WFPSE Board of Directors


Our work would not be possible without the support and guidance of our Board of Directors. We are indebted to their time and commitment. Thank you!!!

Scott Davis

scottdavisScott grew up in the mountains of North Carolina before venturing east to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  There, he studied English and Creative Writing until graduation in 2013.  Since then, he has worked and volunteered for a variety of progressive nonprofits, focusing mainly on voting rights and environmental issues.  He has also worked in publishing.  In addition to his nonprofit work, Scott is a freelance writer, and has had both fiction and non-fiction published across an array of media outlets.

Angel Iset Dozier

angel dozier 2016

Angel Iset Dozier is an activist, creative, educator and founder of Star Curricula & Iset Excelsior, two education initiatives with missions to connect marginalized learners to their own creativity and to equitable opportunity. Angel was first exposed to the impact of colonialism and the erasure of African influences in Europe, Africa and Latin America when studying abroad in Madrid and Morocco in 1999. She has since served as a world languages instructor, an education generalist and curriculum specialist within public, private and Montessori school systems, as well as at the university level. She holds dual degrees in Exercise & Sports Science for Pre-Physical Therapy and Spanish, a Masters of Education and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Angel’s primary interests lie in building arts & culture-filled, exceptional, wholistic schools for the under-served.

Chelsey Dyer (Treasurer)

26d4d61Chelsey is an anthropologist with a passion for Colombia, human rights, and social justice. She received her Master’s of Anthropology from George Mason University. She currently studies the influence of U.S. economic policies and military strategies  on Colombia. Chelsey went to Colombia on a WfP delegation in August 2013 and observed the impact of Free Trade, militarization, and conceptions of modernity and development enforced by the Colombian government. She wishes to continue on to get a PhD in anthropology. Chelsey was born and raised in Raleigh, NC and currently studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN

Desmera Gatewood

imageDesmera Gatewood graduated with an English and Writing Composition degree from North Carolina Central Universty in 2013. As an undergraduate student Desmera began her work with Witness for Peace by participating in a delegation to Oaxaca, Mexico.  Since, Desmera has done social justice work with NC NAACP as a Moral Freedom Summer organizer and the Southern Vision Alliance. In 2015, Desmera traveled with Witness for Peace on a delegation Cali, Colombia.  Desmera is passionate about community development and coalition building.  In addition to her work with Witness for Peace, Desmera also serves on the board of Durham Cares.  In addition to community organizing, Desmera enjoys spending time with her daughter and indulging in local art scenes.

Gail Phares

WFPSE founder Gail PharesGail Phares is one of the co-founders of Witness for Peace and a long-time leader in the Southeast region. For thirty years, Gail has devoted her life to activism and social justice. She lived and worked in Nicaragua and Guatemala as a Maryknoll Sister. She has led 60 delegations to Latin America over the past thirty years.  She holds a MA in Latin American Studies from the American University in Washington, DC.

Bekah Torcasso

Bekah Torcasso 12.16Bekah is a North Carolina native committing her life to social and ecological justice through all means. As a sociologist, she is finishing her dissertation at Washington State University– exploring how campesin@s (peasant agriculturalists and farm workers) work towards building real utopias within the North American and global contexts. Bekah has been working in the food industry and social movement arena since she was twelve years old. She first began to understand the relationship between the US state and farmers, workers, marginalized communities through an interest in fair trade and coffee farming across the Americas and African diaspora. Bekah has had the privilege to travel and learn from comrades across much of the world including India, Central America, Botswana and South Africa. She hopes to hold her communities of privilege accountable to themselves and others through critical education, action and reflection. Bekah also sustains a passion for animals, biodiversity, rock climbing, artistic creation, and board games.

Ariana Vigil (Board Co-Chair)

VigilCrop Ariana E. Vigil is an assistant professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Born in Ohio to parents of Jewish and Mexican ancestry, she has lived in New York, Texas, Nebraska, and Mexico. She moved to Carrboro, NC in 2011. Ariana’s academic and personal interests are deeply tied to the work of Witness for Peace. While completing her PhD at Cornell University, she wrote a dissertation exploring the role of U.S. Latina/o artists and activists who worked in solidarity with Central American peoples during the U.S.-backed civil wars of the 1980s. That work was later expanded into a book, War Echoes: Gender and Militarization in U.S. Latina/o Cultural Production, published by Rutgers University Press in 2014. She has travelled throughout Central America – including Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama – to conduct research and regularly spends time in Mexico City.

Emily Zucchino (Board Co-Chair)

Emily Zucchino Emily graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2008 with degrees in Political Science and Sociology. A service learning trip to Honduras in 2007  sparked her interest in the impacts of U.S. policy in Latin America.In 2009 she received a Fulbright grant to study and teach in South Korea for 2 years. She worked at WFPSE as Associate Director between 2011 and 2014, and currently works at the Dogwood Alliance in Asheville, NC. She passionately supports WFPSE’s model of transforming people through delegations to Latin America and transforming policy through a strong network or organized and empowered individuals. She has led delegations to Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Cuba.


2017 Spring Intern

                                 This Spring we have a Program Intern  supporting our Spring Pilgrimage for Justice & Peace.

Niccolo RodittiNiccolo Roditti is a junior at North Carolina State University double majoring in International Studies and Psychology with a minor in French. He was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador but grew up living in Charlotte, NC. Niccolo’s family immigrated when he was two years old and his experiences as an immigrant in America is what made him interested in foreign policy, human and immigration rights. Last semester he studied abroad in Paris, France and was an intern for Benenova, a humanitarian non-profit.  Niccolo’s interests in equity for all people in particular the disenfranchised are what lead him to apply for Witness for Peace Southeast and he is really eager to begin collaborating with the team.