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Xiuhtezcatl Martinez-Roske headshot

Xiuhtezcatl M., 13, Colorado

Xiuhtezcatl is only 13, but he’s already gotten pesticides out of parks, implemented fees on the use of plastic bags, put a moratorium on fracking, and ended a 20-year contract with a coal company so that the city could move toward sustainable energy practices—and all of that is just locally. Nationally, and internationally, he’s the youth director of Earth Guardians, gives EARTH multimedia and fracking presentations at schools, was selected to be on Obama's Youth Council, and was one of the youngest speakers at the Rio+20 UN summit. He says that “Adults say we are the future leaders, but I say we are here NOW and can make a difference NOW.” He’s currently working on an online action portal called GAYA (Global Alliance of Youth in Action) to provide youths around the globe with the tool necessary to run their own campaigns. His ultimate goal is to “create a peaceful, healthy, sustainable world for the children that will inherit it!”

Adults say we are the future leaders, but I say we are here NOW and can make a difference NOW.

 

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2015 peace first prize winners

Brennan

brennan projectBrennan Lewis, 18, Apex, NC

Growing up a member of the LGBTQ community in North Carolina, Brennan saw firsthand the difficulties and feelings of isolation that LGBTQ youth can endure in a heteronormative environment. And while Brennan was very fortunate to have a loving support system in their family and friends, they saw others who weren’t as lucky. So with a strong sense of compassion, Brennan and a friend took action and courageously created QueerNC.

Grace

grace projectGrace Callwood, 10, Abingdon, MD

Grace is a cancer survivor who learned, through giving away clothing that didn’t fit her post-treatment, that anyone and everyone can help brighten the day of their neighbor. The girls who received Grace’s donation had just moved into a homeless housing complex and were thrilled to be getting new clothes for school. After hearing what a difference her donation made in their day, Grace wanted to help other children who were going through tough times.

Jasmine

jasmine projectJasmine Babers, 19, Rock Island, IL

After watching her best friend and sister endure bullying and witnessing the devastating effects that it can have on them, Jasmine decided it was time someone created an outlet to promote compassion and tolerance among young women.

Xiuhtezcatl

xiuhtezcatl project 2Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 15, Boulder, CO

Growing up, Xiuhtezcatl’s father emphasized his obligation to taking care of the land – a privilege and responsibility that, in a world ravaged by climate change, he does not take lightly. He has been on the front lines of the fight for the environment since he was four, attending and leading rallies and summits, always willing to confront adult leaders for the current climate crisis we see today.

Yasmine

yasminearringtonactionphototwoYasmine Arrington, 22, Washington D.C.

2.7 million young people in the US have an incarcerated parent, and statistics show that they are more likely to drop out of high school and go to jail themselves because of it. Yasmine is one of those 2.7 million; she has experienced firsthand the financial and emotional burdens, and the marginalization that a family goes through as a result. And through building a meaningful relationship with her incarcerated parent, by forgiving him, she was motivated to do something to support her peers and help them find their own peace of mind and end this cycle of incarceration.