington, D.C., was the home that extended its hand and showed me a family,” she told the Washington Blade. “I owe a debt to this city and over the years I have worked and I’ll continue doing it to make sure that not only the Salvadoran LGBTI community has a better quality of live, but my entire country, with a clear emphasis on my LGBTI community.”
“I realize that here in El Salvador there is a large LGBTI community that comes from wealthy, political families and from all social strata in general, but they do nothing to raise their voice,” added Corado between smiles. “I am participating in the delegation that accompanied Mayor Bowser. I am making clear that as part of the agreements that are being signed, the LGBTI community, which is part of historically excluded populations, should not be left out.”
Corado said that Casa Ruby, an organization that has been in the U.S. capital for years, is giving support to the LGBTI migrant community, and will continue supporting any person who has been affected by President Trump’s anti-migrant policies. She told the Blade that Casa Ruby is doing its best to provide a place for them to go in D.C. or provide them with a place to go in their countries of origin if they are deported.