This 17-year-old Aztec rapper is in the midst of releasing his debut album while suing the Trump administration — here’s why.
Posted by NBC Latino on Thursday, September 21, 2017
He is fighting his generation’s fight to protect the environment.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a 17-year-old rapper and environmental activist who is the leader of Earth Guardians, a group of young people fighting for legislation to protect the environment against the Trump administration’s agenda. He and 20 other young activists have filed a lawsuit against the United States government, claiming that the administration is not doing enough to protect them from the impacts of climate change. He is also dropping his rap debut, an album that stresses the importance of standing up for what you believe in and what you want to protect. In Martinez’ case, that is the environment.
“We’re using the stories, which is the passion, which is the emotion that gets people to move, Martinez told NBC Latino. “Then there’s the science behind it as well, working with top climate scientists to build a comprehensive climate recovery plan. That’s what we’re demanding from the government.”
Martinez understands that everyone can’t completely pause their lives to fight for the things they are passionate about. What Martinez suggests, according to the NBC Latino video, is for people to use professions to bring attention to causes they care about.
You can learn more about Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Earth Guardians by tapping here.
Two of Latin America’s most important ingredients – staples of cuisines across the region – are in danger of possible extinction thanks to climate change. Tomatoes and chilies both make up a huge part of traditional recipes from Mexico to Brazil and Argentina to Cuba – and they’re close to disappearing from grocery stores everywhere.
We know that tomato and chili are two fundamental ingredients in Mexican cuisine. Due to the threats suffered by its main pollinator, the bumblebee, these basic ingredients could disappear forever.
Climate change is wreaking havoc on the planet. But one of the most at-risk species is the humble bumble bee. These often feared insects are a vital source of pollination for thousands of plant and flower species around the world – if they disappear so too do the species of plants that depend on them.
Pollinators are species of great importance for a healthy environment. They are responsible for the the diversity and health of various biomes. Across Latin America, the bumble bee is largely responsible for the pollination of modern agriculture and this could have a major impact on the production of tomatoes and chilis.
Unfortunately, bumblebees are currently threatened, resulting in the possible extinction of different vegetables, including tomatoes and chili.
But why does the tiny bumble bee matter at all?
The bumble bee belongs to the insect family Apidae, which includes hundeds of different species of bumblebees. In fact, the bumble bee can be found on every continent except Antarctica and plays an outsized role in agriculture. The insects are often larger than honey bees, come in black and white varieties and often feature white, yellow, or orange stripes. This genus belongs to the Apidae family that includes different species commonly known as bumblebees. They’re almost entirely covered by very silky hairs. An adult bumblebee reaches 20 millimeters or more and feeds primarily on nectar from flowering plants. A curious fact is that females have the ability to sting, while males do not.
Bumblebees are epic pollinators of the tomato and chili plantS. Together with different species, the bumblebee helps produce many staple foods that are part of healthy diets around the world. If these become extinct the eating habits of all Latinos would suffer drastic changes as several vegetables would disappear.
So why are bumblebees in danger?
The main threat of these insects is the pesticides used in modern agriculture. That is why it is necessary to avoid consuming food produced in this way. We can all help the bumblebee planting plants, protecting native species and especially not damaging their natural environment.
But climate change is also wreaking havoc on the breeding patters of bumblebees – leading to colony collapse. With fewer colonies there is less breeding and therefore fewer bees around the world to pollinate our global crops.
Can you imagine a world without tomatoes or chilies?
Salsa. Moles. Pico de gallo. Ketchup. Chiles rellenos. Picadillo. All of these iconic Latin American dishes would be in danger of going extinct along with the bumblebee – because what’s a mole without the rich, complex flavors of dried chilies?
Several groups are already working hard to help fund programs that would work to conserve the dwindling bumblebee populations. While others are working out solutions that could perhaps allow tomatoes and chilies to self-pollinate – much as other plants already do.
A group of high school cheerleaders rallied against the violence that indigenous women are subject to everyday in the US. They did so without express permission from their high school. But for these students, honoring missing and murdered indigenous women, was more important.
