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Pulitzer Center Update December 22, 2023

Winners and Finalists of the #NuestraAmazonía (Our Amazon) Letter Contest

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After receiving more than 700 entries by young people from six Amazonian countries, we are pleased to announce the winners and finalists of the Pulitzer Center's #NuestraAmazonía (Our Amazon) Letter Contest.

This exercise—which combined journalism, persuasive writing, civic action, and Amazon citizenship—allowed participants to learn about stories that connect us all to the challenges facing our forests and the interdependent relationship that links us to #NuestraAmazonía.

The wonderful letters introduced proposals for action by decision-makers to promote measures against deforestation, illegal mining, species trafficking, drug trafficking, and the disappearance of Indigenous people. Each letter carries a message of change that highlights journalism from the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Journalism Fund (RJF) as a starting point for building a future without deforestation.

The winning letters are framed by a clear understanding of the Amazon territory, highlighting the interconnection between young people and the forest, the strength of their own personal stories, and the desire to promote innovative solutions that can be applied for the preservation of the Amazon territory.

We would like to thank all of the participants who were part of #NuestraAmazonía. For every letter received, there is a committed teacher and student who took the time to be part of this initiative.

The winners and finalists were evaluated in two review phases by a jury made up of Amazonía Lab collaborators, staff, and journalists from the Pulitzer Center. Special thanks to the final jury, made up of Pulitzer Center Director of Environmental Investigations Gustavo Faleiros, Pulitzer Center Executive Editor Marina Walker Guevara, and Amazon RJF grantee Helena Carpio.

Congratulations to the contest's winners—Henry Vázquez, Adrianny Porras, and Breidy Gómez—who will receive $500 to develop an environmental action in their communities. 

We also recognize the extraordinary work of the contest's seven finalists, who will receive a digital certificate from the Pulitzer Center and the planting of a tree in their name, thanks to our alliance with Saving the Amazon.

We are proud of the effort and dedication of the teachers who accompanied us at 23 workshops organized within the Amazonian cities and territories, and of each of the young people who raised their voices for the future of #NuestraAmazonía. We hope to continue reading their stories next year to continue promoting solutions in our forests.  

Click on the links below to read the winners' and finalists’ letters in Spanish—and use the Google Translate feature on the Pulitzer Center website to read in your preferred language.

Winners

 

First Place: Henry Vázquez, 16, Colombia

Henry Gregorio Vázquez, a 16-year-old Indigenous youth, is an active member of the Environmental Indigenous Guard in the community of San Martín de Amacayacu. He is in his last year of high school, combining his academic responsibilities with his dedication to environmental protection and the defense of his ancestral territory.  His vision for the future includes continuing to advocate for the protection of the territory, thus contributing to the sustainable development of his community and the preservation of biodiversity in the Amazon region.

His letter, inspired by the story "From the Amazon to Asia: Disturbing Story of Jaguar Hunting and Trafficking," points out the importance of opening our hearts to the voices of those who love and protect the Amazon, especially its most valuable treasures: its living creatures.

 

Second Place: Adrianny Porras, Venezuela

Adrianny Porras is a Venezuelan passionate about reading, culture, and marketing. Her goal is to make communication the main way to build new opportunities for the common citizen, highlighting injustices that can take place, giving power to the individual, and creating a sustainable future for all.

Her letter, inspired by the story "How Venezuelan Gold Is Trafficked Through Brazil’s Borderlands to the U.S.," points out the importance of committing ourselves as citizens to the defense of justice and peace in one of the ancient regions with the greatest environmental value for the world.

 

Third Place: Breidy Gómez, 15, Colombia

Breidy Lizzeth Gómez Aroca is a 15-year-old rural 11th-grade student at the Liceo Rosario School in the municipality of Puerto Rico, Meta. She is an active member of the School of Communication for Peace of the independent media outlet El Cuarto Mosquetero (The Fourth Musketeer).

Her letter was inspired by the story "Deforesting the Colombian Amazon as a Way of Life" and points out the power that she, as a young farmer, has to push public policies that help the conservation of the environment and the Amazon.

Read their letters here (in Spanish).

Finalists

  1. Carol Cubillos, 24, Colombia
  2. Cristian Quiroz, 15, Venezuela
  3. Mariett Hamilton, 22, Venezuela
  4. Katherine Leal, 23, Venezuela
  5. Rosamist Moreno, 19, Venezuela
  6. Jhoan Cutiva Aguilar, 16, Colombia
  7. Kelly Crespo, 22, Venezuela

Read their letters here (in Spanish).

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