1998 Alumni

Tony Macias

1998 ITF Intern, SC Primary Healthcare Association, Columbia, SC
Update from February 2011

I'm Tony Macias, former ITF Intern (1998, best year ever) and also a former Staffista. For the past year + I've been working here in Mexico as a part of the international team with Witness for Peace, a nonprofit organization dedicated to working in solidarity with the Latin American people as they struggle to end US-influenced militarism and economic violence. Our organization was founded as a nonviolent response to US involvement in Nicaragua in the early 80's and nowadays works throughout Latin America to be a witness of the impacts of free trade agreements, US military intervention (disguised as drug war policy), the roots of migration, resistance, and creative alternatives to the neoliberal model.

The best part of my job is leading groups of US Citizens here in Southeast Mexico as they meet with people whose lives are most affected by a US-imposed economic policies and militarism. Each 10 day delegation we host is like a mini-ITF, where each group shares a potent learning experience and commits to using their voice and influence to act in solidarity with the people they meet. Part of my job is to lead workshops on US-Mexico relations, economic policy, power and privilege, and popular education. I also get to interpret for some of the brightest and most inspiring speakers that Mexican civil society has to offer – all in the service of creating a transformative delegation experience. We finish each delegation with a full day of action planning so each person who makes the trip here can reach their full potential as a witness and and advocate for social change once they return home.

In fact, you may have heard that the SAF staff came down here at the beginning of the 2011 for a staff retreat and short delegation on the roots of migration. We had a total of 7 people here from SAF and met with several organizations that brought a variety of perspectives on the realities of Mexican and Central American migration, the roots of poverty and injustice in Oaxaca, the importance of community and culture in southern Mexico, and the efforts that local movements are making to create alternatives to migration.

If you're interested in finding out more about Witness for Peace delegations or job opportunities, feel free to contact me at mexico@witnessforpeace.org, and definitely check out our website for the full story: www.witnessforpeace.org. There you'll find lots of detailed information about all the places we work and the issues that are most urgent, as well as some pretty great multimedia. Definitely check out our Roots of Migration and Migrating Toward Understanding videos on the Mexico page!

Tony Macias
ITF Intern 1998
SAF Assistant Director 2004-2009