- has diverse life experiences
- interested in connecting with other youth and young adults ages 9-25,
- not afraid to share their ideas.
“I’m in love with a world that’s falling apart”: Meet the 16-year-old from Boulder trying to save the planet
From The Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/2016/08/24/environmental-activist-xiuhtezcatl-martinez-we-day/
BOULDER — Xiuhtezcatl Martinez shuffled into Logan’s Cafe one morning looking like a typical teenager. He wore a black T-shirt and blue sneakers with the laces untied. His nearly waist-length brown hair, which has never been cut for cultural reasons, was slightly tangled at the ends, causing his mom to run to her car for a pink hairbrush.
In some ways, he is like any other 16-year-old. He runs around his neighborhood at 3 a.m. catching Pokemon with his friends. He went through a breakup recently. He’s itching to get his driver’s license.
But he’s also an internationally recognized environmental activist.
Raised in the Aztec tradition — his father is Aztec Indian — he grew up learning that all life is connected and sacred. Martinez started speaking out about climate change and preserving our planet when he was just 6 years old.
“The way that I was raised really helped shape my passion for being a steward for the land,” Martinez said. “Once I started learning all the science and facts behind it, it was very obvious to me that I have a voice that needs to be heard. I’m in love with a world that’s falling apart.”
The 16-year-old activist has given three speeches in front of the United Nations and received the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama. He currently serves as the youth director of Earth Guardians, an organization of adult and youth environmental activists. In the past, he’s worked with Boulder city officials to stop the use of pesticides in parks and end a 20-year contract with Xcel Energy in order to pursue renewable energy.
Russell Mendell, the trainings coordinator for Earth Guardians, struck up a relationship with Martinez after seeing him perform at a Frack Free Colorado event. He found a lot of common ground with the young activist and worked with him to generate a youth movement for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
“I’ve been called Xiuhtezcatl’s mentor, but the thing is like I feel like he’s my mentor, too. I learn stuff from him every single day,” Mendell said. “He’s just so wise and he can integrate bigger social issues into how he understands the environment. That’s so impressive for someone his age.”
“There are some people in this world who came into the world with a purpose and he’s one of those people.”
Martinez also regularly writes and produces hip-hop music about the environment with his younger brother, Itzcuauhtli, who is 13. He wants to drop a new album in October. The activist has also spoken at more than 100 conferences around the world, most recently at the Arise Music Festival in Loveland. (He had a great time staying up until 4 a.m. meeting his favorite artists, he said.)
Martinez’s latest project? Suing the U.S. government for violating his constitutional rights by enabling continued exploitation of fossil fuels.
At the end of this month, Martinez will share his story on ABC’s second annual WE Day broadcast, a one-hour commercial-free special that explores social issues such as the environment, homelessness and inner-city violence. Celebrities including Charlize Theron, Orlando Bloom, Selena Gomez and Seth Rogen will give speeches and performances at the event. (Kermit the Frog introduced Martinez with “New Girl” actress Zooey Deschanel; her hair was shorter than his, he noted.)
“It’s cool to be invited to represent the youth voice, being a young activist and leader,” Martinez said. “I’m a normal 16-year-old kid, and I feel like I brought the perspective that you don’t have to be famous to make a difference. I was there to hold it down and show that each of us have the potential to make a change.”
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 15, is an influential 15-year-old environmentalist activist who is going to be on television for WE Day, a celebrity studded environmental awareness event. Helen H. Richardson, The Denver PostXiuhtezcatl Martinez, 15, is an influential 15-year-old environmentalist activist who is going to be on television for WE Day, a celebrity studded environmental awareness event.
After being in the spotlight for so long, Martinez is used to dealing with people older than him in decision-making positions. But when asked about whether or not his age poses a disadvantage in those interactions, he said that while initially it might, people come around eventually.
