Speaker Bios

West Coast Tour

Gustavo Vilchis, a native of neighboring state of Guerrero arrived in Oaxaca as an independent photographer, seeking to cover the people’s resistance and provide coverage alternative to that offered by the commercial media. He has collaborated extensively with the Liga Mexicana de Derechos Humanos (Mexican League of Human Rights). Many of his photographs and his testimony are featured in the book. View a slideshow of his work here.

Melissa Mundt coordinated CASA Chiapas from 2004-2006 and laid the groundwork for CASA Oaxaca. She now works for Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project providing legal services to detained immigrants in Arizona.

Mid West Tour

Gustavo Vilchis (see above)

Rachel Wallis was coordinator of C.A.S.A. de la Paz from 2003-2004, and has been a member of the C.A.S.A. Board ever since. She currently works for USLEAP, a Latin America labor solidarity organization, and is a member of the ChicagOtra Collective.

East Coast Tour

Silvia Hernández, a sociology student active in the barricades and in the defense of Radio Universidad when it was under attack by state police, continues to actively organize for autonomous spaces and alternatives to the state’s neo-liberal development plans. She was arrested on July 16, 2007 when the Oaxacan social movement sought to occupy the Guelaguetza auditorium to carry out the traditional Guelaguetza festival, and spent nearly a month as a political prisoner. She belongs to VOCAL— Voces Oaxaqueñas Construyendo Autonomía y Libertad (Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty).

Chris Thomas spent two years collaborating with groups working in the Zapatista autonomous school system, developing teaching materials and working to reinforce the ongoing development of community educators in the region. He coordinated CASA Chiapas from 2006-2007 and can generally be found somewhere between New York and Mexico.