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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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. 

PEACE IN COLOMBIA: Final Accords Include Ethnic Chapter

Español aquí Photo: Government and FARC negotiators finalize details of the Peace Accords where the Ethnic Chapter will be included

After four and a half years of preliminary and formal negotiations and 52 years of war, the Colombian state and FARC guerillas have concluded their peace negotiations and finalized the Peace Accords.

This moment is certainly historic and will mark the first experience of official peace ever experienced by many Colombians. And while we celebrate an end to the fighting between the Colombian state and FARC guerillas, we also know that the months and years to come will be deeply challenging as real peace is hopefully established for the many sides of Colombian society, not just these two sides of the armed conflict.

CRLN first heard about the finality of the Accords on Tuesday, August 23rd, when our partners at Black Communities’ Process (PCN, their acronym in Spanish) alerted us that the agreements would be signed without the inclusion of an ‘Ethnic Chapter’ . For years, African descendant and Indigenous communities have been fighting for a place at the negotiating tables and have organized themselves into an Ethnic Commission constituted by the National Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA), the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), and the High Government of Indigenous Authorities.

The Ethnic Commission is crucial to a successful and sustainable peace, because much of the peace process concerns rural land that is ancestral territory to the disproportionately African descendant and Indigenous survivors of displacement and violence.

Call & Tweet TODAY! Afro & Indigenous Peoples for Peace in Colombia!

Early this morning, CRLN got word that the Colombian Government and FARC guerillas are hoping to finalize the Peace Agreements today or tomorrow without considering the inclusion of an Ethnic Chapter. For years, organized African descendant and Indigenous communities have demanded a place at the negotiating table in Havana. Over the past five decades, violence has disproportionately affected African descendant and Indigenous peoples, especially women. Although some of the issues affecting Ethnic peoples--such as land distribution--have been discussed, their proposals have not been factored into the final Accords, thus marginalizing those who have the most at stake in what peace actually looks like.

CRLN, as part of the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network (ACSN), has been supporting the demands of Afro and Indigenous Colombians and continues to do so today by releasing the statement below to decision makers in the U.S. and Colombia. To support lasting peace in Colombia and the work of Afro & Indigenous communities, make a call and send a tweet TODAY !

Join us! Únase a nosotrxs! Encuentro at the Border: Oct 7-10

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This October 7-10, join us in Nogales, Arizona for our first bi-national convergence at the U.S./Mexico border to demand a fundamental shift in U.S. foreign policy.

This year's vigil in Nogales is a response to the present-day call to solidarity.

The border mobilization in Nogales is one more way to fight for the closure of the School of the Americas, and to work towards a world that is free of suffering and violence. We cannot forget that many of our immigrant brothers and sisters are survivors of U.S.-sponsored atrocities in Latin America. In calling attention to the militarization of the border, we continue to demand an end to state-sponsored terrorism and violence against our communities on both sides of the border.

Take Action on Jose Juan's Third Month in Sanctuary

Today, Jose Juan, the father of 5 US citizen, completes his third month in Sanctuary at University Church in Chicago, a CRLN member congregation. Although he has called Illinois home for more than 17 years, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants to separate him from his family and community because seven years ago Jose Juan made a mistake and drove after drinking. Although he has paid all his fine and fees and has shown deep remorse, ICE has refuse to exercise discretion to stop his deportation. Today, Jose Juan remains determined to fight to stay with his family. In his third month of Sanctuary, will you please show your support by signing his...

Make a Call! HR 5474 Calls for Suspension of Military/Police Aid to Honduras

( Español aquí ) Rep. Hank Johnson, joined by Illinois Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Danny Davis, and Luis Gutierrez, are co-sponsors of HR 5474, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Bill , named after the assassinated Indigenous Honduran environmental activist. This is the first piece of legislation since the 2009 coup that would immediately suspend U.S. security aid to Honduras until the military and police perpetrators of human rights abuses are brought to justice and until the Honduran state meets certain human rights standards.

The bill is now in the process of gathering co-sponsors and CRLN has notified Illinois Representatives. Now we need your help!

Click here to find your member of the House of Representatives, call their office in Washington DC, ask for the Foreign Policy staffer, & tell them or leave the following message:

I’m calling to ask that Rep. _________ co-sponsor H.R.5474, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act . My community does not want our tax dollars funding death squads in Honduras. Instead we want a full and independent investigation into the murder of Berta Cáceres, prosecution of the intellectual and material authors of her murder, and the establishment of democratic systems of justice in Honduras in order to protect the rights of hundreds of political activists under attack all over the country.

The text of the "Dear Colleague" letter Rep. Johnson sent to his fellow legislators contains more details. It is printed in its entirety below.

Chicago: Protect Immigrant Residents, Amend Welcoming Cities Ordinance!

