The Board of AFGJ is an activist board meeting once a year for a retreat but taking part monthly in conference calls and regularly contributes by e-mail in working with the staff and volunteers at furthering AFGJ’s mission.
Board of Directors
Tom Baker’s background as an Iowa farmer and worker has influenced his world-view. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in secondary education with concentrations in history and economics. He was drafted from his teaching position as the Audio Visual Director at a high school in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and served two years in the Vietnam War where he was a combat photographer for the US Army 1st Aviation Brigade. Witnessing the extensive imposition of foreign capital and politics upon the indigenous people, he resolved to work toward total change of political and economic systems. Tom discovered Nicaragua in 1985-86, and began work with the Nicaragua Solidarity Committee of Chicago. He has organized numerous conferences and events, has written many newsletters, and maintains active outreach for and development of the total change he seeks.
Charlie Delaney Megeso has worked as a master mason for thirty years. He is currently an elected citizen judge in Chittenden County, Vermont. As a member of the Abenaki tribe, he has been involved in the indigenous movement for twenty-five years. He was a legal researcher for the tribal judge and served as tribal ambassador to Washington, DC. He wrote two bills that became law, concerning state recognition of indigenous tribes in Vermont. He is also a former chair of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. Over the past eighteen years he has done reconstruction work with the Miskito people on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. He works with the Miskito official representative to the US, and he serves as the North American representative of the Miskito to the United Nations and the US State Department. In 2002-2003 he was a delegate to the United Nations, representing both the Abenakis and Miskito; and he served on a committee working on the International Declaration of Indigenous Rights, ratified into international law in 2007.
Dr. Barbara Larcom earned her B.A. and M.S.W. from Ohio State University, followed by a Ph.D. in sociology from Johns Hopkins University. Her study of worker autonomy at Johns Hopkins preceded research on ethnoviolence at school and work, as Senior Research Associate in the National Institute against Prejudice and Violence. She has also served in various capacities in nonprofit administration: Client Education Manager and Social Planner at Franklin County (Ohio) Welfare Department; Executive Director of Columbia Day Care Program (Bloomsburg, Pa.); Executive Director of Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Maryland; Associate Regional Director and Interim Regional Director of American Friends Service Committee (Baltimore, Md.); and grassroots coordinator for Nicaragua Network and for Casa Baltimore/Limay, a sister-city project linked to Nicaragua. She is currently secretary and board member for Research Associates Foundation, a Baltimore-based organization which gives small grants to progressive, transformative local projects.
Dr. Arnold Matlin is a pediatrician and advocate for international child and maternal health. He has degrees from the University of Michigan, Yale University, and McGill University School of Medicine and practiced pediatrics in rural Upstate New York for 33 years. Since retirement, he has become Medical Consultant for the Livingston County Department of Health. He is Past President of the Livingston County Medical Society; is active in the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on International Health; and is Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. Dr. Matlin is a founding member and past president of the El Sauce/Rochester Ciudad Hermana Task Force. He is on the Steering Committee of the Rochester Committee on Latin America and his family funds health and education projects in El Sauce. He has received the FSLN’s 25th Anniversary medal, the highest recognition that a foreigner can receive.
Shelly Scribner has a master’s degree in special education from San Francisco State University. For over 25 years she taught babies with disabilities, ranging from newborn to three years old; and she has worked with homeless children for over 12 years. She is active with a sister-city project linking Merced, California, with Somoto, Nicaragua; and she serves on the Norcal board which represents sister cities in northern California. She has been co-chairperson of the Modesto Peace/Life Center, organizing vigils for Modesto and San Francisco.
Bob Siegel is an investment manager in private practice in New York City. He received his A.B. in International Relations from Brown and his M.B.A. from Harvard. Bob serves on the Boards of three other prominent national progressive organizations: 1) North American Congress on Latin America ( NACLA ), which publishes a widely respected journal on Latin America affairs.; 2) Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting ( FAIR ), which, since its founding in 1986, has been the nation’s leading media watchdog group documenting and attempting to counter the right-wing bias and censorship of the U.S. mainstream media; 3 ) The New York State branch of Peace Action. In 2006, he received New York State Peace Action’s highest award in recognition of his work on behalf of that organization.
Donna Leist’s first experience with political activism was during the 1960s at the University of Louisville, taught her the contradictions of simultaneously joining a sorority and the civil rights movement. She dropped out of school after two years to help care for her terminally ill mother. In the 1980s, while working at the Cincinnati Zoo and University of Cincinnati Medical Center, she became coordinator of the Cincinnati Central American Task Force, co-founded the local group People in Solidarity with Cuba, and attended the University of Cincinnati on a part-time basis. Donna served as Chair of the Board of the Alliance for Global Justice from 2003-2011. Prior to that she was chair of the Executive Committee of the Nicaragua Network, a country she first visited in 1985 and where she and her husband will be moving in early 2012.
Tim Jeffries has been an environmental, social justice, anti-intervention and solidarity activist since the age of sixteen. He majored in clinical psychology in university, and then began a career as a professional photographer in New York City. By the early 1970s, researching the CIA´s overthrow of the democratic government of Chile focused his activism on Latin America, especially Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. With two friends, Tim launched the Fairfax-Condega Sister City Project, California´s first official pairing with that country, three months after his first visit to Nicaragua in 1985. Moving to Bend, Oregon, in 1990, he then established the relationship there. As part of this ongoing work, the Bend-Condega Friendship Project has raised and donated approximately one million dollars in material aid for their Nicaraguan compañeros in Condega, Nicaragua. In his “spare” time Tim was a professional race car driver and later a racing instructor. From 2005 to 2008 Tim wrote (in English and Spanish), produced and presented a radio show of political analysis, principally addressing Latin America issues and Washington´s ceaseless interventions. At the end of 2011 he is retiring from his electrical contracting business after 40 years to live on the organic farm he and his Nicaraguan wife and daughter have in the north of their country.