We are excited to announce the 2019 winner of the Topacio Reynoso Pacheco Youth Award is Festivales Solidarios (or Solidarity Festivals), a group of Indigenous and Meztizo youth who use art and social media in resistance to defend territory, historical memory and raise awareness of political prisoners in Guatemala.
The group began its work in 2013 with the criminalization of the student movement for its protest against the massacre at the Cumbre de Alaska on October 4, 2012. Since then, they have used art, music and colours against systems of hate and violence imposed through neoliberal extractive systems. Since 2013, they have held 80 festivales in communities in resistance around Guatemala.
The group stated, “We feel flattered to receive this prize and the recognition for the struggle we have brought forward over these past years. We are inspired and motivated to continue this path we have chosen, and we are inspired to continue working with communities and territories that defend life in Guatemala and the region.”
Festivales Solidarios will use the prize money of $1000 USD for another festival in Northern Huehuetenango.
The Topacio Reynoso Pacheco Award is made possible with support from the Reynoso Pacheco family, Bows and Arrows Coffee, the Justice, Mission and Outreach Committee of the Maritime Conference of the United Church, the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, MiningWatch Canada, the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network and the United Steelworkers. Each year it is awarded to a youth group which uses art and music to raise awareness of protection of the environment, as well as the defense of land and territory.