Congratulations to Evgenia Chirikova and Oscara Olivera for recently being awarded the 2013 James Lawson Award, administered by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. The award ceremony took place at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts.
The award is named after James Lawson, a key leader from the US Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the organizer of the Nashville Lunch Counter Sit-ins. The award recognizes:
*An organizer or activist who demonstrates strategic insight and creativity in waging nonviolent struggle; or
*A journalist whose work captures the dynamics of nonviolent civil resistance and brings greater attention to this phenomenon; or
*An educator whose teaching generates interest, passion and in-depth thinking about the history, theories and strategies of nonviolent civil resistance
Chirikova was awarded the Goldman Prize in 2012 for her efforts to protect Russia’s Khimki Forest from the destructive Moscow/St. Petersburg motorway project.
Olivera won the Prize in 2001 for his work to develop a local water system that relies neither on corrupt government management nor on transnational corporations, preventing privatization of his community’s water resources.
In his speech to the audience, Olivera stated, “We have weapons that can destroy even the most powerful weapons that this economic system has. We’re dismantling an oppressive system. We are putting in place solidarity. We’re defeating apathy and fear and recovering trust we have for each other. Our rise represents the best inheritance of dignitiy we can give to our posterity.”
Chirikova also commented, “Yesterday, I met Oscar Olivera, who fought a big transnational company. I understood we don’t have a local problem in Khimki and Cochabamaba. I understood yesterday we need a new law that accounts for transnational companies who destroy the environment, plan corrupt schemes, and beat people.”