CRLN is glad to announce a special event in partnership DePaul Art Museum and host Human Rights defenders for a discussion on the legacy of Central American activism and solidarity in the 1980s, its influence in Chicago and the work for Human Rights today. International Solidarities: Panel with Current Central American Humanitarian Defenders will happen on Wednesday, April 19 at 6pm at the DePaul Art Museum. Our dear colleagues Daysi Funes, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Centro Romero, Yesenia Portillo from CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) and Mario Venegas, a Human Rights defender from Chile with the Chicago Torture Justice Center and a torture survivor himself will participate in the panel. The event will be co-moderated by Lydia Saravia, faculty at DePaul University, both Lydia and Mario are CRLN board members and will add their unique experiences and thoughts to the event. Jhonathan F. Gómez, Latin America Program Coordinator will co-moderate the event. This event is directly related and a way for the people of Chicago to respond to the art exhibit ART FOR THE FUTURE: ARTISTS CALL AND CENTRAL AMERICAN SOLIDARITIES, which opened at the museum on March 23 and will be remain there until August 6, 2023. The exhibit “¨¨¨focuses on the seminal 1980s activist campaign, Artists Call Against US Intervention in Central America. Growing out of the friendships, solidarity networks, and political organizing amongst artists and activists such as Daniel Flores y Ascencio, Lucy Lippard, Doug Ashford, Leon Golub, and Coosje van Bruggen”.

This event is also presented in partnership with DePaul University’s Center for Latino Research and the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse.

Please register here.
‣ Additional information here.

Contact Jhonathan F. Gómez at to learn more.

We also recommend this video by PBS NewsHour on the exhibit

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Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2023 (Virtual)

Swords into Plowshares: Achieving Enough for all and Pursuing Peace

Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) from April 25-27 is an opportunity for people to come together, learn about why public policy is important, and take our message to Capitol Hill. Workshops are a highlight of EAD, providing opportunities to hear more from partners about their work on specific justice issues. 

EAD will include opportunities for worship, advocacy training, and workshops on Latin America (see two of the workshops below)Visit the EAD website to learn more about the event.

You can register at Registration fee is $50.00. All the sessions from EAD are available on the platform for a month after EAD so if you are busy on those days you can still access the presentations.

Please contact Marilyn McKenna at if registration fees are a barrier to your participation or for more information. 


Latin America Workshops at Ecumenical Advocacy Days

Cuba:  End the violence of sanctions and build a better future for the Cuban People

Cuba is facing one of the worst economic crises in its history. And while the Cuban people are suffering, the US continues to pursue counterproductive and ineffective policies that only serve to make the situation worse.  The Cuban people are facing shortages of clean water, medicine, and medical equipment, and the price of food has skyrocketed.   At the same time, it is nearly impossible for U.S. humanitarian and faith organizations to provide humanitarian aid to the Cuban people.  Private businesses and entrepreneurs who were thriving under the opening of restrictions under the Obama administration have been decimated in recent years.  And hundreds of thousands of Cubans have attempted to migrate to the US through the southern border because they see no hope in remaining on the island.   While Congress must ultimately pass legislation to end the embargo, the Biden administration can take measures to ease restrictions imposed by the Trump administration. Join this workshop to hear from our partners on the ground and experts in US Cuba policy.  Learn what you can do to advocate for the Cuban people and an end to counterproductive US policies towards the island.

In Search of Safety: The Shrinking Asylum Space and Challenges for Asylum Seekers at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Faced with wars and other acts of violence that plague so many nations, individuals are often forced to make the difficult decision to leave their home country and seek asylum. In this workshop, we will learn about the experience of asylum seekers who come to the U.S. and the current efforts by the faith community to restore U.S. asylum.  We will share how the lack of peace and security in home and transit countries present particular challenges for today’s asylum seekers, highlighting Honduras as one case example. This workshop will be moderated by Susan Krehbiel of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.


