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UNESCO’s Newest Ambassador: Yalitza Aparicio Martínez

Yalitza Aparicio

Earlier this week, Yalitza Aparicio Martínez was named UN UNESCO’s goodwill ambassador on behalf of Indigenous peoples. The 25-year-old actress was widely praised for her role as a Mixtec woman in the film “Roma,” for which she earned an Oscar nomination, and is being recognized by UNESCO for her unrelenting work on behalf of the Mixtec and Trique people of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Ever since the Oscar’s, it feels like Yalitza has been everywhere—and we are so here for it. She has decided to use the power of her voice at every step while building a platform that highlights gender equality, feminism, and support for Indigenous communities. Along the way she’s had some fun, too. Check the highlights!

There was the time she’s graced the cover of Vogue:

Photo Credit: Santiago & Mauricio / VOGUE MÉXICO

When she traveled around the world, including a visit to New York City!

She modeled Rodarte for Teen Vogue.

Photo Credit: @dritch

…and did an ad for Head & Shoulders.

Finally, to cap off an epic year, she’s accepted this phenomenal role with UNESCO. Not only that, but her speech during the press announcement was nothing short of inspiring. You can watch the full video below, or read the transcription in Spanish and English, below.

“Hola todos. Buenas tardes. Estoy muy contenta de este nombramiento. Espero ir de la mano con UNESCO de la mejor manera. De poder apoyar a estas comunidades Indígenas de las cuales yo me siento orgullosa y como siempre e dicho, yo estoy orgullosa de ser una mujer Indígena. Yo desde pequeña aprendí al cuidado del medio ambiente que es algo que también trabaja UNESCO. Fueron valores que me inculcaron desde pequeña. Y yo creo que estas comunidades lo pueden transmitir al resto de la sociedad. Como decían mis abuelos: hay que cuidar de la tierra porque comes de ella. Así que, es…ojalá aprendamos esta parte. Y ahora digo, sí soy feminista…soy feminista porque busco una equidad de género. Soy una mujer Indígena muy orgullosa que busca el rescate de las lenguas Indígenas. Que busca los derechos de estas comunidades Indígenas, y que busca un igualdad de oportunidades.”

“Hello everyone. Good afternoon. I am delighted by this announcement and I look forward to being in lockstep with UNESCO in the best way possible. To support the Indigenous communities, of which I am proud to be a part. As I have said before, I am proud to be an Indigenous woman. Since I was young I was taught about the importance of caring for the earth—which is a primary focus for UNESCO, as well. Those values were inculcated within me since an early age. I believe this message can be widely disseminated among our society by these communities. Like my grandparents would say: We have to take care of the earth because she feeds us. My hope is that we all embrace that truth. I also want to say that, yes, I am a feminist. I am a feminist because I fight for gender equality. I am a proud Indigenous woman who also seeks to preserve Indigenous languages. Who stands up for Indigenous communities, and demands equal opportunities.”

—Yalitza Aparicio Martínez

Yatliza’s work is both intersectional and inclusive. It’s forcing many of us to face our privileges and do a better job of centering marginalized voices. We are proudly celebrating her during Latinx Heritage Month and Indigenous Peoples Day. We can’t wait to see where her journey takes her next.

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