Welcoming the New Director

Dear Friends,

¡Muchos saludos desde Casa de los Amigos!

I am writing to introduce you to Marco Antonio López Galicia, the Casa’s new executive director. Marco Antonio is a longtime friend of the Casa who first joined our community through his work at our partner organization, Casa Espacio Refugiados or ‘la Casita.’ There, he coordinated programs in education and protection for refugees and asylum-seekers. Originally from Mexico City and trained as a lawyer and psychologist, his personal and professional experience have always focused on human rights, peace education, and the protection of those most vulnerable. He has served on the Casa’s Board for the last four years. Marco Antonio feels that his commitment to the Casa’s mission and community is a calling, and he is excited about the possibilities for the future. I am very confident in his capabilities, and warmly welcome Marco Antonio to the team!

unnamed-2As I make the transition out as Casa director, I feel so grateful for the privilege of serving this community for almost six years. Thank you all for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading this vital, incredible place. I am taking with me so many friendships, some hard but important lessons learned, the satisfaction that the Casa is stronger than ever, and the confidence that our organization is only going to get better. I am leaving the Casa in the very capable hands of a great coordinating team and with so much local and international support. Thank you! I plan to continue to collaborate with the Casa community in a volunteer capacity, but this time from the other side of the border as I return to the United States. Marco Antonio and I will be in orientation over these next few weeks, but the Casa will not be slowing down. These are exciting times!

This year we’re celebrating the Casa’s 60th anniversary. And right around the corner we’ll be starting a one-month Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to finance the writing of “Casa de los Amigos: The Book,” a project led by the Casa’s former director, Nicholas Wright (Nico). Friday is March 18th, ‘Expropriation Day,’ marking the anniversary of President Lázaro Cárdenas’ 1938 nationalization of Mexico’s oil fields. The United States’ reaction to this decision was aggressive and bellicose. This led Cárdenas to invite the American Friends Service Committee, a US Quaker peace organization, to set up binational youth workcamps in Mexico. In the years that followed, these workcamps created friendships and understanding between Mexican and US young people in a direct and personal way. This project eventually gave rise to the Casa and continues to inspire our work and vision today.

Mil gracias y un abrazo para todas y todos,

Hayley