Welcome to the homepage of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN).

Mission: The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)  builds partnerships among social movements and organized communities within and between the U.S. and Latin America. We work together through popular education, grassroots organizing, public policy advocacy, and direct action to dismantle U.S. militarism, neoliberal economic and immigration policy, and other forms of state and institutional violence.We are united by our liberating faiths and inspired by the power of people to organize and to find allies to work for sustainable economies, just relationships and human dignity.  

Misión en español: La Red de Líderes Religiosos de Chicago para Latinoamérica (CRLN) construye alianzas entre movimientos sociales y comunidades organizadas en EE.UU. y entre los pueblos de las Américas. Trabajamos juntos por medio de la educación popular, la organización de base comunitaria, la promoción de políticas públicas, y la demostración no violenta pero energética para desmilitarizar nuestras sociedades, crear alternativas a la economía neoliberal y desmantelar la política de inmigración de EE.UU, y otras formas de violencia institucional y de Estado. Estamos unidxs por nuestras fes liberadoras e inspiradxs por el poder de la gente para organizar y encontrar aliadxs para trabajar por economías sostenibles, relaciones justas y la dignidad humana.

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DID YOU KNOW?  CRLN has monthly E-Digests! Get informed about our events, solidarity work, immigration and Latin American news and much more!             

Want to sign up? Email shunter-smith@CRLN.org with "E-digest subscription" in the title or sign up here.

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CRLN gratefully acknowldges the support of the following Foundations: Crossroads Fund, Helen Brach Foundation, Landau Family Foundation, Pierce Family Charitable Foundation and Woods Fund of Chicago. 

Resist U.S.-funded Militarization in Honduras TODAY (Español abajo)

(Español abajo) This week will mark eight months without justice in the assassination of Berta Cáceres. Her murder in March of this year was an escalation against Honduran social movement leaders in an already violent environment rampant with impunity. Meanwhile, Honduran social movements continue at great risk to resist the militarization of their communities with U.S. security aid. There have been...

Support the Historic Black Women's Gathering in Colombia!

( Español aquí ) ​CRLN along with the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network have launched a fundraiser to support the first Afro-Diasporic gathering of Black women in Colombia. Join that work by clicking here to donate today (any amount helps!) to make sure that more than 160 black women from Honduras, Brazil, Colombia, & the U.S. can participate in this gathering & create a collective agenda from, by & for black women and their communities.

Support the National & International Gathering of Black Women Caregivers of Life and Ancestral Territories in Colombia : Thursday, November 17th through Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Through this weekend of presentations, workshops, inter-generational exchanges, cross-cultural dialogue, art, conversation and skill shares, over 160 Black women from across Colombia, Honduras, the U.S. and Brazil will create a collective agenda from, by and for Black Women for the collective care of life and ancestral territories with a local and Afro-diasporic focus.

Help us raise $10,000 USD to make this important gathering a reality! Any amount helps!

$10 covers breakfasts for one participant for the length of the gathering

$20 covers lodging for one participant for the length of the gathering.

$50 funds travel for a delegation from within Colombia

$100 helps cover press work to disseminate the gathering’s platform

$200-800 helps toward getting an international delegate to the gathering


On November 17th, 2014, dozens of Black women from southwest Colombia mobilized a 400 mile march from Cauca to Bogotá, called the called the ‘ Black Women’s Mobilization for the Care of Life and the Ancestral Territories ’ to demand the respect of their territorial rights. When the Colombian Government refused to negotiate in good faith the Black Women’s Mobilization for the Care of Life and Ancestral Territories occupied the Ministry of Interior to force government officials to demanding the removal of armed illegal mining activities that continue to steal the intergenerational source of accessible gold deposits, poisoning rivers, and threaten their lives and long-term displacement of their families from their rural ancestral lands.

WTO Court Rules in Favor of El Salvador!

(Español Aquí) The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Trade Organization (WTO) court, ruled on October 14 on a lawsuit for $250 million brought by Pacific Rim against El Salvador for loss of potential profits after their petition for a gold mining permit was denied. The favorable ruling is in part testimony to the tenacity of religious, community, and environmental groups in El Salvador, who insisted that water quality and people’s...

2016 Annual Pedal for Peace!

(Español Abajo) Thanks to everyone who signed up to ride 12 or 24 miles along the Chicago Lakefront Bike Path and collect contributions and pledges to support health, education and community organizing in Latin America and Chicago. Thanks also to those who volunteered at the registration and refreshment tables. You made our 29 th Annual Pedal for Peace Bike-a-thon on September 17 a lively and rewarding event!

