The founder of Casa Cem, a unique Guadalajara organization that focuses on environmental protection, stepped forward this week to accept a prize from the hands of the state governor.
The Premio Jalisco, which includes a cash award of 88,000 pesos (US$4,600), was received by a beaming Sofia Chavez in recognition of her brainchild, which she began over a decade ago.
Casa Cem (the full name is Casa Cem, Vias Verdes or Cem house, green ways) has been the recipient of support from public institutions, including the U.S. Consulate, and employs dozens of volunteers. Chavez founded the organization when she was unable to find anywhere to recycle her household materials.
But Casa Cem soon grew into a large house on busy Avenida Chapultepec where the public can bring recyclables on Wednesdays and Sundays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., where an electronics recycling project, Electroacopio, which encompasses 62 area municipalities, is headquartered, and where an impressive and enthusiastic staff of educators organizes talks and movie viewings and draws attention to environmental scourges such as styrofoam and deforestation.
Seven others received the Premio Jalisco this year (including the same cash prize) in a range of areas: science, civics, culture, sports, humanities, labor and literature.
The ceremony, held at Casa Jalisco, the governor’s official residence, seemed tailored to underscore the determination of the relatively new state administration to focus on human rights and give voice to previously unrecognized citizens, such as the handicapped, the indigenous, women and others. This cycle of prizes was noteworthy partly because it honored a female athlete (Paula Fregoso Arellano, who has excelled in taekwondo) and a woman scientist (Lourdes Mónica Bravo Anaya, whose work has taken in nanovectors and DNA).
Governor Enrique Alfaro applauded the winners for “breaking paradigms and thinking out of the box,” while Secretary of Culture Giovanna Jaspersen observed that they had distinguished themselves “without transgressing unnecessarily but by adding something to their environment.”
Other winners of the 2019 Premio Jalisco were (civics) Esteban Mario Garaiz Izarra, whose work has focused on human and migrant rights; (culture) Luis Ignacio Gómez Arriola, who helped formulate Jalisco’s contributions to UNESCO’s Heritage of Humanity list; (humanities) architect Adriana Ruiz Razura, who also contributed to UNESCO’s Heritage of Humanity project; (labor) Carlos David Wolstein González Rubio, who has long worked in Guadalajara’s visitor and convention center; and (literature) poet, essayist and translator Jorge Edmundo Esquinca Azcárat.
Previous outstanding Premio Jalisco winners have been novelist Juan Rulfo, architect Luis Barragán and composer Consuelito Velázquez.
Casa Cem – Vias Verdes, Avenida Chapultepec Sur 376, Colonia Americana, Guadalajara. Website: casacem.org. Facebook: casacemgdl. Tel: (33) 3615-4499. Recycling material received Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bazar Eco-Sustentable, Saturdays, 5 to 11 p.m. For evening movie schedule, check webpage.