Ybrahinn Cordero Rojas

Ashoka Fellow
Caracas, Venezuela
Fellow Since 2013

Citation

This profile was prepared when Ybrahinn Cordero Rojas was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Ybrahinn’s work with Artgnosis is founded around a core principle that rejects any and all types of discrimination and accompanying stereotypes. Instead, he considers an individual’s specific realities as a basis to address the severe social problems that affect them. In Venezuela there are different social organizations fighting against discrimination; yet Ybrahinn offers a novel approach and perspective that not only sets his strategy apart, but also has the powerful ability to influence other organizations. Ybrahinn first founded his citizen organization (CO), Artgnosis (Art with Conscience), in 2008 to promote new public health strategies for HIV/AIDs and STD prevention, premised on his vision of non-discrimination. This vision does not isolate vulnerable groups but instead embraces them in a holistic community, centered on personal dignity and responsibility. After having achieved widespread success with this pilot project, Ybrahinn is ready to leverage his experience and relationships across the citizen sector in Venezuela to catalyze a national 100% Discrimination-Free movement. At a time when Venezuela is polarized in all directions across society, Ybrahinn is manifesting a powerful, holistic call for cooperation.

Understanding that the problem of discrimination is common to different groups of people, Ybrahinn is creating zones that are 100% Discrimination-Free; where individuals, through relationships with people of different backgrounds, social conditions, and sexual orientation, can understand the diversity that underpins our society and thus recognize that respect is an essential pillar for development. Under Ybrahinn’s approach, people from the most vulnerable groups in Venezuela—members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, HIV-positive individuals, and those physically disabled—join forces with the mainstream population to participate collectively and to construct solutions that overcome social stigmatization and prejudice. Furthermore, such spaces are a place for non-discriminated classes to reflect on what it means to experience discrimination and to emphasize the possibility that anyone could be subject to discrimination.

Ybrahinn does not aspire to create a society that is automatically empathic toward traditionally ostracized groups. Instead he believes that the first step to achieving 100% Discrimination-Free zones will be to recognize everyone as individuals with the same rights and freedoms. After having achieved considerable success working with the most vulnerable groups, Ybrahinn is preparing the core Artgnosis team to recruit new spokespeople and trainers that can spread his proven methodology, adapted from the original “sub-group” approach, to the broader society. He is launching media campaigns and fundraising activities (i.e. marches, walk-a-thons, and the like) to promote a Venezuela 100% Discrimination-Free, and is creating a “discrimination watchdog” mechanism to monitor and denounce instances of prejudice. On a national level, his coalition is advocating for a comprehensive omnibus bill against discrimination to substitute the existing piecemeal laws that only denounce certain types of discrimination (i.e. racial or sexual orientation). Such a law would codify Ybrahinn’s conviction that dividing discriminated groups weakens them, while uniting every person and mainstreaming them is the most powerful force against prejudice.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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