Daunette Reyome and her cheerleading squad walked onto the basketball court with red handprints painted over their faces and signs showing Daunnette’s late aunt, Ashlea Aldrich.
The team wanted to call attention to the many missing and murdered indigenous women whose cases are never solved. The red hands painted over their mouths, Daunette said, represented the people who seek to silence them.
The cheerleaders held this memorial even after the school refused to give them permission.
“[During] half time, we grabbed pictures of [Aldrich] and stood on opposite sides of the gym and formed an ‘A’ in the middle. We had a moment of silence and showed pictures of her off to our fans,” Daunnette told Teen Vogue. “We presented those pictures to her parents, and myself and my teammates gifted them a blanket and a beaded necklace and beaded earrings.”
Daunnette, who is part of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska told MTV, “My aunt means more to me than a cheer uniform and pom-poms ever will.”
She told MTV News she spoke with school authorities a week prior to the basketball game against Wynot Public School; she said that while they were supportive at first, school officials later changed their minds. “That upset me, but it wasn’t going to stop me,” she said, adding that she and her co-captain “decided we wouldn’t allow anyone to be the hand that silences us, no matter the consequences. You’re going to listen to our message.”
In photos Daunnette posted to Instagram, her cheer squad can be seen standing on the sidelines of the basketball court, red handprints across their mouths.
At one point, they took to the center of the court to display their posters of Daunnette’s aunt Ashlea Aldrich and her sons.
A graduate of Omaha Nation Public School in Macy, Nebraska, the 29-year-old earned a certification in cosmetology and devoted most of her time to her two sons.
“She was a laid-back person, always giving, and so forgiving,” her mother, Tillie Aldrich remembered. Yet while Aldrich had her family’s support in raising her boys, her mother also recalled a pattern of domestic violence —and that Ashlea felt like she had no support from law enforcement when trying to protect herself.
Ashlea was among the 84 percent of Indigenous women who have been subjected to violence in their lifetimes. “I wrote a letter to the Omaha Tribal Council in 2017 because I was just fed up,” Tillie said. “And in that letter I said my daughter’s going to end up getting hurt and possibly be killed. And that’s exactly what happened.”
Tillie Aldrich, told Teen Vogue that her daughter’s body was found by a creek in the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska, where the family lives.
Her death is still under investigation according to the family, but Tillie Aldrich said she was told police treated the initial scene as a homicide. Omaha Nation Law Enforcement would not comment on any details, nor confirm or deny any investigation.
Daunnette’s memorial was the first one Tillie Aldrich attended, and she said she was touched by the outpouring of love and support.
Tillie hopes that Daunnette’s demonstration not only calls attention to her daughter’s death, but to the many indigenous women who go missing or are murdered.”I live on a reservation, it’s word of mouth. We can report [someone missing or dead] to the authorities,” Tillie Aldrich said. “If we have a non-Native [person] missing in a city 25 miles north of us, it’s all over the news, the newspapers, posters going up. If we have someone missing, one of our Native missing, they try to keep it quiet.”
Native American women are being murdered and sexually assaulted on reservations and nearby towns at higher rates than other American women.
In some U.S. counties composed primarily of Native American lands, murder rates of Native American women are up to 10 times higher than the national average for all races, according to a study for the U.S. Department of Justice by sociologists at the University of Delaware and University of North Carolina, Wilmington.
“The numbers are likely much higher because cases are often under-reported and data isn’t officially collected,”
The U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, has introduced legislation to improve how law enforcement keeps track of missing and murdered indigenous women. “(Murder and sexual assault) is a real fear amongst Native American women,” said Lisa Brunner, co-director of Indigenous Women’s Human Rights Collective and professor and cultural coordinator at White Earth Tribal and Community College in Mahnomen, Minnesota.
That’s what Daunnette said she hopes her cheerleading team called attention to.
“I want people to know it’s more than just a red handprint over your face,” Daunnette said. “It’s an actual problem in our community. Our women go missing every day, and a lot go with their cases unsolved and unfound. It is a big problem in Indian Country. It is something I feel like needs to be talked about.”
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