World Leaders Honor Chico Mendes' Fight for Environmental and Land Rights, June 30, 2014, By Raven Rakia

"On the first weekend in April, grassroots leaders and activists from all over the world met in a conference room in Washington DC for The Chico Mendes conference, named after indigenous environmental rights activist from Brazil, Francisco Alves "Chico" Mendes, a rubber tapper from theĀ Amazon region, assassinated in 1988 by a rancher.

He joined the fight to protect the Amazon, the environment and people's livelihoods from cattle ranchers, government officials and large-scale mining corporations - whose profit depends on the destruction of the environment. In one of his most well-known quotes, Chico says, "First, I thought I was fighting for the rubber tappers, then I thought I was fighting for the Amazon, then I realized I was fighting for humanity." Throughout his life he worked as a rubber tapper, a trade union leader, and an activist before being shot down in 1988. At the conference, environmental activists met from all over the world to discuss tactics and strategy, commemorate Chico's life and discuss how to continue Chico's fight."

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