“Once people understand the sincerity of my message and that I represent a demographic that isn’t heard, they listen,” he said. “I’m not talking about just politics or money or religion, I’m talking about the world that my generation is going to be left with. It’s a very sincere, honest perspective.”
But Martinez has made sacrifices to put himself in that position. He said he loves hip hop and dancing, but wasn’t able to attend a class for months because of his traveling. He also gave up gymnastics and soccer because there wasn’t enough room in his busy schedule for competitions.
Martinez also spends over 65 days a year on average traveling. Last year, he stayed in Paris for nearly a month during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Over summer break, when most of his peers are off on camping trips or family vacations, Martinez has to make up missed credits at the Watershed School, where he is a sophomore.
“It’s definitely hard doing what I do when I’m 16. If I were a retired dude, it’d be really easy, but I’m not. I don’t spend as much time with friends as I’d like to,” he said. “But writing music helps me release stress for sure — sometimes I just have to abandon all my responsibilities and lose myself in the music.”
Martinez said his identity as an indigenous person plays a large role in his activism. Ever since he can remember, he’s had conversations with his father, Siri, about how the United States has stolen not only natural resources, but also wisdom and ways of life from indigenous people all across the world.
“Everywhere we see indigenous people, we see continued oppression to this day. And when we look at the roots of that, we see patriarchy, white supremacy and capitalism,” Martinez said.
“We need to see that there are systems in place that oppress those already at the bottom, and that continued growth and expansion usually means growth of wealth for the rich and the marginalized communities continue to suffer,” he said. “Climate change is the same — poor women and children of color are impacted the most.”
Siri Martinez said that his son’s environmental awareness began when he watched a documentary about the Earth when he was just 6. The issues presented by the movie hit Martinez really hard and he cried a lot. Siri said after that, he began trying to bring some sort of awareness to other people about the environment.
“We’ve always taught him to be respectful to everything — from people to flowers. That’s how he perceives the world, as something important and sacred that he can’t waste,” Siri said. “The things that he’s doing and saying, to us it’s very normal. That’s what we encouraged and talked about with him.”
Siri said his son has always been very eloquent and bright, so when he encourages people to see things a certain way, he’s extremely powerful.
“It’s always been my responsibility to pass on the things my father taught me to my kids, so I feel very grateful that he receives this knowledge and carries it eloquently to other people, like a strong and beautiful bridge,” he said. “It’s always been a joy to watch him grow and unfold.”
Even though Martinez is deadly serious about his work with the environment, he said he’s still just “this goofy 16-year-old kid who’s passionate about life.” He jams out to Chance The Rapper and J. Cole, plays with his Siberian Husky puppy Koda and goes on sunrise hikes with his friends. That relatability and groundedness is key to his work, he said.
“I’m going through struggles and pain, just like many other young people in the world,” he said. “I share a lot of similarities most young people share with each other, and once I show people that I’ve been able to use my voice and be powerful with it, they realize they have that potential as well. What I would love to see during my lifetime is my voice become less and less pertinent because I’m speaking as a generation, with all those other young people joining hands and lifting up the world together.”
WE Day will be broadcast on ABC at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28.
The Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) is currently seeking nominations for the 2016 James J Peters Memorial Award.
Dear Community Partners,
The Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) is currently seeking nominations for the 2016 James J Peters Memorial Award. The JAC initiated the James J. Peters Memorial Award in 2014 to be given annually to a professional serving young people within Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties. The award is given in memory of former District Attorney, James J. Peters, who was instrumental in the formation of the JAC. The award was created to recognize professionals who work directly with young people for their outstanding contribution. Recipients demonstrate a significant positive impact on young people age ten through seventeen identified as at-risk, in high need, truant or delinquent.
The James J. Peters Memorial Award will be presented at the annual fundraising luncheon on October 5, 2016 at the PACE Center in Parker, CO. Nominations must be submitted through the JAC’s on-line form by Monday August 2, 2016. Separate applications must be completed for each person nominating an individual for the award. Please share with your contacts and inform members of your organization about the award and encourage them to submit a nomination.
