Welcome to the homepage of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN).  The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) stands in solidarity with those oppressed by poverty, violence and exclusion in this hemisphere working together for the respect of human dignity and empowerment of all peoples.  An interfaith network of individuals and communities, CRLN equips and mobilizes religious leaders, communities and individuals to advance peace, justice and human rights in our hemisphere.

 
 
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"Adelante CRLN! A Tribute to Gary Cozette" Celebrates Gary's Human Rights Work

On June 13, over 150 people gathered to celebrate the human rights work of Gary Cozette on the occasion of his retirement from CRLN. For 30 years, Gary has engaged in solidarity with organizations representing those who suffer from poverty, violence and social and political exclusion in Latin America, beginning with his years serving as a lay missioner and human rights accompanier in El Salvador with the Presbyterian Church; continuing with his return to Chicago, work with the Chicago Metropolitan Sanctuary Alliance (CMSA) and founding of CRLN; the eventual merger of CRLN with CMSA; and his work as program director within an expanded CRLN staff. He won wide admiration for the effectiveness of his advocacy,for his ability to motivate people to work to change U.S. policy toward Latin America, and his responsiveness to the concerns of partner organizations in Latin America. His persistence and integrity are legendary.

Gary will now be free to pursue other interests, although he has indicated that he will always be involved in the movement for justice in Latin America. He spoke at the event of the importance of attending to the issue of climate change, a movement in which he is already involved. We wish him well and can't wait to see what he does next!

Here are some pictures from the event:

Honduran and Guatemalan Social Movements Protest Government Corruption; U.S. Continues Government Aid

For several months, activists, campesinos , students, and trade unionists—this time joined by middle-class and business people--have engaged in hunger strikes, marches with torches, protests in front of government buildings, and calls for the resignation of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina. Everyone is fed up with official stealing from the public coffers. Hundreds of millions of dollars from the Social Security Institute have been stolen by officials in Honduras crippling the public health system. CICIG, the UN commission charged with uncovering the connections between organized crime and the government, has issued statements that it has hard evidence that the President and Vice President were at the head of a graft scheme that cheated the state out of tax revenue for social programs and funnelled bribes to multiple Guatemalan officials. Political parties have used pilfered public funds and donations from organized crime to fund the majority of their election campaigns.

Religious Leaders Welcome Embassy Openings and Continue to Work to End the Embargo of Cuba!

As religious leaders welcome the historic reopening of embassies in the U.S. and Cuba they are continuing to advocate for the end of the embargo and the remaining travel restrictions. Rev. Raul Suarez (pictured at left), director of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Havana, called the opening of embassies in Cuba and the United States a very positive historical step. He noted that religious communities in Cuba and the U.S. have worked hard for a moment like this and continue to work for the end to the blockade. Bishop Oscar Cantú, chairman of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has lauded progress toward reopening the embassies as a “positive development” in a June 22 letter to members of Congress and urges legislators to support bills in Congress to end the embargo and travel restrictions.

We are not deterred: TPP is the next fight

(Photo credit: AP) After two long years of our uphill battle against Fast Track and the TPP, we've finally gotten to the 2016 election season (which, yes, starts mid-2015). After the latest round of TPP negotiations failed in Hawaii a couple weeks ago, fair-trade activists everywhere are beginning to suspect that the TPP is no longer a tenable issue for members of Congress to touch, given that their parties are trying to win the White House in 2016 and the TPP remains wildly unpopular. In the coming weeks, we'll be listening closely for news of new TPP negotiating rounds and the possibility that the text could be finalized before it becomes more of an election issue than it already is. The Hawaii rounds showed us the immense discord between negotiating countries, with Canada already in elections & pushing its dairy restrictions, Japan protecting its rice crops, Mexico wanting more access to the auto industry, and the U.S. demanding strict protections for pharmaceutical corporations (among other corporate interests).....

Celebrating the Unaccompanied Children's Interfaith Ministry

In partnership with Heartland Alliance, the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants (ICDI), and Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants, the CRLN is proud to coordinate the Unaccompanied Children’s Interfaith Ministry.