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Widening the Circle Breakfast – Opening Your Space to Asylum Seekers in Chicagoland 

Asylum seekers risk everything in the hopes of finding protection and welcome in the United States. In the first year of arriving, few needs are more crucial than finding a safe and reliable home to stay in for a while. As more and more asylum seekers arrive at our city’s doorstep, there is a very urgent need for the wonderful people of Chicago to open their spaces to their newest neighbors.
Do you belong to a faith community or organization that might be willing to provide temporary housing for asylum seekers? Would you perhaps be willing to host an asylum seeker in your home, or support a group that is providing space to our newest neighbors in need?

Come and learn how to make it happen from several faith communities, organizations, and individuals who have opened their space and hearts to asylum seekers throughout Chicagoland!

Register at

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This resource guide is a helpful introduction to passionate faith communities, organizations, and community members interested in providing temporary housing (3 months to over one year) to our asylum-seeking neighbors. Providing a safe and welcoming place for asylum seekers to call home for a while is a beautiful way to put our faith and belief in humanity into action – to love our neighbors as ourselves. It is also a powerful expression of solidarity amidst a complicated, and often unjust immigration system. 

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The 14th Annual El Pueblo Canta Concert

April 29, 2023 at 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM CST

In Person & Live Streamed Concert
Co-sponsored by American Muslims for Palestine Chicago, Centro Romero, CRLN, and Wellington UCC and in solidarity with Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East and Bright Stars of Bethlehem El Pueblo Canta: A Concert to Celebrate the Movement for Immigrant Justice, Un concierto para celebrar el Movimiento para la Justicia al inmigrante. For the fourteenth year El Pueblo Canta brings people together from across the city to celebrate our diversity, embolden the work for immigrant justice, and embrace the belief that who we are, is greater than any fear. All proceeds benefit the work of immigrant justice. El Pueblo Canta will be an In Person & Live Streamed Concert.

In Person:

  • Tickets can be purchased ahead of time through registration or at the door.
  • COVID protocol – masks optional
  • Doors open at 5:30 PM – Traditional Latino and Middle Eastern food for purchase.
  • Concert 7:00 PM – 8:30PM.
  • Event held at North Shore Baptist Church, 5244 N. Lakewood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640 (click here for map).
  • Parking:  Plenty of residential street parking available.  No parking lot at the church.

Live Stream:

  • Tune in 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM CST
  • Tickets are appreciated in order to receive the link for the livestream.


2023 Concert Featuring Music by:

Alhurya Dabka (dance) group

Dare2Dream, Centro Romero Youth Choir & Donald Ortega

El Wadi Ensemble, featuring Anita Darwish and Hassan Salameh

Wanda I. Pabellón-García

Wellington Community Choir





More information / Más detalles del evento

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CRLN joins Alianza Americas & their 50+ member organizations in demanding that the authorities of #Michoacán and #Colima take all necessary actions to locate #humanrights defenders, Ricardo Arturo Lagunes Gasca, a lawyer, and Antonio Díaz Valencia, leader of the Indigenous community of Aquila, #Mexico. State officials must guarantee protections for people defending ethnic territory and the environment. 

Read our full letter here 

Join us by signing the petition

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Chicago Il a 01 de febrero de 2023

Embajadora Reyna Torres Mendívil

Cónsul General de México en Chicago


Apreciable Embajadora

Alianza Americas, es una red conformada por 56 organizaciones de la sociedad civil dirigidas por personas inmigrantes latinoamericanas y caribeñas radicadas en Estados Unidos de América, nos dirigimos a usted con la finalidad de que, a través suyo, haga llegar nuestra preocupación al presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrados, sobre la desaparición de los defensores de derechos humanos, el profesor Antonio Díaz Valencia y el abogado Ricardo Arturo Lagunes Gasca.  Sabemos que ambos han sido víctimas de secuestro y desaparición forzada, hecho que se perpetró cuando los dos  se trasladaban al Estado de Colima, después de haber salido de una asamblea comunitaria que se realizó en el auditorio comunal del municipio de Aquila, en el Estado de  Michoacán.

