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. 

No Wall, No Registry, No White Supremacy

By: Ivanna Salgado, CRLN Immigration Organizer Intern

Were the words that were screamed with much enthusiasm by several protesters and organizations on June 15th, 2017 to push the city of Chicago to amend the Welcoming City Ordinance with no carve outs.

In 2012, Chicago passed the Welcoming City Ordinance establishing guidelines on how Chicago police interacts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), meant to limit collaboration between police and ICE, and protect immigrants from deportation.

These words...

End the embargo to help the people of Cuba and the US!

Under the guise of "helping the Cuban people," the current president has reinstated some restrictions on travel and trade that had been lifted by executive order during the Obama administration. One of the restrictions announced forbids individuals from travelling under the people to people travel category, requiring them to travel with a group. Another change forbids U.S. citizens or companies to do business with tourist sites in Cuba controlled by the Cuban military. For more information click here .

As faith communities and human rights organizations in Cuba, the U.S. and around the world have long asserted, the human rights of Cubans and the people of the U.S. would best be served by lifting all travel restrictions and finally ending the rest of the embargo. Congress needs to act to end these restrictions permanently! There are currently bi-partisan bills in the House and Senate to finally end the travel restrictions and the embargo. In Illinois we are concentrating on the House of Representatives, since IL Senators are (or soon will be) co-sponsors of the Senate bills.

Now while the restrictions are in the news, take a moment to call your Illinois Representative ( click here to find their contact info ) and ask them to co-sponsor three bi-partisan bills in the House to end restrictions on travel and trade: HR 525 , HR 442 and HR 351 . For more info on bills, current Illinois sponsors and a sample script click here .

Working together we have made a lot of progress and we will keep working until these harmful restrictions are ended!

May 2017 Human Rights Updates in Honduras

(Photo: OFRANEH, May25th; March of Indigenous and Black women in Tegucigalpa demanding a stop of the criminalization and prosecution of women human rights defenders and #JusticeforBertaCaceres )

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In March of 2017, Global Witness published a report that named Honduras as the most dangerous country in the world for human rights and environmental defenders. This caused commotion in the Honduran government and media, especially because of the involvement of government officials with transnational corporations and development projects. A few days later, two CRLN staff members and one board member traveled to Honduras in a La Voz de los de Abajo delegation. They joined many international visitors, organizations and other delegations in the country for commemoration events on the first anniversary of Berta Cáceres’ death. Our delegation saw and talked first hand with human rights defenders, leaders of indigenous communities, laborers, campesinxs, opposition members and students who explained the perils of defending their rights in Honduras. The following report reflects the demands and dangers described in the Global Witness Report and heard by our delegation in March from directedaffected communities. In Honduras, like in all of Latin America , being a environmental and human rights defender is a great danger. Read more here for May updates on human rights issues in Honduras.

TRUST Act NOW!

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( Español Aqui) CRLN is a proud supporter of the IL TRUST Act and the Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois!

The TRUST Act recently passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 31 to 21. The TRUST Act will help keep federal immigration enforcement separate from local law enforcement, will enact safe zones in communities, will help immigrant crime victims seek legal assistance, and prevent Illinois from participating in any sort of discriminatory registry. Read more HERE!

CRLN in DC!

(Español Aqui) Eight CRLN staff, board and members traveled to Washington, DC April 21-24 for the annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference and lobby days to participate in the Latin America Track: Claudia Lucero, Sharon Hunter-Smith, Linda Eastwood, Ann Legg, Dawn Condill, Frank Schneider, Ed Osowski and Lora Burge. The theme for 2017, “Confronting Chaos, Forging Community: Challenging Racism, Materialism and Militarism,” fit well with CRLN’s mission statement, updated in 2016:

“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.”