Click here to see photos from the event....

CRLN at the Border: SOA Watch Convergence Report Back

( Español aquí ) This past weekend, CRLN sent a delegation of 9 activists to the SOA Watch Border Convergence in Nogales/Sonora. The group included educators, organizers, migrant justice advocates, international solidarity activists, and artists. We participated in a Friday night action at the Eloy Detention Center, one of the largest, private detention centers run by the Correction Corporation of America (CCA), in Eloy, Arizona. We gathered at the border wall to remember those taken from us by militarism and state violence. We learned from dozens of leaders and organizers from across the hemisphere in the weekend’s workshops and even co-lead our own workshop attended by over 40 participants. Below is a recap of the weekend’s powerful events plus pictures. Thanks to everyone who supported us with thoughts, energy, resources, and prayers!

Colombia Voted No: A Complicated Picture & the Path Ahead

( Españ​ol aquí ) Photo: Jesús Abad Colardo / archive SEMANA CRLN, along with many in the international community and our partners in Colombia, is surprised and saddened by this weekend’s NO vote on Colombia’s proposed Peace Accords. The final count came down to 50.21 percent ‘NO’ and 49.78 ‘YES’, a difference of 53,894 votes. The turnout was 37 percent, out of 34 million eligible voters.

The motivations of NO voters are myriad and complicated, some not knowing what was actually in the accords, some feeling excluded from the peace process, some seeing the Colombian state giving too many concessions to FARC guerillas, especially voters in FARC strongholds. Meanwhile, in areas where the worst massacres of the war were committed, like Bojayá, 96% of the voters cast their ballots for ‘YES’. Likewise, in regions with the most intensive ongoing conflict, the majority of people voted in favor of the Peace Accords.

CRLN welcomes Claudia Lucero as Executive Director

(Español Aquí) CRLN’s board and staff are delighted to announce the appointment of Claudia Lucero as Executive Director of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America! Her first day on the job will be September 19. We eagerly anticipate introducing her to you personally at CRLN events this fall, starting with the Pedal for Peace Bike-a-thon this Saturday, September 17, and we think that you will come to appreciate the many qualities and skills she brings to our organization.

Claudia is a visionary leader of immigrant-led organizations locally and nationally, drawing on her experience as a Mexican immigrant and adding a transnational perspective focused on social justice and human rights. Her strong record of skillfully building alliances and drawing diverse people and organizations together for collective action will enhance CRLN’s ability to expand its network and have a greater impact.

National Call-In Day: Take 3 Minutes to say NO TPP!

( Español aquí ) The TPP is back and rearing its ugly head. You’ve probably seen in the headlines lately all sorts of political posturing (typical of election seasons) toward the TPP. Regardless of what they say to the press, organizers are bracing for members of Congress to bring the TPP to a vote during the lame duck session… unless we make sure our Representatives are opposed!

Take 3 minutes to call your Representative to either thank them for opposing the TPP or urge them to say NO to this corporate-crafted trade deal! (‘Thank you’ messages help immensely to ensure your Rep won’t flip after Election Day!)

Fight for Justice for the Garcia Family, Demand an Investigation NOW!

[Español aqui ]

Earlier this year, Chicago Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents deported the Garcia family, an Illinois family of four, using extremely disturbing tactics.In the case of...

Read CEPR's Press Release: “Have US-Funded CARSI Programs Reduced Crime and Violence in Central America?”

CRLN has worked since its inception to defund U.S. military aid to Latin American countries because of its use to prop up dictators, to foment coups against democratically elected governments, and to suppress civilian groups working for social justice and human rights. After 2000, our concern included police aid, too, because of the militarization of civilian police forces that routinely engaged in systematic human rights abuses.

For this reason, CRLN is wary of the Alliance for Prosperity (AFP), a $750 million/year plan to address the structural issues in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala that led to the mass migration of unaccompanied children to the U.S. Fully 46% of that funding will go to the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), created in 2010, which has militarized the fight against organized crime in that region and coincided with increased levels of violence. Even in fiscal year 2016, before the AFP has been implemented, $349 million dollars has been allocated for CARSI, up from $170 million in fiscal year 2015.

Now the Center for Economic and Policy Research has published a study that gives weight to CRLN’s concerns about funding for CARSI. You can read a press release, which includes a link to the full report, here.


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