Changemakerss comes to Aspen High School


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On Friday April 13th, a Colorado youth environmental engagement organization known as Changemakers sponsored a school wide event with the support of Aspen High School’s Earth Group. The event involved a creative and impactful presentation by youth environmentalist and leader of the Changemakers organization, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.  The presentation focused on educating and empowering the youth to take action against environmentally destructive practices occurring at a personal, communal, and societal level every day.

The event began with Earth Club leaders Chloe Brettman and Francesca Seaman addressing the student body. They began by welcoming Martinez and listing off some of his accomplishments.

“He is a recipient of United States Community Service Award from President Obama, he has addressed the United Nations, he founded Earth Guardians in order to engage young people in activism, and he is actively suing the United States government on behalf of future generations hoping to inhabit earth. Without Further adieu, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.” Brettman said .

Suddenly, Xiuhtezcatl took to the stage. A less than attentive crowd sat idly, that is until he began to speak. Instead of commencing his inaugural address of Aspen High with a long speech detailing countless examples of environmental abuse performed by us humans, he rapped about it. As he began his first verse  (a critique of our societal apathy about mother nature’s health) one could see the crowd growing more and more intrigued. By the time he had finished his set, in which he masterfully addressed everything from environmental stability to racism as it relates to poverty, he had earned the attention of nearly every pair of ears in the auditorium.

“I rap because one, I love it and its part of who I am, and two, because when I get up on stage with a mic in my hand I can speak my truth. And the difference is, people can actually hear me. If I were to stand up there with flashcards and a powerpoint half of you guys would be asleep by the time I was done.” Martinez said.

Martinez as took time to acknowledge our generations role as activists.

“It is so important that we don’t let up. We have set the stage for our generation, me and you, to change this world for the better. We need to follow through. We are one of the most politically involved generations in history and we can’t get discouraged. We are activists, artists, and entrepreneurs but we all have the same goal. Be the change makers that will transform our society for the better.” Martinez said.

Paulino Valdes, an Aspen High sophomore was inspired by the presentation.

“I didn’t have very high expectations going into the event, but after he rapped about all of the problems with our world today I knew I needed to help make a difference. I really connected with him when he was talking about immigrants and how were treated. I think he recognises what it’s like to watch your whole world burn to the ground but you’re helpless to do anything. I’m done being helpless. From now on i’m gonna think about the impact of everything I do.” Valdes Said.

The presentation certainly left students with a lot to think about. However the question still remains, can we turn our thoughts into action?

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