Marichu Antonio is a pioneering leader, innovator and risk taker with over 47 years of experience working passionately in community development. She is a strong advocate of social justice, human rights and equity for all citizens.
Marichu is Executive Director of Action Dignity (previously Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary or ECCC), a community-based organization that promotes full civic participation and integration of ethnocultural communities. As Executive Director for nearly eleven years, Marichu’s leadership has transformed ActionDignity into a strong platform organization that serves to amplify the collective voice of over 80 culturally diverse groups and organizations. These empowered communities play a key role in transitioning public institutions and in advocating for public policies that are responsive to racialized communities.
Since moving to Canada 24 years ago in 1996, Marichu is a trailblazer for many initiatives and provided leadership to important community endeavours. She has also contributed to various publications, among which are Better Together, Charity and Non-Charity Partnership Manual and Toolkit for Community Hubs, published by Enough for All Strategy.
Marichu came to Canada from the Philippines and got her first job as Community Development Coordinator at the Centre for Newcomers on her third month as a newcomer. Working there for 13 years, she founded EthniCity Catering, an innovative social enterprise that opens opportunities for newcomer refugees and immigrants to share their special talents while gaining employment experience.
Marichu is a proud recipient of the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and Avenue Magazine’s A-List of Volunteers in 2009 in recognition of her contributions towards strengthening communities.
Marichu enjoys being an active citizen of Canada with her spouse Cesar Cala, who are now grandparents to three beautiful and bubbly children.