Nominations may be submitted: http://goo.gl/forms/XcWGuBXQ8aD6Ept62
Thank you for assisting me in this process. We look forward to receiving your nominations.
We are really excited to have partnered with Juneteenth – and partners on attached flyers – for this exciting movie screening and crucial conversation about Fatherhood on Father’s Day Weekend. So, for those who come; in addition to entertainment, vendors and beautiful people; there will also be a conversation which is so important to the restorative reasons for Juneteenth. There will be a lot of really great activities this day and I look forward to connecting with each of you through the work of my heart as I will always do the best that I can to help the work of yours as long as you ask, reach out, or stay connected.
Here is the new link for tickets:
Here is a link for a trailer of the movie: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/daddydontgo
When: June 18th 4pm – 7:30pm
Address: Crossroads Theater 2590 Washington St Denver, Co 80205
Cost: $12 pre-sale (link above) and $15 at the door.
(The cost is only to recover the cost of the Theater, Food, Drinks and to pay the movie producer)
What to Expect –
- Your ticket gets you admission (panel and movie), 1 drink of choice, and a snack.
- 3:45 – Doors open
- 4 – 4:20 – Vision sharing and framing
- 4:20 – 5:50 – Movie Screening
- 6pm to 7:15(ish) Community Conversation
Why should I attend and share this event? —
Our mission is simple:
To Create One Healthy Generation of Whole Children
We believe that while this work is collective and looks at large social issues that the core of it all is one child, one man, and one family at a time being connected to a larger body and voice is the key.
Our partners, panel, and moderator are phenomenal AND you get to contribute to it all!
We thank you in advance for your assistance in the success of this series.
We apologize for any duplication of this message.
Are you a young person in the LGBTQ community or know young people who are LGBTQ? You could win $250 for filling out a quick survey!
If you are a young person between the ages of 12-20, identify as LGBTQ, and want to share your honest opinions about marijuana, we want to hear from you! OMNI Institute (www.omni.org), an independent non-profit research company in Denver, has developed a brief and anonymous online survey that takes just 10 minutes to complete, and offers two chances to win $250!
If you are over 18, please contact Jean Denious at email@example.com to request a link to the marijuana survey.
If you are under 18, your parent/guardian has to allow you to participate in the survey. Please give this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VM7FMBMto your parent/guardian to complete the consent form. Or have them contact Jean Denious at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-839-9422, x121. Once your parent/guardian agrees to let you participate and they email/call Jean, OMNI will send the survey link directly to you. Surveys must be completed no later than June 15th to be eligible for the prize.
Clothes To Kids provides a wardrobe of FREE school clothing to preschool-12th grade students in need or in crisis. A wardrobe includes 5 tops, 4 bottoms(pants/shorts/skirts), 1 coat, 1 pair of shoes and 5 pairs each of new underwear and socks.
Students can be referred by schools/school districts, human service agencies, hospitals, clinics, shelters, youth programs and places of worship. We currently have a big selection of clothing and no wait for an appointment:
- The first attachment is CTKD’s Referral Form. This is all that someone would need to refer students.
- The second is a 1-page Information Sheetwith simple instructions for referring students to CTKD. This should answer any questions your contacts have about student eligibility and the referral process. Please note – we serve students in the entire 10-county Metro Area, not just Denver!
- These documents are also always available on our website: http://clothestokidsdenver.org/referral-process/
The Youth Partnership for Health (YPH) is a youth advisory council for the state is recruiting, and they’re looking for youth just like you! Apply by June 30th
We are seeking young people ages 13-19, with diverse life and/or geographic experiences, to participate as consultants on a statewide advisory council. This council is open for ANYONE and EVERYONE to apply. If you answer yes to any of these then this council is for you!
