- March 28, 2018
- 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
The seeds for Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno's commitment to social justice and drug policy reform were planted during her childhood, which she spent mostly in Peru. That commitment was fueled in her adult life by her work at Human Rights Watch, where she pressed the organization to more directly address the war on drugs as a human rights issue. As a result, in 2013 Human Rights Watch became the first major international human rights organization to call for decriminalization of the personal use and possession of drugs and global drug reform more broadly. It was through this work that she first began to research Colombia, where drug profits fueled massacres and official corruption.
Her narrative non-fiction book, There Are No Dead Here: A Story of Murder and Denial in Colombia, is the story of three ordinary Colombians who risked everything to reveal the collusion between the new mafia and much of the country's military and political establishment: Jesús María Valle, a human rights activist who was murdered for exposing a dark secret; Iván Velásquez, a quiet prosecutor who took up Valle's cause; and Ricardo Calderón, a dogged journalist who is still being targeted for his revelations. Their groundbreaking investigations landed a third of the country's Congress in prison and fed new demands for justice and peace that Colombia's leaders could not ignore.
Join Maria for a conversation about her life and work, and explore the stories of these unsung heroes whose resistance changed their country.
Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno is the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Previously, she held several positions at Human Rights Watch, including as the organization's senior Americas researcher, covering Colombia and Peru, and as the co-director of its US program. She grew up in Lima, Peru, and now lives in Brooklyn.
Brady Morales-Woolery is a Bay Area based actor and screenwriter. He has performed in dozens of plays, movies and commercials and has served as an emcee and interviewer for a number of Bay Area events. Onscreen he can currently be seen in the film, Pushing Dead, which will be in theaters this spring. As the son of a Guatemalan immigrant, he is deeply concerned with issues in South and Central America as well as immigration issues in the USA. He is currently working on a screenplay about the United States' involvement with the United Fruit Company and their overthrow of Guatemala's popularly elected president in the 1954. He holds a BA in Drama from UC Berkeley. Learn more about Brady at bradymwoolery.com.