2016 WFPSE Speakers’ Tour: 

The Peace Process in Colombia: Marcia Mejía Chirimia Speaks about how Communities and Organizations are Working for a Better Future

Each fall, Witness for Peace Southeast coordinates a speaker’s tour in the southeast. Latin American community leaders and activists travel to the U.S. to raise awareness about key policy issues in Latin America. Past speakers have spoken out about forced disappearances in Mexico, the violence against Afro-Colombian communities, the impacts of US deportation policies on deported youth in Mexico, and fair trade in Nicaragua. The tour visits churches, universities, and community centers to share their stories and urge for reform. Latin American speakers humanize the policy issues, encouraging people to fight for policies that respect human rights and dignity.

This Year’s Speaker 
Marcia Mejia ChirimiaThis October, we will host Marcia Mejía Chirimia. Marcia is an indigenous woman leader of the Sia people in the southwestern Pacific region of Colombia. She lives between the Nonam indigenous community of Santa Rosa de Guayacán, where her family resides, and the coastal port city of Buenaventura. 

Although she grew up living calmly in her riverside community, she became a victim of the armed conflict in 2010 when her community was displaced to the city of Buenaventura due to threats from the armed groups operating in the river. After eleven months of displacement and living in a shelter in Buenaventura, Marcia and her community made an autonomous return to their territory and re-founded their community as the Santa Rosa de Guayacán Humanitarian and Biodiverse Reservation – a way of protecting their land and establishing a territory of peace only for the unarmed civilian population.

Now Marcia defends the culture and human rights of her ancestral community, especially focusing on the defense of women’s rights. She works with ACIVA, a network of indigenous communities in the Colombian department of Valle del Cauca, and she is also a spokeswoman for CONPAZ (Communities Building Peace in their Territories). Through her work as a human rights defender, Marcia works for a lasting and true peace for all Colombian communities.

Marcia will visit 5 states during 3 weeks, please contact us at office@wfpse.org or 919-951-5961 if you would like to schedule a tour stop. 

Tour Schedule – Public Events

October 2-5 (North Carolina)

  • Sunday, October 2, 10:00 am, United Church of Chapel Hill (Assembly Hall)
  • Monday, October 3, 7:00 pm, Fairmont United Methodist Church, 2501 Clark Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27605 (Bryant Worship Center)
  • Tuesday, October 4, 4:15 pm, Elon University, Elon, NC (Numen Lumen Pavilion). Facebook event

October 6 (South Carolina) 

  • Thursday, October 6, 11:00 am, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, South Carolina 29730 (Owens Hall) Facebook event
  • Thursday, October 6, 6:00 pm, University of South Carolina, 1600 Harden St, Columbia, SC 29204 (Gembrell Hall) Facebook event

October 7 (Western North Carolina)

  • Friday, October 7, 6pm, Western Carolina University, 1 University Way, Cullowhee, NC 28723 (U.C. Catamount room)

October 8-10 (Tennessee)

  • Monday, October 10, 12:00 noon, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN (Buttrick Hall, Room 123)

October 11-15 (Kentucky)

  • Tuesday, October 11, 11:30 am, Centre College, 600 W Walnut St, Danville, KY 40422
  • Wednesday, October 12, 6:00 pm, Union Church, 200 Prospect St, Berea, KY 40403
  • Thursday, October 13, 6:00 pm, James F. Hardymon Theater, David Marksbury Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
  • Saturday, October, 15, 2:00pm,  Bardstown Road Presbyterian Church, 1722 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205 (Click here for flyer)

October 16-19 (Virginia)

  • Monday, October 17, 12:15 pm, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA (American Indian and Indigenous Community Center, 122 Squires Student Center).
  • Monday, October 17, 7:30pm, James Madison University, (Miller Hall Room 1101)
  • Tuesday, October 18, 7:00 pm, Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, VA (Westroom of Drysdale Student Center)
  • Wednesday, October 19, 1:00 pm, Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, VA  (Hopwood Auditorium)
  • Wednesday, October 19, 2:00 pm, Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, VA (Hopwood Auditorium)

October 20-21 (Washington, DC)

  • Thursday, October 20, evening, Location TBD in Washington, DC
  • Friday, October 21, evening, Location TBD in Washington, DC 

Visit our facebook page for more updates on the tour.