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Why We Migrate--Paola Speaks

Stories of Mexico's Displaced

The immigration debate, now heating up again, has revolved around border walls, deportations, and policies that have proven not only inhumane, but ineffective at resolving the undocumented migration crisis.  Surprisingly lacking from this debate is one essential question: why?  Why do millions of Latin Americans make the unlikely decision to leave their communities and cross a dangerous desert in order to live in a country with increasingly draconian anti-immigrant laws?  Why did the number of Mexicans who made this decision double after the implementation of the U.S.-pushed North American Free Trade Agreement? 

To shed some light, Paola Gutierrez Galindo is coming from southern Mexico to tell stories of her family members, of her neighbors, of the vast majority of her community who now live as immigrants in the U.S.  Paola will untangle the complex factors, including concrete U.S. economic policies, that have pushed person after person to abandon her community and come live among ours. 

Speaker:  Paola Gutierrez Galindo

Paola Gutierrez Galindo was born and raised in the community of San Lorenzo Victoria in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca. She dedicates most of her time to community organizing in her home area of Silacayoapan. Through various years of work with migrant organizations, Paola has coordinated community-based initiatives that respond to the causes and impacts of migration in local indigenous communities. 

While she has chosen to remain in her community, Paola has been surrounded by high levels of migration her entire life. She estimates that 90% of her family has migrated, many now living along the border and in California and New York. Reflecting the patterns of migration common throughout her state, Paola is the only member of her 25-person graduating class who has not migrated to the U.S.  Paola looks forward to her town’s annual festival in August as the only time to see most of her family and friends, many of whom return home then to visit.

Paola obtained an undergraduate degree in Indigenous Law from the Benito Juárez Autonomous University of Oaxaca in 2007. She is currently working on a Masters Degree in Rural Development from the Autonomous Metropolitan University in Mexico City.  Her thesis explores the impacts of migration on identity and family in Oaxacan indigenous communities. Prior to working with migration-focused groups, Paola worked with family farm organizations such as the Emiliano Zapata State Campesino Council of Oaxaca (CECOEZ by its Spanish initials) and the Democratic Campesino Union (UCD by its Spanish initials).

Paola's Speaking Schedule:

In addition to the following speaking events, Paola will visit 13 congressional offices, speak on several radio shows, and deliver her message at a major immigrants' rights rally.  After the 25th, Ana Maria Garcia Arreola, also from Oaxaca, will replace Paola for a final week of speaking events in New York City, Long Island, and north New Jersey. 

October 12, 7:00-8:00pm
American University
Kay Lounge, Kay Spiritual Life Center
4400 Massachusetts Ave., Washington, DC
Ariana Stone:

October 13, 7:00-9:00pm
Howard County Friends of Latin America
Owen Brown Community Center
6800 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD
Leslie Salgado: 410-381-4899

October 14, 9:00-10:30am
CASA de Maryland
Address TBA, Silver Spring, MD

October 15, 11:30am-12:45pm
St. Joe's University
Wolfington Teletorium, Mandeville Hall
5600 City Ave, Philadelphia, PA
Carla Desisto: 508-369-8414

October 15, 7:00-8:30pm
El Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas
66 Atlantic St, Bridgeton, NJ
Jessica: 856-881-2507

October 16, 9:00-10:00am
West Chester University
Merion Science Center, Room 113
700 S. High St., West Chester, PA
Linda Stevenson: 610-436-3162

October 16, 11:15am-1:00pm
Community College of Philadelphia
Small Auditorium: event; Teaching Center: 1pm reception
1700 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia, PA
Suzanne Kalbach: 215-751-8676

October 16, 3:30-5:00pm
Latin American Community Center
403 N Van Buren St, Wilmington, DE
Ana Velasquez: 302-655-7338  X 7696

October 18, 10:00-10:30am
Wellspring Church of Skippack
1183 Cressman Rd, Skippack, PA

October 18, 2:00-3:30pm
Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern
Treichlers, PA
Janet Golub: 610-767-1287

October 18, 7:00-8:30pm
Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster
328 W. Orange St., Lancaster, PA
Doug Burkholder: 717-380-3703

October 19, 12:00-1:00pm
United Steelworkers
Lobby conference room, Five Gateway Center
60 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA
Steffi Domike: 412-860-2548

October 19, 3:30-5:00pm
University of Pittsburgh
4130 Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street, Pittsburgh, PA
Luz Amanda Hank:

October 19, 7:30-9:00pm
Carnegie Mellon University
McKenna Room, University Center
5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA
Therese Tardio: 412-268-5947

October 20, 11:00am-12:00pm
Gannon University
Yehl Room, Waldron Campus Center
109 University Square, Erie, PA
Ellie Walsh: 412-512-3124

October 20, 7:00-8:30pm
Canisius College
Room 118, Lyons Hall (across Main St. from the Montante Center)
2001 Main St., Buffalo, NY
Wayne Alt: 716-876-3872

October 21, 11:00am-12:00pm
Rochester Institute of Technology
Auditorium 01-2000, George Eastman Building
One Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY
Diane Forbes: 585-475-6765

October 21, 6:30-8:00pm
Detention Task Force
St. Lucy's Church
432 Gifford St, Syracuse, NY
Ursula Rozum: 315-473-0216

October 22, 12:00-1:00pm
Ithaca College (Room TBA)
953 Danby Rd., Ithaca, NY
Annette Levine: 607-274-3252

October 22, 5:30-7:00pm
Saint James Catholic Church
155 Main St., Johnson City, NY
Bonnie Mando: 607-648-7171

October 22, 7:30-9:00pm
Binghamton University
Lecture Hall 10, Lecture Hall Complex
4400 Vestal Pkwy E, Vestal, NY
Bonnie Mando: 607-648-7171

October 23, 3:00-4:30pm
Hartwick College
Eaton Lounge
1 Hartwick Dr, Oneonta, NY
Jason Antrosio: 607-431-4987

October 23, 7:00-8:30pm
University at Albany--SUNY
Room 113, Humanities Building
1400 Washington Ave., Albany, NY

October 25, 11:30am-1:00pm
First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany
Emerson Community Hall
405 Washington Ave, Albany, NY
Sue DuBois: 518-465-9646