From the moment we first heard the name of Yalitza Aparicio in 2018, the educator, actress and activist became the spokesperson seeking equity and justice for our country’s indigenous people. Emphasizing Mexico’s sad reality, the everyday segregation suffered by indigenous communities, in addition to the anger and threat that some people feel when their status quo is slightly affected by listening to a strong, intelligent woman, and – above all – proud of her roots and giving a voice to her people.
Yalitzia has been so significant in social and cultural matters, that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) appointed her as a goodwill ambassador (a 2-year title). Since then, she has focused on creating an agenda in favor of the integration and rights of indigenous people worldwide.
She is supporting her community and others around the world.
The preservation of indigenous languages has been an important part of her plea, promoting measures that help parents teach children their respective languages to prevent their disappearance. As she personally experienced at home, many families refuse to teach their native language to their children to protect them against discrimination. This means that many languages are in danger of disappearing.
Another banner in her fight for defending indigenous peoples has consisted of safeguarding people’s cultural heritage, as well as integrating their knowledge into environmental management and adapting to the climate crisis. According to Aparicio, indigenous communities are more connected to the land, because they respect and care for it as a source of food and life, highlighting how much we have to learn from indigenous values.
She shows why our personal sustainability is so important.
This is how Yalitza Aparicio has used her sudden fame and worldwide recognition, fighting to create a more equitable world for the indigenous communities that have always been segregated and neglected. Seeking to narrow the gender gap, providing access to education for indigenous children, and helping us understand the importance of preserving and learning from the customs and traditions of our native people. Without a doubt, Yalitza is the representative that Mexico did not know it needed.