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CRLN is a member of the national Honduras Solidarity Network, which put out a statement recognizing today as the 9th anniversary of the U.S.-supported coup in Honduras. 9 years later, the oligarchy that initiated the coup has consolidated its power and democratic norms have eroded.

Click here to read the statement and to take action on three items:

  1. Sign an Amnesty International action alert to free political prisoner Edwin Espinal
  2. Send an email to demand fundamental changes in U.S. policy on Honduras
  3. Ask your Representative to cosponsor the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (in Illinois, Reps. Rush, Lipinski, Gutierrez, Quigley, Davis, Schakowsky, and Foster are already co-sponsors)

 

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2018 Pedal for Peace Bike-a-thon

Beneficiary groups and project descriptions

 

 

Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)  

Founded 29 years ago, 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. Because CRLN has dedicated restricted funds for travel scholarships and for the support of human rights defenders, Pedal for Peace donations will go for general operating support of our regular programming.

Contact person: Sharon Hunter-Smith, shunter-smith@crln.org

 

 

Chicago-Cinquera Sister Cities  

Cinquera, El Salvador, is a small community of around 3,000 people in the central part of the country.  In 1992, Cinquera, which had been abandoned during the horrific civil war, was repopulated after the peace accord.  Chicago-Cinquera Sister Cities has been working with a progressive community organization, the ARDM, for many years.  This year, the ARDM has again designated Pedal for Peace donations for the scholarships of five college students who are majoring in computer science, agricultural engineering and education.  The donations will cover their enrollment fees, tuition, transportation, food and housing.  During and upon completion of their studies, the students have made a commitment to live in and work on behalf of the Cinquera community and to support the scholarship program for future students.

Contact personJim Hoover, jimmyishere@hotmail.com

 chicago-cinquera.org

 

Chicago-Guatemala Partnership  

Saq Ja’, Guatemala, is a rural Mayan community of around 50 families located in the western highlands.  The army burned the community in 1982 during the civil war, killing half of the people.  The remaining people fled, and returned after the Peace Accords in 1996.  After much hard work, the community succeeded in building a primary and middle school to educate children through 9th grade.  The Chicago-Guatemala Partnership, which has accompanied the community since 1999, will again designate this year’s Pedal for Peace funds toward support for the middle school and scholarships for those going on to higher levels of schooling.  Saq Ja’s own scholarship committee will make the final decisions on which students to fund.

Contact person:   Mary Naftzger, maryandbob.n@sbcglobal.net

 

 

Concern America (C/A)

The Pedal for Peace Bike-a-thon will support C/A’s community-centered health and leadership program in rural Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities in the isolated and war-torn Chocó region of Colombia, providing primary health care services to 20,000 people previously without access to such services. This innovative and successful model, known as Health Promoter Practitioners (HPPs), engages the most valuable resource in every village: the people themselves. With a depth of knowledge, skills, and ability to provide health care comparable to the work of nurse practitioners in the U.S, HPPs are able to successfully meet 80% of the community’s health care needs. Funds received from Pedal for Peace will help cover expenses related to the health courses, Teaching Clinic, and community visits, led by the team of advanced HPPs, as well as the visit from Advanced Practitioners from Guatemala.

Contact  person:  John Straw, jstraw@concernamerica.org

 

 

La Voz de los de Abajo   

La Voz de los de Abajo has worked in solidarity with campesino and indigenous organizations in Honduras for nearly 15 years on community radio projects, human rights accompaniment and supporting initiatives by small farmers and their organizations. Since the coup in June 2009, it has also organized multiple delegations from the U.S. to Honduras to provide human rights accompaniment to the organizations and communities resisting the coup.  2017 Pedal for Peace funds will be sent to the only hospital in the African-descended Garifuna territory founded and run by a Garifuna doctor, Dr. Luther Castillo, who with his staff of other young Garifuna physicians have treated well over 400,000 patients free of charge since 2007. In addition, Pedal for Peace funds will be sent to the National Center for Rural Workers (CNTC), which provides legal and organizational accompaniment to thousands of campesinos struggling for land and land reform.

Contact personVicki Cervantes, vickicervantes@yahoo.com

 

 

Autonomous Tenants Association  

The ATU is a tenants collective, whose mission is to support and defend the rights of tenants in Chicago through collective organizing. More particularly, the ATU seeks to enable tenants across the Chicago area to understand their rights as tenants, as well as to benefit from collective organizing in order to prevent illegal lockouts, request repairs and lease-agreements, and provide defense against eviction. When tenants come together to demand solutions to these problems, landlords are confronted with a greater economic threat and are more willing to reach a settlement.  The ATU was formed by tenants in Chicago to protect and create collaboration among all tenant members to put a stop to the process of gentrification and forced displacement of low-income working class residents of our communities.

