“This is our time, and this is our movement. And we’re doing it our way.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Hard to believe for those who have watched him grow up, but Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is now old enough to vote.
Many in Boulder witnessed Martinez and his brother Itzcuatli testify before Boulder City Council in 2011 to demand an end to pesticides on city parks where they play. Council agreed, and banned the use of poisons in public places. The two haven’t since stepped away from activism to clean the planet.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez was introduced at the Washington, DC youth Zero Hour climate rally and march as a “rapper, an activist, a teenage heartthrob.” His message and his music has taken him across the planet that he fights to protect.
On Thursday, he, Boulder’s Earth Guardians, and youth from other states confronted their legislators.
Senators were asked to sign an agreement to reject campaign funds from fossil fuel companies in the future. The agreement included a request to support a “just transition to renewable energy as Earth Guardians’ National Program Director Kelli Burns explained, “Which includes everything from making renewable technology available to all spectrums, to giving healthcare to those marginalized communities that have been affected the most by extractive industries.”
The experience was basically a positive one, as described by the younger Martinez, Itzcuatli, “Most of [the representatives] were pretty accepting, but they also couldn’t really talk about anything with us. They said that they were assistants, and the assistants couldn’t really say a lot of information. But overall the reactions seemed pretty good,”
Burns agreed that the few minutes the youth group had with representatives as a “generally good reception,” however the group received mixed messages from US Senator from Colorado Michael Bennett who was a supporter of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
“So there’s definitely been some contradictory statements from the Senators and from their assistants,” Burns explained, “I asked him if he was in support of fracking and he didn’t actually answer that question.”
But the older Martinez insisted that the work doesn’t depend on politicians for results, “Where the political leaders in office fail to recognize the responsibility to defend our land and protect our people, they are at fault for a lot of the crises we see in the world. Well we must recognize that the world is not in the hands of the politicians. It is in the hands of the people. The power of the people is more powerful than the people in power. And we will not allow these next four years, we will not allow these next four generations to be defined by those in office.”