Monday, May 23, 2011

My Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize: Marisol Valles Garcia

Fifteen minutes ago, I had never heard of Marisol Valles Garcia. Now, with complete honesty, true hope, and with an open and loving heart I sincerely hope this 21 year old mother of an infant is nominated for and wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

Let me tell you why.

Seven months ago, this 21 year old young woman, accepted the job as chief of police in a small border town ripped apart by drug violence. Her predecessor was beheaded by an assasin in the employ of the local cartel. For the last six months, this brave woman had received death threats, and yet she continued to do her work. And the work is what is truly amazing. In a town of extreme poverty, where many women had been widowed by the drug wars between the cartels, Marisol Valles Garcia envisioned a new kind of policing. Instead of guns, she hired 13 women that carried hope. Instead of law enforcement, she focused on the most effective type of prevention work: supporting and encouraging young people to stay in school and further their education. She refused to take sides or to take bribes. She made clear to the cartels that she had no interest in attacking them; she only wanted to bring some hope and peace back to the town where she was born and raised.

The international media called her the bravest woman in Mexico. Others are calling her Mexico's Rosa Parks. I am calling her a peace warrior, a justice soldier, a life changing force of nature that put her own life on the line in the face of extreme adversity in order to try and make a difference.

Her reward: she was forced to flee mexico with her husband, siblings, parents, and child. A few days later, her mother's home in Praxedis G. Guerrero was ransacked. (What an apt name for a town that bred such a powerful warrior...guerrero, in Spanish, means warrior).

She is currently seeking asylum in the U.S. and living in an undisclosed location in Texas. I pray that she remains safe and out of the reach of those that would do her harm. She has lost everything that she had, and she can never return to Mexico. It is clear that if she does, she and her loved ones will be killed.

According to the will of Alfred Nobel, the peace prize should be awarded to: part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.

In practice the award has been given to individuals ranging from environmental activists to those that have fought for democracy and freedom, from the founder of the International Red Cross to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

It is my firm belief that if Dr. Nobel were still alive, he would hand this amazing woman the $1.5 million dollar award himself and call it a day.

This woman's story brought tears to my eyes. Que viva Mexico...que viva esta mujer con tanto couraje. When the people rise up and reclaim their lives and communities...oppressors know true fear. They do not fear bullets; they fear when the people remember their self-worth. A single bullet may end a life, but a single individual that remembers her worth can end tyrrany.

I hope next December, Marisol receives that call in the middle of the night letting her know that the world knows, understands, and values her sacrifice and what she tried to do for her people. Much love to you amor...the people of the world that know what justice looks like...see it clearly in you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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