La última vez que sus familias tuvieron contacto con ellos fue el pasado domingo 15 de enero a las 18:50. Posteriormente, la camioneta en la que se trasladaban, fue encontrada en la carretera federal conocida como zona de topes de Cerro de Ortega, municipio de Tecomán, estado de Colima, presentando impactos de bala, sin que ellos fueran localizados al interior ni a los alrededores, por lo que se presume que tanto el profesor Valencia como el abogado Ricardo Lagunes fueron privados de su libertad por desconocidos, situación que pone en grave riesgo su integridad física y psíquica y su vida.Tenemos conocimiento de que, en dicha asamblea, entre otras cosas, se abordaron temas relacionados a la operación de la mina de hierro Las Encinas, propiedad de la empresa transnacional Ternium. De acuerdo con información de la comunidad, desde marzo de 2012 la empresa ha incumplido con los compromisos económicos y sociales asumidos con los 465 comuneros, incluyendo un acuerdo del pago de regalías por la extracción del mineral.[1] Además, tenemos conocimiento que hasta el momento, la comunidad de Aquila, no cuenta con representación comunitaria elegida democráticamente y que, de acuerdo con información de la comunidad, estaba previsto que las elecciones ejidales se realizarán en el mes de febrero y que Antonio Díaz es un fuerte candidato para ganar la representación. 

[1]  Aquila: autoridades acusan a minera Ternium de incumplir compromisos.

Cabe señalar que la mina es un actor económico y político que tiene mucho poder en la región y que, de acuerdo con información de la propia Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH), se presume que la presencia de la mina ha generado graves divisiones entre la comunidad.[1]

En este sentido, desde hace aproximadamente cuatro años, Ricardo Arturo Lagunes Gasca, fundador de Asesoría y Defensa legal del Sureste, se encuentra acompañando legalmente a la comunidad para obligar a la empresa a cumplir con lo convenido, mientras que Antonio Díaz Valencia, como líder comunitario, acompañaba a Ricardo en el proceso de documentación y en el establecimiento de diálogo con la comunidad para que tuvieran conocimiento de las estrategias legales a seguir.

Esta situación es para nosotros de suma gravedad sobre todo porque su desaparición se da en un contexto en el que distintas personas defensoras del territorio y del medio ambiente han sido

víctimas de delitos y amenazas a sus vidas.[2] En los últimos 3 años, más de 50 personas han sido asesinadas,[3]además de que se han documentado diversas agresiones como intimidación,

hostigamiento, amenazas y agresiones físicas contra otras personas. Además, es conocido que parte de la estrategia que han implementado las empresas mineras para continuar con la explotación de minerales, consiste en incumplir sus compromisos en perjuicio de la comunidad que comúnmente termina dividida.[4] Asimismo, se ha documentado que es frecuente que estas empresas realicen acuerdos con grupos de delincuencia organizada con el fin de sembrar temor y desarticular los procesos de exigencia y defensa de los derechos comunitarios. 

Desde nuestras organizaciones tenemos conocimiento de que las familias de Ricardo y Antonio, así como diversas organizaciones defensoras de derechos humanos, han implementado diferentes acciones de denuncia, logrando incluso que, el Comité contra la Desaparición Forzada de Naciones Unidas, expidiera una acción urgente al gobierno de México para que implemente una estrategia articulada de búsqueda de Ricardo y Antonio de la cual sus familias deben ser parte y deben estar notificadas de todos los avances.

Por lo anterior, es que nos dirigimos a usted para que haga llegar nuestro llamado urgente al presidente de México para que se realicen las siguientes acciones:

1. Que en cumplimiento con las medidas cautelares emitida por el Comité contra la Desaparición forzada, la Fiscalía General de la República (FGR) realice las investigaciones correspondientes para dar con los responsables de la desaparición de Ricardo Arturo Lagunes Gasca y el profesor Antonio Díaz Valencia, agotando todas las líneas de investigación incluidas las que puedan estar relacionadas con la conflictividad generada en la zona por la presencia de la empresa minera Ternium.

