Rosa Hilda Ramos - Speech at the 2008 Goldman Prize Ceremony

Rosa Hilda Ramos
April 14, 2008
I am very grateful to the Goldman family for this honor. Aside from getting married, having my children and finally having cleaner and healthier air, this award has given me the greatest personal happiness I have ever known. It validates my struggles and will empower me to continue.
Whatever I have achieved, I have not achieved alone. I work with community leaders and volunteers, and have allies among public school teachers, and within universities, churches, and state and federal agencies. Moving on, holding hands together – that is the secret of success.
We worked long and hard to convince the legislature to approve the Cucharillas Natural Reserve law. In order to ensure that our children respect and admire the value of our wetlands, we entered into an agreement with Metropolitan University to train our public school teachers. Then on Earth Day, we “invaded” the legislature, not with protests, but with hundreds of little children dressed as butterflies and dragonflies hopping up and down in the offices and hallways, singing and dancing, happily giving away origami butterflies they made. They were simply irresistible!
Believe me, having thousands of butterflies and birds for neighbors, not thousands of trucks driving up and down our streets, is pure joy!
We are now working hard to bring our wetlands to their past splendor, restoring our natural butterfly gardens, protecting our bird sanctuary, the Secret lagoon, and our dragonfly habitats. We are helping to build a glass house museum for our beloved Coqui frogs where people will fall under the spell of the Coqui song. The museum will draw visitors and generate income to further maintain the wetlands.
We dream of forming a tropical wetland garden where the world can see how diverse nature is in our little corner of the world.
There are opponents to our work . Activists, including myself, must often withstand threats from opposing forces who want to silence and discredit us. I tell them, we will not be silenced.
I invite all of you to share our dreams and be our allies to make all of this a reality. With this powerful award in hand and in my heart, I am ready to face new challenges and form new alliances. Will you be a part of them?
Thank you so much! God bless you all!


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