Born 39 years ago in the small town of Yolombó in the municipality of Suárez (Cauca), Francia Elena Márquez Mina is a lawyer, environmental leader, and human rights defender. She became an activist at the age of 15 as part of a grassroot community process that sought to prevent the Ovejas River from a diversion project (DROES). Since then, she has dedicated her life to caring for the territory and building peace in Colombia.
Her important work and struggle was recognized nationally with the 2015 National Human Rights Prize, and internationally with the Goldman Prize (the most important recognition for defenders of the environment in the world) in 2018. She was a candidate for the House of Representatives in the Special Congressional Seats for Black Communities in 2018. Thereafter, she served as president of the National Council for Peace and Coexistence (2020-2021).
Currently Francia Marquez Mina is a candidate in Colombia’s presidential primaries as part of the “I Am Because We Are” movement within the framework of the Historic Pact Coalition. Her candidacy aims to occupy State power in order to build community and social mandates emanating from historically excluded sectors of Colombian society. Based in the African philosophy UBUNTU – I Am Because We Are – Francia Marquez seeks to construct a political mandate that centers the care for life and the Casa Grande (the awareness of Earth as our Common Home), all the while transgressing traditional ways of doing politics.
Photo credit to: @mawropulido