And the Human Rights Awards People’s Choice Winner is…

Global Exchange is pleased to announce the winner of our 2011 Human Rights Awards People’s Choice Contest, Javier Sicilia, as chosen by THE PEOPLE, supporters of Global Exchange and human rights around the world.

Mr. Sicilia is a poet building a movement to free Mexico from the spiraling violence of the ‘war on drugs.’ He will be honored at our annual Human Rights Awards Gala happening on June 1 at historic Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco.

Find out more about this exciting event.

Mr. Sicilia joins our other 2011 Human Rights Awards recipients, Pablo Solón, Bolivian Ambassador to the UN, and Wilma Subra, Gulf Coast activist. You can learn more about all of our human rights honorees past and present here.

Javier Sicilia is a Mexican father, poet, and citizen who lost his son in a drug war massacre on March 28, 2011. Juan Francisco Sicilia Ortega was murdered along with six friends in an act of violence that Morelos state authorities immediately dismissed as “a settling of accounts.” Juan Francisco and his friends’ murders took place in the context of more than 38,000 mostly nameless victims of this cruel and unnecessary war.

Rather than retreat to the shadows of shock or fear, Sicilia has turned the pain of his searing loss into a tool for peace by convening marches and building a movement to free Mexico from the dogmas, dark alliances, impunity, and political expediency that fuel this tragic war.

I could go on and on about what an awesome, courageous, inspiring man Javier Sicilia is, but instead just watch this video:

More than 1200 people elected Javier Sicilia to be the Global Exchange “People’s Choice” human rights award winner. As the People’s Choice honoree, he will receive $1,000 in honor of his work and will be recognized during the Human Rights Awards gala celebration.


Join Mexico’s growing peace movement that has called for a massive civic mobilization this Sunday, May 8th. The main event will take place in Mexico’s Zocalo and will be echoed by marches and vigils in many countries. More info here.


If you’ll be in the Bay Area on June 1st, I hope to see you at our Human Rights Awards gala for a night of inspiration, celebration and fun! For event info click here and to buy tickets for the event click here (by May 13th if you want to score the Early Bird discount!)

P.S. Two of my personal heroes Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (founders of Ben & Jerry’s) are emceeing the event. How awesome is that?!