2. En consecuencia, haga un llamado urgente para que las fiscalías generales en los Estado de Colima y de Michoacán, realicen las acciones de investigación correspondiente en articulación con las líneas de investigación identificadas por la FGR.  

3. En el mismo sentido, se verifique que la Comisión Nacional de Búsqueda (CNB) realice todas las acciones necesarias para localizar con vida a Ricardo Arturo Lagunes Gasca y al profesor Antonio Díaz Valencia, fortaleciendo sus estrategias en conjunto con las Comisiones estatales de búsqueda de los Estados de Colima y Michoacán.

4. Solicite al gobernador de Michoacán y a la gobernadora de Colima, brinden toda la información de contexto sobre violencia y presencia de grupos de delincuencia organizada que operan en sus estados para facilitar las investigaciones penales que se están realizando y que, asimismo, realicen todas las acciones de seguimiento para verificar que tanto las fiscalías como las comisiones de búsqueda,  colaboren y participen activamente en la investigación y acciones de búsqueda en coordinación con sus homólogas a nivel federal. 

5. En particular, pida al gobernador de Michoacán que solicite al Presidente municipal de Aquila que proporcione toda la información de contexto y de presencia de grupos de delincuencia organizada que operen en el municipio y sus alrededores, con el fin de acercar la mayor información posible que permita a las FGR construir y fortalecer sus líneas de investigación. 

6. Se garantice la integridad y seguridad de las familias de Ricardo y Antonio, así como de la comunidad de Aquila que se encuentra realizando actos de protesta tanto en carreteras como en las instalaciones de la minera. 

Agradecemos de antemano su comprensión y la facilitación para que nuestras preocupaciones lleguen a manos del señor presidente, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.


Claudia Lucero Durango Unido en Chicago 

Yolanda Avila Colectivo de Mujeres Trasnacionales

Hayde González Cambiando Vidas

Giselle Rodríguez Center for Immigrant progress

Angela Zambrano Red de líderes y organizaciones de migrantes en EEUU (RedMx)

[1] CNDH. Informe especial sobre los grupos de autodefensa en el Estado de Michoacán y las violaciones a los derechos humanos relacionadas con el conflicto. 2016. Disponible en

[2] Desaparecen a activista contra mina en Guerrero.

[3] México: 58 defensores de ambiente y territorio fueron asesinados en los últimos tres años.

[4] La minería, transformación


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by Claudia Lucero & Juan Carlos Hernández

The foreigner who resides with you must be to you like a native citizen among you; so you must love him as yourself, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.  –Leviticus 19:34

Other than calling for justice for those at the bottom of society, there is perhaps no social issue addressed more in scripture, especially the Old Testament, than the admonishment to “welcome the stranger” and to treat the foreigner the same as the citizens of your nation.  It is of little surprise that this is a central theme given the long years of sojourning through the desert experienced by the Jews.  As a result, the three Abrahamic faith traditions place a high emphasis on the just treatment of the migrant.  Other faith traditions have similar principles.  How appalling is it then that people who claim to be people of faith are the very ones at the heart of persecuting the stranger?  That stark and shameful reality reached an apex with the recent callous shipping of migrants from Texas to locations across the United States, often to places that were, at least initially, not prepared for such a political stunt and who could offer limited resources for the newcomers.  Yet that act of fear and hate was met with acts of love in the places where these migrants arrived.  Chicago was one of these places and CRLN was at the forefront of efforts to welcome the stranger. 

New arrivals sent from Texas to Chicago arrive at the welcome center after resting for the night in a local shelter. Municipal and state authorities teamed up with nonprofit groups to welcome these immigrants to Chicago.

