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Posted on: March 3, 2019

Speaker Xiuhtezcatl Martinez coming to Elgin in April for Earth Month

headshot photo of Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

Eighteen-year-old indigenous environmental activist and hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced Shoe-Tez-Caht, from the Aztec meaning “turquoise warrior”) Martinez will present “Roots of Revolution” April 17 at 7 p.m. at the Hemmens Cultural Center in downtown Elgin.

The event, sponsored by the City of Elgin Sustainability Commission, is free to attend and tickets are required for admission. Tickets may be obtained at cityofelgin.org/xtickets.

Martinez, a charismatic young speaker, will come to Elgin this April as part of a series of Earth Month events in the community. He will talk about the important roles people can play at the grassroots level, defending the planet in the battle against climate change.

“I love seeing young people with so much passion take on big world issues and connect them with something other people can relate to like Martinez does with hip-hop and the battle against climate change,” State Senator Cristina Castro said. “This next generation will become our global leaders and it’s important that we hear what they have to say.

Inspired by his parents, Martinez has been a climate activist since the age of six. In his hometown of Boulder, CO, Martinez worked with his family, community leaders and environmental groups to get the city to stop using pesticides in its parks; to take steps to curtail coal ash; to require merchants to charge a fee for plastic bags; and to create a moratorium on fracking.

Martinez is Youth Director for climate and social justice group Earth Guardians, and his activism has taken him across the world to talk about climate change, which he sees as the biggest challenge facing his generation.

Martinez also is among 21 youth plaintiffs behind Juliana v. the United States, a lawsuit claiming the federal government is violating our constitutional rights by being lax on environmental matters, thus contributing to the conditions leading to climate change.

His voice has been heard by the United Nations General Assembly, at the UN’s Rio+20 Summit and can be found online giving a TED Talk.

Martinez also uses hip-hop to reach an audience. Last fall, he released his first album, “Break Free,” telling his story in English, Spanish, and the Central American language Nahuatl (pronounced Nah-Wat).

Last fall Martinez also released his first book, “We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement That Restores the Planet,” which provides a framework for sustainable living and for addressing current challenges. 

Martinez strongly believes inthe power youth have to change the world, one step at a time. The question, he says, is how we can bring this idea of creating change into the lives we already live.

For more information on this event, contact Elgin Sustainability Commissioner Erik Anderson at 847-812-3984.

Links for further information about Xiuhtezcatl Martinez:

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