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Last week, the Supreme Court failed immigrant communities. The City of Chicago can still do right by its immigrant communities by enacting much needed changes to its local policy.

In 2012 Chicago passed its Welcoming Cities Ordinance, but today many of its immigrant residents remain vulnerable to police/ICE collaboration and abuse. The Chicago Immigration Policy Working Group, of which the CRLN forms a part of, wants to strengthen the ordinance to include:

  • Prohibiting city employees, including police officers, from using

  • ...

7 Years Later: Tell Senator Durbin & the House of Reps to Cut US Security Aid to Honduras Now!

( Español aquí ) On June 8th, Tomás Gómez Membreño, General Coordinator of the Popular Indigenous Council of Honduras (COPINH), delivered a message to Senator Durbin’s Chicago office asking that he immediately hold all security aid to Honduras, which numbers in the tens of millions of US taxpayer dollars annually. Honduras maintains a 95% impunity rate while The Guardian newspaper recently reported credible allegations that Honduran military personnel maintained a hit list with Berta Cáceres—cofounder of COPINH and one of the most internationally well-known indigenous rights defenders in Honduras—at the very top. Despite this evidence and ongoing pressure from Illinois activists and community members, Senator Durbin’s office has failed to respond.

Today, Tuesday, June 28th marks 7 years since the U.S.-backed military coup in Honduras with hundreds of human rights defenders assassinated; political activists, dissidents & organizers increasingly criminalized; and the growing militarization of the civilian police force with no political will to follow the rule of law. This week, the Senate’s State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs) Subcommittee will be in a markup period for their Appropriations bill. Senator Durbin, as an SFOPs member has the power to recommend that 100% of U.S. security aid to Honduras meet human rights conditions. Senator Durbin also has the power, as a ranking Democrat on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, to immediately place a hold on all security aid to Honduras pending that human rights violations by Honduran security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice.

1. Call Senator Durbin’s office today at 202-224-2152, ask for the foreign policy staffer and tell them or leave the following message for them:

Immediate Reactions to SCOTUS DAPA/DACA Decision

Supreme Court Strikes Down Immigration Executive Actions; Chicagoland Faith Communities to Continue Organizing and Fighting Deportations

Thursday morning the Supreme Court delivered its decision on Texas vs. US, a Republican-led lawsuit against the deferred action programs announced in November, 2014. After years of intense fighting and organizing to push President Obama to take action and waiting more than a year for this moment, immigrant communities have once more been let down by institutional and political gridlock.

Despite widespread agreement by legal and constitutional experts that the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood...

Take Action! "Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act"

(Español aquí) On Wednesday, June 15th, people all over the world demonstrated outside Honduran Embassies and Consulates in solidarity with the Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). It was COPINH’s Global day of Action for Justice for Berta and demonstrations occurred in over 30 cities across the world.

Meanwhile, after much grassroots organizing and pressure, Representative Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) introduced H.R.5474, the “ Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act ”. We have a powerful and rare legislative opportunity to demand an immediate hold on all U.S. security aid to Honduras, which is currently fostering death squad activity directly linked to Berta Cáceres’ assassination.

To act now, click here to find your member of the House of Representatives, call their office in Washington DC, and ask to speak to the Foreign Policy staffer. If they are not available, you can leave them the following message or if you catch them in the office, you can tell them the following:

“I’m calling to ask that Rep. _________ support H.R.5474, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act . My community does not want our tax dollars funding death squads in Honduras. Instead we want a full and independent investigation into the murder of Berta Cáceres, prosecution of the intellectual and material authors of her murder, and the establishment of democratic systems of justice in Honduras in order to protect the rights of hundreds of political activists under attack all over the country.”

Report back & Day of Action: Solidarity with Honduras & COPINH!

( Español aquí ) Last Wednesday, Indigenous COPINH leader Tomás Membreño was in Chicago talking to our community about COPINH’s struggle, making demands of Senator Dick Durbin, talking with Jerome McDonnell of Worldview, and continuing to demand justice for Berta and for the people of Honduras.

CRLN helped draft and deliver a letter to Senator Durbin during a morning press conference downtown asking that he use his power as a ranking Democrat on the Defense Subcommittee of Appropriations to immediately withhold all security aid to Honduras. CRLN first made this ask in April when we visited Senator Durbin’s office and delivered a letter signed by dozens of faith, lay and CRLN leaders from Illinois. (See both letters attached below!)

While we continue working to follow up with Senator Durbin and pressure him to withhold all security aid to Honduras, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) has called for an international day of solidarity this Wednesday, June 15th, 2016.

Join the world in a day of action for Berta Caceres!

11:00AM-1:00PM, Honduran Consulate:

4439 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60639


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