Francia Márquez is an Afro-Colombian environmental and human rights activist, community leader and Vice President of Colombia. In 2018 she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for spearheading a campaign to stop illegal mining in her community of la Toma, Cauca. Márquez is one of Colombia’s most recognizable and outspoken social leaders. Her name is synonymous with resistance, territorial defense, and the rights of women, Afro-Colombians and indigenous peoples.
In speaking with Voices, the Vice President underscored that conventional approaches have long neglected marginalized Colombians and must be challenged. In particular, Francia stressed the importance of engaging conflict at its underlying causes. One relevant example she shared includes revisiting the role of rural schooling as a government priorities. While education has long been touted as a solution to conflict she is quick to point out it does little to solve social problems if it is not available to marginalized communities.
Moving forward, Francia underscores her desire to provide quality schooling free of charge and ensuring that traditionally marginalized communities are no longer neglected by such public services. In doing so, she aspires to engage marginalized communities, and in turn mitigating many of the core drivers of conflict in rural Colombia.