Javier Sicilia, Mexican poet-turned-activist and leader of Mexico’s Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, is turning personal horror into hope for himself and his country. After the death of his son at the hands of drug traffickers last year, Sicilia swapped his pen for protest, pushing to stop the bloodshed. Leading the fight with a radiant intellect and deep faith, this TIME Magazine Protester of the Year speaks on the power of words as an instrument for peace, recognizing that responsibility lies on both sides of the border.
Javier Sicilia is the leader of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, founded in April 2011 after the death of his son to drug violence in Mexico. The movement organizes the voices of families of the victims and leads caravans throughout the country, calling for reforms to strategies used in the drug war, which has claimed some 50,000 lives in the last five years. Sicilia was awarded a "people's choice" human rights prize by Global Exchange and was profiled as one of TIME Magazine's People of the Year for 2011. Sicilia is a poet, essayist, novelist, and journalist in Mexico. In 2009 he was awarded the Aguascalientes National Award in Poetry, one of the most prestigious honors in Mexican literature.
Rubén Martínez is an author, teacher, and performer. He is the author of several books, including Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail, and the upcoming Desert America: The Ethics of Boom and Bust in the New Old West. He holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University.
Betto Arcos, a native of Veracruz, Mexico, is a freelance reporter for BBC-PRI's The World and NPR. He has been a regular contributor to NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered reviewing Latin and world music, since 2009. Betto is also host of KPFK’s "Global Village" on KPFK 90.7, a daily program he created as music director in 1997.
Photo credit: Ted Lewis
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March 2012 edition of Words Without Borders, the Online Magazine for International Literature, on The Mexican Drug War