- Are you interested in standing up for the health and well-being of ALL young people in Colorado? APPLY
- Do you want to learn how to effectively get your voice heard? APPLY
- Are you a high-schooler that wants to stand up against bullies? APPLY
- Are you a young parent and want to share the young parent perspective? APPLY
- Do you live far away from Denver, and want to advocate for your community? APPLY
- Have you had experiences with substance use, diversion or detention? APPLY
- Have you lived in group homes or foster care, we need your voice? APPLY
- Do you have any special health concerns, join and be empowered? APPLY
- Do you identify as LGBTQ, sit at our table? APPLY
- Have you and/or your peers ever experienced oppression, stand up for what you believe in? APPLY
- Do you have a unique cultural perspective, which you do? APPLY
- Download the application files:
- Submit both application documents to Audra Bishop:
- By email at email@example.com.
- by fax at 303-691-7852.
- or mail it in to Audra Bishop, 4300 Cheery Creek Dr. S. Denver, CO 80246
Participation in this council will provide opportunities for you to develop leadership skills, increase your knowledge of various health topics and engage in meaningful ways to have your unique voices heard.
- YOU GET TO BE THE EXPERT!
- A place where your opinions and ideas are listened to and your experiences are honored
- Consultants are paid $10/hour + reimbursement for transportation to meetings
- The council meets one Saturday per month for 4 hours (most likely in Denver)
- Provides opportunities to meet other youth from around the state while growing personally and professionally
- Offers creative ways to learn about youth health and the factors that can affect it
Either fill out the pdf version, including getting a letter of recommendation or complete the Word Version, then print, sign and fax, scan/email, or mail.
YPH consists of youth consultants, ages 13-19, all selected for their unique experiences that serve as a foundation from which they can provide open and honest feedback.
This council was started in 2000 and continues to be supported by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Youth consultants on this council provide feedback and recommendations to state and community partners who are working to positively impacting the lives of Colorado’s youth.
all pictures are actual pictures of past YPH members
Job Openings!!! CYM is looking for two young people between the ages of 18-24 to serve on the Maximizing Success federal project.
CYM is looking for two young people between the ages of 18-24 to serve on the Maximizing Success federal project. The Youth Advisors will work with other members of the Maximizing Success team to ensure that all aspects of this five-year project are inclusive and welcoming to youth within the defined project area, and include the direct involvement and meaningful engagement of young people, wherever possible. Youth Advisors are responsible for gathering and providing feedback from youth in Denver, Adams and Arapahoe counties to provide guidance and programmatic advice
to Colorado Youth Matter and its capacity building assistance partners.
• Must be comfortable conducting trainings and facilitating effective meetings.
• Commitment to adolescent reproductive health access, comprehensive sex education,
including adolescent health, unintended pregnancy prevention and HIV/AIDS/STI
• Experience as a youth advocate is preferred.
• Must have exceptional verbal and written communication skills, including technical writing.
• Must be proficient in MS Office and basic computer applications.
• Must be comfortable with learning and effectively using new media outlets and web-based platforms for the purpose of achieving goals.
• Must be self-motivated and an independent worker with the ability to define your role within a team.
• Must be able to carry up to 25lbs.
• Must be comfortable standing for up to 4 hours.
• Must be able to focus while working in an open office environment.
• Must be able to prioritize multiple tasks and respond well to change and stressful
• Be detailed oriented, yet visionary.
• Exhibit leadership and initiative in various projects and work settings.
• Commitment to excellence
• Commitment to the mission, core expectations and values of Colorado Youth Matter.
• Have a sense of humor!
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
• Develop youth advisory strategies that will best serve the Maximizing Success project goals,
capacity building assistance (CBA) partners, and youth in the three county project areas.
• Provide feedback, perspective and guidance on program materials, strategies, training and other elements of the project.
Submit a resume, cover letter, 2 professional references and answer the questions below in a
separate document. Submit to Andie Lyons, Director of Community Programs no later than June
15, 2016 at: firstname.lastname@example.org