Amy’s first experience in Oaxaca was, as a young girl, in the early 1950s. She was a part of Franny and Leon Sciaky’s first group of eight American girls, and then had the good fortune of returning for six more summers. There she formed very strong connections with artisans a nd others who lived in the pueblos surrounding Oaxaca. At that time, almost all of the indigenous people wore the “trajes” of their village and spoke one or another dialect of Mixteco or Zapoteco, the languages of the Valley of Oaxaca. Amy’s immersion in Oaxaca was truly life-changing, and has an impact on many aspects of her life.
Amy worked as a teacher and then as a supervisor of teachers in the NYC public school system for 31 years. Although she retired prior to the large wave of Mexican immigration that has enriched the culture of New York, she recalls a harbinger of this development while walking in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens 20 years ago. Recognizing that a family she encountered was from Oaxaca, she was profoundly moved. Today, she continues to be delighted when she overhears Mixteco or Zapoteco being spoken when traveling home on the #2 train. As a kind of extension of her work in NYC schools, a number of years ago Amy and her husband Michael became involved in Centro Infantil, and organization that offers education, daytime care-taking and meals to children of elementary through high school age who world otherwise live on the streets. Michael has also sponsored the father of one child who started his education at age 11, and has now graduated from automotive training school.
Amy continues her support of Oaxacan artisans through her work with FOFA.