The economic and political conditions in Central America in particular, and throughout the Americas, continue to be the generator of millions of refugees and displaced persons.  Certainly, there have been positive developments in the past year.  The triumph of democracy in Honduras, Colombia, Chile, and Brazil is to be celebrated.  But so much of the Americas, especially our closest neighbors in Central America face abominable levels of poverty and repression at the hands of governments who are increasingly in the mainstream of reactionary right-wing populism, a global political movement.

The current governments of Guatemala and El Salvador are perfect examples of this.  Alejandro Giammattei, president of Guatemala, and the country’s former head jailer ironically spent time in one of the jails he managed, as he was complicit in an inmate massacre.  Is it any surprise that his answer to Guatemala’s deep social problems is more violence? This has led to the undermining of the nation’s limited democratic mechanisms like the courts, and increased budgets for the police and the military, support the U.S. is all too happy to encourage and aid. 

In El Salvador, President Nayib Bukele is known primarily for two things: gambling on the nation’s economy by embracing cryptocurrency, and a law-and-order crackdown that quite literally has put every young male in the country in danger of death or jail.  Thousands of Salvadorans languish in prisons that can only be described as hell on earth. 

Nonprofit groups set up a processing center for new arrivals to begin the intake process. Immigrants were able to receive health support and begin a legal evaluation process at the center.

Large political questions must always be viewed from the ground up, from the perspective of people who must live with the consequences of policies made by people in government. That was again made clear this past year. The people of Venezuela have suffered from the current economic conditions in their country made worse by the sanctions imposed by the United States. The sanctions have decimated their economy. And so, like their brothers and sisters in Central America, Venezuelans have been forced to migrate. They have walked to other countries throughout the hemisphere, including the United States, to where they hoped to find new opportunities. Since last year, thousands have crossed into the country. Certain politicians have made them into political pawns hoping to stir up anti-immigrant feelings, and certainly, they have. However, these actions have also stirred us into action, love, and solidarity!

CRLN has been one of the key organizations in advocating for the best wrap-around services for these newcomers. CRLN staff and members were at the welcome center when the first group of migrants was processed on September 2nd. We yelled, “Welcome!” and shook their hands as they took their first steps toward settling into their new home, Chicago. We listened to their stories and experiences. We connected with them and helped them see that we would stand with them in solidarity.

A group of newly arrived immigrants begins the intake process in Chicago. Immigrants were able to receive care and begin processing their cases at the city’s welcome center.

CRLN was present for four reasons: 1) our long history of advocacy work. 2) a staff who have firsthand knowledge of the difficulty of migration and 3) our Sanctuary Working Group, which has been accompanying immigrants and asylum seekers for the past two and a half years. And number four is YOU, our supporters, members, and our network. You make our work possible! Be assured that we will continue to accompany and advocate for and with our immigrant brothers and sisters. Since 2020, we have accompanied more than 100 people from Africa and Latin America.

With our congregational partners, we have helped people to gain a foothold in our country and create a stable life. Because this need is constant, we are hoping to expand our hospitality work in the new year by renting a property and hiring new staff to help us better accompany people in that space. It is an exciting development for CRLN and one we hope you will support by donating online at or by downloading the donation form and sending it with your check to our office.

Please join us in making manifest our faith by “welcoming the stranger”.


Claudia Lucero, Executive Director

Juan Carlos Hernández, Immigration Program Coordinator

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Christina Perez (she/ella), PhD, is an Associate Professor of Sociology, Director of Study of Women & Gender and Latinx/Latin American Studies programs, and the author of Caring for Them from Birth to Death: The Practice of Community-Based Cuban Medicine (2008). She has a long history of activism and solidarity against racism and homophobia in the United States, and for economic and social justice in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Cuba, El Salvador, and Venezuela. For over twenty years, Perez has worked with FLACSO-CUBA (Latin American School of Social Sciences) and the University of Havana. She develops academic programs to Cuba for undergraduate students through Dominican University and educational solidarity tours in Cuba for the general public at Sol y Luna Educational Travels & Tours. 