Contact person: Antonio Gutiérrez, gutierrez.atu@gmail.com

 

 

 

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Contact SHunter-Smith@crln.org by June 20th to sign on! See copy of letter to Senator Durbin below. An identical letter will be sent to Senator Duckworth. 

 

June 21, 2018

Senator Richard J. Durbin
John C. Kluczynski Federal Building
230 S. Dearborn St., #3892
Chicago, IL 60604

Dear Senator Durbin,

We write to you as leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim congregations and Organizations in the Greater Chicago area to ask that you personally contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to request a stay of deportation and release on order of supervision for Yesica Jovel (A-208276158). Her family, who have a pending case for asylum, is sponsored by Lake Street Church in Evanston. Yesica’s situation concerns us greatly for the following reasons:

1) First and foremost, as people of faith, we are grounded in our religious practices of welcoming the immigrant and the stranger. Our scriptures enjoin us to have the same laws governing immigrants that we have governing ourselves, to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves, to treat others as fellow children of the one God. We find ourselves living in a time and a place when immigration policy and enforcement practices are most egregiously counter to these tenets of our faith.

2) In Yesica’s case, we are alarmed that although her entire family had been threatened with death by MS-13 in El Salvador after gang members killed Yesica’s father, only Yesica’s mother and two brothers were allowed to come to Evanston to apply for asylum, while Yesica was separated from her family at the border and
coerced by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to agree to deportation. This strikes us as an unfair application of the law as it pertains to asylum seekers; ICE took advantage of Yesica’s youth and inexperience to frighten her into agreeing to deportation, which is at the root of all that happened next. Our faith, in contrast, calls us to be particularly attentive to and protective of the most vulnerable among us.

3) In El Salvador, she went to live with relatives and was sexually abused by an uncle. She moved in with other relatives, but he kept hunting her down. MS-13 also learned that she was back in El Salvador and began persecuting her again. Finally, in desperation for her life, she fled again to the U.S., hoping to be reunited with her family. She was detained after crossing the border in Texas and has remained in detention for two years, despite the best efforts of Lake Street Church members and her lawyer to have her released. We believe she had no choice but to leave her
country given the threats against her life; given the trauma she experienced, she needs the comfort and care of her family to heal. Nevertheless, ICE and the courts in Texas, so far, have only focused on the fact that she crossed the border twice, instead
of questioning ICE’s separation of the family. Her lawyer is still appealing that ruling.

4)As a survivor of sexual assault, persecution, torture and the murder of her father, and as a lesbian,Yesica is a member of several protected social groups under international asylum law. We believe that Attorney General Sessions’ announcement last week removing membership in several of these social group categories as valid considerations for asylum puts the U.S. at odds with international law, with U.S. asylum case law since the 1990’s, and certainly goes against our religious mandate to care for the welfare of all God’s children. We hope that you and others in the Senate will challenge Attorney General Sessions’ new ruling on who qualifies for asylum.

 

We strongly support Lake Street Church’s efforts to advocate for a stay of deportation and release from detention for Yesica Jovel. We appeal to you to use the power of your office to personally contact ICE officials on behalf of her release so that the suffering of this young woman can end.

Sincerely,

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On Sunday, Guatemala’s volcano Fuego erupted twice with explosive force, sending ash skyward upwards of 15 kilometers and releasing lava and 100 m.p.h. pyroclastic flows that buried communities close to it.  At present, more than 3,200 people have been evacuated, but the death toll is at 69 and expected to increase.

 

We’ve listed below links to trustworthy organizations in Guatemala that are doing direct relief work and receiving donations to help assist with buying medicine, cleaning supplies, and clothing; rebuilding homes and communities; and other aspects of disaster relief. Some of these organizations are also posting daily updates on their work.

 

Common Hope: https://www.commonhope.org – click on the “For more information” in the red bar. There is a donation link at the bottom of the information.

 

Wings:  https://wingsguate.giv.sh/6a14

 

Friends of Guatemala: https://www.facebook.com/fogrpcv/posts/1638548842927425?hc_location=ufi – earmark “Volcan de Fuego” (donation button is on the facebook page)

 

Alticultura: https://www.gofundme.com/Alticultura – earmark donations for “Volcan de Fuego”

 

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