Workshops updated us on the challenges to achieving a real and lasting peace in Colombia after the passage of Peace Accords with the largest guerilla group, FARC; on the root causes and

JOIN US FOR CRLN's SPRING EVENT! Resisting Displacement: Expanding Sanctuary in the Americas

Resisting Displacement: Expanding Sanctuary in the Americas

(Español Abajo)Our communities in the Americas—whether immigrant or campesino or indigenous or Afro- descendant—are pushed off their land and sometimes out of their countries by large economic forces pursuing profits. For these forces, there are no borders. Many who are displaced are finding ways to connect with others in the Americas to resist deportation and dislocation. All seek to create safer spaces in which to live in the Americas.

Come for social time with CRLN members and staff and hear from Claudia Lucero, Cinthya Rodriguez and Sharon Hunter-Smith about how CRLN is addressing these issues and ways to get involved.

Holy Week Report Back: Expanding Sanctuary!

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(Please see below for action items.)

This year, CRLN members and partners took action during Holy Week for the campaign to Expand Sanctuary in Chicago . Participating in OCCUPY PALM SUNDAY and the GOOD FRIDAY WALK FOR JUSTICE, we urged city officials and faith communities to take concrete rather than symbolic action to end threats to immigrant communities and over-policing and criminalization of communities of color.

On Palm Sunday (4/9), we joined the LSEA (Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance), LSNA (Logan Square Neighborhood Association), CRS (Community Renewal Society), Arise Chicago, NIJFON (Northern Illinois Justice for our Neighbors), and others in the Logan Square & Humboldt Park community. We hosted a march, public prayer, and rally to call on city officials to expand sanctuary via the Chicago Welcoming City Ordinance and to amend the Fraternal Order of Police contract to reduce Chicago Police violence and use of force. Community members directly impacted by the exceptions to the Welcoming City Ordinance and police violence in Chicago, local religious and community leaders, community organizations, and Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa gathered to reenact the Palm Sunday story with a modern, Chicago-based adaptation of the moment when Jesus overturns the tables of the money changers. As Jesus entered a temple and scattered the money changers, the street theater action demonstrated the need to overturn tables of exploitation and criminalization in Chicago. With over 150 people in attendance, we gathered to urge Mayor Rahm Emanuel and local aldermen to support safety and sanctuary for all communities, and vote yes in favor of the two policies, both have already been introduced to the Chicago City Council.

HOLY WEEK 2017: EXPANDING SANCTUARY

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[ Image credit: Design Action Collective ]

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Join CRLN and our community partners in calling for Expanding Sanctuary all throughout Holy Week!

This year, Holy Week kicks off for us with the 6th Annual Occupy Palm Sunday in the Logan Square & Humboldt Park community of Chicago. We join the Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance (LSEA), the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA), and others this Sunday starting at 12:30pm to Rally and Public Prayer at Palmer Square Park (east-side of the park) at 1PM. Second, join us downtown on Good Friday for the 8TH Day Center for Justice’s Annual Walk for Justice . Join the CRLN contingent for the Fourth Station: ‘Helped in the Struggle,’ two Fridays from now from 12PM-3PM at the corner of Michigan and Congress! Each year we join together for this modern-day Way-of-the-Cross to shed light on unjust societal structures and to reflect on how we can work to dismantle them.

Colombia Peace Accords Face Ongoing Challenges

(Español Aqui) The end of 2016 and 2017 have seen the adoption of Peace Accords between the Colombian government and the largest rebel group, FARC, and a new round of Peace Talks begun between the government and the smaller rebel group, ELN. At this point, the FARC has demobilized and is moving into designated “camps,” where they will live for an allotted amount of time before being free to relocate. They have been given the right to form a political party and run candidates for public office.

However, other armed groups who were not part of the Peace Accords still roam the countryside and are moving with their weapons into the spaces that the FARC used to control. These are the right-wing successors to the paramilitary groups that were supposedly dismantled ten years ago.

Call Your Illinois Rep to Lift the Blockade!

(Español Aqui) While diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba have been reestablished and some trade and travel restrictions have been changed by executive order, the embargo remains in place and the Cuban people still experience the shortages of crucial medicines and other essential products . Imposed in the early sixties to "bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of the government” (State Department, April 6, 1960) the U.S. embargo is often called a blockade because of the widespread effects of these policies. CRLN has worked with many other organizations for more than twenty years to end these harmful policies carried...

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