An Open Letter to American Lawmakers
2023, Senior, Poetry & Spoken Word
Climate Hero: Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
My climate hero is Xiuhtezcatl "X" Martinez, a young hip hop artist and advocate for climate justice in indigenous and marginalized communities. Since X regularly speaks out in courts and assemblies, I wanted to highlight that unique feature of his campaigns with my title. Additionally, throughout this poem, I sought to convey the emotions of indigenous communities affected by injust policies in order to shed light on their struggles. The ending of my poem is taunting, if not bittersweet--it embodies the adage of "ignorance is bliss" that far too many of us adopt when it comes to societal issues. Creating this poem evoked a mix of emotions within me: I was sickened by the systemic oppression faced by indigenous communities and the disregard for their well-being and ancestral lands. At the same time, I was inspired by Xiuhtezcatl's unwavering commitment to justice and his ability to mobilize his "brothers and sisters." One specific challenges faced by indigenous communities today stood out to me: the plundering of their lands by industrial activities, resulting in polluted air, contaminated water, and negative health impacts. In fact, the CDC regretfully notes that American Indian and Alaskan Native populations are more likely to develop certain cancers than other populations. To address climate change, we must all start advocating for policy changes that prioritize environmental justice, supporting indigenous-led initiatives, and fostering resilience within these communities. We can start now, under Xiuhtezcatl Martinez's tireless leadership and activism for a sustainable future. After all, X does indeed mark the spot.