Christina Perez (she/ella), PhD, es Profesor Titular de Sociología, Directora del Programa de los Estudios de Mujeres y Género y Directora del Programa de los Estudios Latinx/Latinoamericanos. Es autora del libro, Cuidar desde el nacimiento hasta la muerte: la práctica de la medicina cubana basada en la comunitaria (2008). Dr. Perez tiene un largo historial en la militancia y solidaridad con movimientos contra el racismo y la homofobia en los Estados Unidos, así como en la justicia económica y social en América Latina y el Caribe. Ha desarrollado proyectos académicos y solidarias en Cuba, El Salvador y Venezuela. Pérez ha trabajado y colaborado durante más de veinte años con FLACSO-CUBA (Escuela Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales) de la Universidad de la Habana. También ha desarrollado programas académicos en Cuba para estudiantes universitarios de la Universidad Dominicana, así como giras solidarias educativas en Cuba para el público en general a través de Sol y Luna Educational Travels & Tours. 

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Margot Worfolk has committed her life to working for peace with justice for all God’s children, especially those who are left out and pushed out by unjust political and economic systems. She first became active with CRLN in 2000 by participating in a delegation to El Salvador, marking the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Monseñor Oscar Romero. There, she fell in love with the courageous Salvadoran people and their struggle for justice, and she also fell in love with Joe Houston. On a later delegation, Margot and Joe were married on a beach in El Salvador! Together Margot and Joe continued to support the work of CRLN by participating in delegations to El Salvador and Cuba, the annual vigils calling for the closing of the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas, and public policy delegations to Washington DC. On one of the DC delegations, Margot met with Republican Congresswoman Judy Biggert, who became convinced to co-sponsor legislation calling for the de-funding of the SOA.  Margot was an active board member of CRLN for many years. She represented CRLN at literature tables at events, called members, and invited tables of friends to CRLN events. Staff frequently sought out Margot for her ability to support staff transition planning.  Margot had many leadership roles on the CRLN Board of Directors, including serving as Chair during the search process for CRLN’s next director. Under her wise and thoughtful leadership, CRLN became stronger and more effective in its mission to promote sustainable economies, just relationships, and human dignity. 

Margot Worfolk ha dedicado su vida a trabajar por la paz con base en la justicia para todos los hijos de Dios, especialmente para aquellos que son excluidos o expulsados ​​por sistemas políticos y económicos injustos. Se unió a CRLN en el 2000 para participar en una delegación a El Salvador, durante el vigesimo aniversario del asesinato del Monseñor Oscar Romero. Allí se enamoró del valiente pueblo salvadoreño y su lucha por la justicia, y también se enamoró de Joe Houston. ¡En una delegación posterior, Margot y Joe se casaron en una playa de El Salvador! Juntos, Margot y Joe continuaron apoyando el trabajo de CRLN al participar en delegaciones a El Salvador y Cuba, las vigilias anuales por el cierre de la Escuela de las Américas del Ejército de los EE. UU. y delegaciones de incidencia en Washington D.C. En una de las delegaciones a la capital, Margot se reunió con la congresista republicana Judy Biggert, a quien se convenció de copatrocinar una medida que buscaba desfinanciar la Escuela de las Américas. Margot fue miembro de la junta directiva de CRLN durante muchos años. Representó a CRLN en mesas informativas en eventos, llamó a miembros e invitó a sus amigos a eventos de CRLN. A menudo, el personal buscaba a Margot por su capacidad para apoyar la planificación de la transición del personal. Margot tuvo muchos roles de liderazgo en la Junta Directiva de CRLN, de la cual fue presidente durante el proceso de búsqueda de la actual directora de CRLN. Bajo su liderazgo sabio y reflexivo, CRLN se fortaleció para ser mas eficaz en su misión de promover economías sostenibles, relaciones justas y la dignidad humana.  

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