Sports and Cultural Festival in La Sierra

RICO has held two editions of the Sports and Cultural Festival in honor of our murdered leaders, Néstor Martínez and Naimen Lara, in the community of La Sierra (Cesar, Colombia). Néstor was a social leader, human rights defender and environmentalist, and was murdered in 2017 for raising his voice against local corruption and the harmful effects of coal mining on residents and the environment. Naimen was a physical education teacher, dedicated to protecting youth from falling into drug addiction and sexual commercialization – Naimen died during a police raid on a peaceful demonstration in 2017.

Second Festival: 18.-19.01.2020

Its second edition was held on 18 and 19 January 2020. During the two days, different events were held with the inhabitants of the community and surrounding areas, as well as forty guests who accompanied the event from communities in La Guajira, Boyacá, Cesar, Magdalena, Medellín and Bogotá. Following the tradition of the first festival, the event included a vigil for the leaders, a quadrangular sports event and a cultural program that sought to rescue the unpublished music, dance, traditional games, and in general, the cultural roots of the Afro people of La Sierra. 

The program also included five pedagogical workshops, delving into themes chosen by the community: (1) introduction to solar energy, (2) associativity and self-management, (3) graffiti and urban art, (4) women’s empowerment, and (5) new masculinities. In addition to opening spaces for commemoration, celebration and movement, the Festival aimed to create alliances and plan future actions in La Sierra and in the invited communities, always designed in defense of life, dignity and territory.

First Festival: 18.-19.01.2019

The First Cultural and Sports Festival of La Sierra was held on 18 and 19 January 2019. The Festival was born out of the desire of the community, particularly the Women Warriors of La Sierra, to pay tribute to their two leaders, who lost their lives defending their territory. All the funds for the Festival were obtained by RICO through a virtual crowdfunder in Colombia and Germany. We have the support of other partners, such as the Schools of Peace Foundation, the University of Magdalena and the Popular University of Cesar.

The event included a wake for the leaders, a quadrangular sport and a cultural program that sought to rescue the unpublished music, dance, traditional games, and in general, the cultural roots of the Afro people of La Sierra. The program also included two workshops for children focused on Education for Peace. 

Here is a beautiful video, recapitulating the main moments of the First Festival – recorded and edited by Marco Perdomo: