¡Feliz viernes a todos!
Thanks again for joining me this week! Last week, I featured Ana Teresa Fernández’s work in my post describing how activism can be practiced in different forms; art being one of them. This week, I will expand on the idea of activism in different forms, focusing more specifically on children as activists. As Keira noted in her Sobre Enero post, January is about focusing not only on how to teach young people about injustices, but also offering ideas for how they can take a stand against them. So, this week, I will provide online resources to introduce some really important young activists who have made a big difference in their country, Colombia, since they spoke up.
There were more than 4,000 child deaths in Colombia in 1996 due to civil war and La Violencia, which had already been underway for more than 30 years. Graça Machel, a well known humanitarian sent to study the impact of civil war and violence on children, visited Colombia that same year. When 15-year-old Farlis Calle Guerero heard the call for children’s testimony at her school, she organized as many of her classmates and friends as she could to present testimony to Graça Machel on how the war had impacted them. Bringing these students together to create this presentation led Farlis to the realization that they (her classmates and the rest of the youth) could be the solution to the violence. After the presentation, Graça reported back to the U.N. while Farlis and about two-dozen of her classmates got to work organizing and participating in peace meetings, which led to the creation of “peace zones” and “peace carnivals.” The movement, which turned out to have the participation of more than three million Colombian children, became known as the Children’s Peace Movement. Farlis and her classmates were able to start a movement, with the help of UNICEF, that created an international voice for children’s rights in all countries.
We think Farlis, the child activist behind the Children’s Peace Movement, is an excellent example of how children can, and do, make a difference in the world! Because Farlis spoke up, children’s rights were strengthened. In the classroom, we think discussing Farlis’ story could lead into conversations about which injustices students wish to change in their own lives. We also think you could utilize the Humanium’s Children of the World maps to identify countries where children’s rights are still suffering (and to point out that the United States is not the highest on the list in adhering to children’s rights laws!). They even have a specific Children of Haiti page if you’d like to use these resources in conjunction with Alice’s most recent ¡Mira, Look! post or (spoiler alert) with some of the materials we post about in the weeks to come.
Finally, if you’d like to utilize these resources with another source that hits closer to home for me (Rhode Island born and raised!), you can show this short video about Cassandra Lin and her Turn Grease Into Fuel (TGIF) program. Again, we hope these resources will not only enlighten students to the injustices of the world, but also inspire them to be the ones standing up to make changes! Never underestimate a child…they just may be the next world-changing activist!
With warmest wishes,
Image: Photo of Farlis Calle. Reprinted from Moral Heroes under CC ©.