For almost two years the UCIM has put faith to action, providing pastoral care in children's centers and, in doing so, touching the lives of hundreds of unaccompanied chilren arriving at our border in search of safety and refuge. Celebrate the work accomplished and commit to continue fighting for refugee migrant children. Join volunteers, faith leaders, and staff for an evening of celebration, testimony, ministry, and advocacy!

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Save the date! 2015 Pedal for Peace Bike-a-thon, Saturday, September 26, 1:00-4:30!

Come join CRLN, Chicago-Cinquera Sister Cities, Chicago-Guatemala Partnership, Concern America, and La Voz de Los de Abajo and ride in the 28th Annual Pedal for Peace Bike-a-thon! All money raised will go to support education, health and community organizing projects run by rural communities without many financial resources in El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia and Honduras. While they lack funds, our Latin American partners are skilled and capable at knowing their own needs, setting their own goals and priorities, and organizing themselves to accomplish what they set out to do. All organizations participating in this event have long-term, ongoing relationships with these Latin American communities.

Llan Carlos Davila of CODIDENA to speak October 13-16!

Question: What do Durango, Colorado, and Santa Rosa de Lima, Guatemala, have in common?

Answer: They are both threatened by the water pollution, toxic waste, and other environmental damages that can be caused by metallic mines located near their communities.

Question: What can communities in the U.S. learn from Guatemalan communities about how to organize against mining operations that threaten them?

Answer: Come hear Llan Carlos Davila speak when he is in Chicago and find out!

CRLN is pleased to work with the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) to set up speaking engagements in the Chicago area for NISGUA's 2015 Fall Speaking Tour , which will feature the work of the Diocesan Committee in Defense of Nature . Llan Carlos Davila, the speaker, will be accompanied by NISGUA's Guatemala Programs Coordinator, Ellen Moore, who will translate for him. You can find a list of events open to the public here .

Ending Mass Incarceration: The Ongoing Call to Faith Communities

By Janis Rosheuvel from the United Methodist Women and CRLN leaders Pastor Lilian Amaya and Lissette Castillo, published on CommonDreams: The crisis of incarceration this nation now faces demands people of faith act with swift and fierce moral authority to transform, not just reform, an irreparably broken system. It demands that all of us—clergy, seminarians, teachers, and people in pews, mosques and temples— provoke a revolution of values that strikes at the heart of mass incarceration. Without exception, we believers are required to realize a just world. This is our call, and...

CRLN is Hiring!

Know someone with great administrative, facilitation, and database managment skills who has a passion for CRLN's work? Help us find the right person to join our dedicated staff!

We are seeking a temporary Administrative Assistant to support our growing staff. The position will begin August 17, 2015 and end February 12, 2016, with the possibility for extension. This is a full-time 40 hr/week position that includes some evening and weekend hours for staffing Board meetings and committee meetings, and the running the registration table at CRLN events. Staff members receive comp time for working these hours.

Click below to see the full job description!

Fast Track Cloture Passes Senate: What's Next for TPP Fight

Today’s Fast Track vote in the Senate was a tough loss. After first stopping Camp-Baucus last Congress, and then defeating the original Ryan-Hatch bill in the House a week-and-a-half ago, Fast Track proponents were able pull enough procedural maneuvers and make enough promises that Fast Track received cloture by a single vote, 60 - 37. This means the Fast Track bill cannot be filibustered in the Senate and will likely pass into law in the coming days. Still, our movement has a lot to be proud of. We went up against a united front of Wall Street, K Street, the White House, and Republican leadership and still came just a few votes from victory.

Stay tuned on upcoming efforts to defeat the TPP in real-time by ‘liking’ CRLN’s facebook page to follow our updates.

We stood for the rights of sovereign nations like El Salvador to choose clean water over corporate profits. We stood for the rights of communities throughout Latin America to NOT migrate. We stood for the rights of workers worldwide to not have to compete with each other for less exploitation so that the richest in this world can further enrich themselves.

And we almost won this round. Our tireless efforts have set the groundwork for the next fights to come.

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