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Why We Migrate--Ana Maria 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, Ana Maria Garcia Arreola is coming from southern Mexico to tell stories of her friends, of her neighbors, of the vast majority of her community who now live as immigrants in the U.S. Ana Maria 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:  Ana Maria Garcia Arreola

Ana Maria Garcia Arreola is a native of the capital city of Oaxaca, one of the southernmost states in Mexico—a state that over 250,000 people leave every year to migrate north. Ana Maria identifies strongly with her family and cultural roots and considers herself an activist for the basic rights of all people, especially the many indigenous groups of her home state. Ana Maria has dedicated her professional life to fomenting institutional changes that she deems necessary for constructing a more just and inclusive society, one in which forced migration has no place.  To this end, she helped found EDUCA (Services for an Alternative Education), a nonprofit organization seeking to defend the rights of the marginalized of Oaxaca. 

Throughout her years of work with family farmers and indigenous communities, Ana Maria has had to watch many fellow Oaxacans make the difficult decision to head north toward an indefinite future.  She works with community leaders to respond to increasing economic, social and political exclusion—the root causes of the area’s high rates of migration. Through EDUCA’s Indigenous Rights Project, she coordinates trainings and workshops, establishing long-term projects to strengthen the sources of livelihood that will help prevent further forced migration.

Ana Maria has participated in numerous other community-based initiatives to confront these same realities, including acting as a consultant for a United Nations Program on development in indigenous regions. She has a B.A. from the Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca and has received specialized training in the area of strengthening civic organizations.

EDUCA:  Founded in 1994, Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA) is a non-governmental organization that responds to the needs of people in situations of economic, social, and political vulnerability—primarily indigenous people, family farmers, and women. EDUCA supports Oaxacan indigenous communities and organizations by defending the right to civic participation, observing electoral processes, and studying indigenous legal systems. 

Ana Maria's Speaking Schedule:

(Ana Maria's schedule is the second chapter of the "Why We Migrate" tour, kicked off by Paola Gutierrez Galindo, who spoke to two dozen audiences across the Mid-Atlantic.)

October 27, 9:30-11:30am
Stony Brook School of Social Welfare
Student Activities Center Auditorium
1000 Nicolls Rd, Stony Brook, NY
Charlie Robbins: 631-444-3164

October 27, 3:00-4:30pm
Adelphi University
Center for Recreation and Sport, Campbell Lounge
1 South Avenue, Garden City, NY
Sarah Eichberg: 516-877-4418

October 27, 8:00-10:00pm
Montclair State University
Room 1020, University Hall
1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ
Jhon or Kevin: 973-655-7033

October 28, 12:00-1:00pm
Drew University
Seminary Hall, Rm 101
36 Madison Ave, Madison, NJ
Jim Burchell: 973-765-9102

October 28, 4:00-5:15pm
Hofstra University
The Greenhouse (030B), Student Center
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
Charlene: 631-747-2234

October 28, 7:00-8:30pm
Shinecock Tribal Council
Southampton High School Auditorium
141 Narrow Ln, Southampton, NY
Sandra: 516-767-5754

October 29, 12:15-1:30pm
City University of New York Law School (Room 260)
6521 Main St, Flushing, NY
Lauren Dasse: 520-444-4586

October 29, 8:00-9:30pm
Metro Baptist Church
410 W. 40th St., Manhattan, NY

October 30, 2:30-4:00pm
Latin America Forum, The New School
Room 509
66 W. 12th St., Manhattan, NY
Christine: 310-849-4494

October 30, 7:30-9:00pm
Unitarian Universalist Church at Shelter Rock (Social Hall)
48 Shelter Rock Rd, Manhasset, NY
Claire Deroche: 516-627-6560, Ext. 177