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 2005 by participating in a delegation to El Salvador, marking the 25th 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 2005 para participar en una delegación a El Salvador, durante el vigesimo quinto 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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Dan Dale is a lifelong fighter for justice and peace in our world. As one of the founders of the Sanctuary Movement in Chicago during the 1980s, he helped to inspire members of local congregations to open their sacred spaces – buildings, communities, homes, and hearts – to those fleeing persecution and danger from El Salvador and Guatemala. At the same time, the movement pressured the U.S. government to cease its support for repressive regimes in Latin America and to abide by the international law that calls upon all nations to provide safety for those fleeing government violence. In the late 1980s, Dan and his wife, Nancy Jones, and their two daughters, Jenny and Lucy, put their commitment into action by serving as United Church of Christ mission volunteers in El Salvador. In the midst of that violent conflict, they courageously stood with people struggling for justice and shared their stories with those of us who remained in the U.S. to carry on the struggle. While there, in 1988-89, Dan and his family were threatened with deportation by the Salvadoran government for their work with the Lutheran Church of El Salvador. In response to this threat, the newly formed CRLN sprang into action and convinced then Senator Alan Dixon (D-IL) to initiate a Senate sign-on letter, urging the Salvadoran government to respect the work of U.S. church workers. This action influenced the Salvadoran government to cease its threat against Dan and his family. Soon afterward, CRLN honored Sen. Dixon and Salvadoran Lutheran Bishop Medardo Gomez at our first luncheon. Dan’s commitment to faith-based social justice has continued to this day through his service as a campus minister at UIC; his service (along with Nancy) as a UCC mission volunteer in the Philippines; his participation in numerous delegations to Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Cuba, and Honduras; his attendance at the annual vigils calling for the closing of the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas; his faithful advocacy to change harmful U.S. policies in Latin America and his leadership on the Board of Directors of CRLN. Dan is a joyful warrior, living out his faith that God desires peace with justice for all creation and that we are called to work for that goal with all our hearts. Dan not only talks the talk, he walks the walk! 

A lo largo de su vida, Dan Dale ha luchado por la justicia y la paz. Como uno de los fundadores del Movimiento Santuario en Chicago durante los años 80 del siglo pasado. Sus esfuerzos fueron clave para que congregaciones locales abriran sus espacios (edificios, hogares y corazones) a quienes huían de la persecución y el peligro que experimentaban en El Salvador y Guatemala. Al mismo tiempo, este movimiento presionó al gobierno de Estados Unidos a frenar su apoyo a los regímenes represivos en América Latina y así cumplir con el derecho internacional, el cual llama a todas las naciones a brindar seguridad a quienes huyen de la violencia del estado. A fines de los años 80, Dan y su esposa, Nancy Jones junto con sus hijas, Jenny y Lucy, pusieron en práctica su compromiso por la justicia cuando trabajaron como voluntarios misioneros de la Iglesia Unida de Cristo en El Salvador. En medio de ese conflicto,  y con mucha valentía apoyaron a las personas que luchan por la justicia. Después compartieron esos hechos con nosotros que permanecimos en los Estados Unidos, para así continuar con la lucha. Mientras estuvo en El Salvador, de 1988 a 1989, Dan y su familia fueron amenazados con la deportación por el gobierno salvadoreño por su trabajo con la Iglesia Luterana de El Salvador. En respuesta a esta amenaza, CRLN, recién formado, entró en acción y convenció al entonces Senador Alan Dixon (D-IL) de iniciar una petición para el Senado, instando al gobierno salvadoreño a respetar el trabajo de los misioneros de la iglesia de Estados Unidos. Con esta acción el gobierno salvadoreño cesó su amenaza contra la familia. Poco después, CRLN honró al Senador Dixon y al obispo luterano salvadoreño Medardo Gómez en nuestro primer evento. El compromiso de Dan para luchar la justicia social con una base en la fe ha continuado desde entonces y a través de su servicio como ministro en la Universidad de Illinois, Campus Chicago; su servicio (junto con Nancy) como voluntario de la misión de la Iglesia Unida de Cristo en las Filipinas; su participación en numerosas delegaciones a Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Cuba y Honduras; su asistencia a las vigilias anuales por el cierre de la Escuela de las Américas del ejército de Estados Unidos;  su fiel defensa por cambiar las políticas nocivas de  Estados Unidos en América Latina y su liderazgo en la Junta Directiva de CRLN. Dan es un guerrero alegre que vive una fe con una visión de Dios que desea la paz y la justicia para toda la creación, a lo cual estamos llamados a construir en este mundo con todo nuestro esfuerzo. ¡Dan predica con su ejemplo!

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Ramón Marino is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and visual artist from Mexico City who has lived in Chicago for more than thirty years. In 1996 he recorded Tierra y Libertad, a CD of Trova and Nueva Canción with works by several Latin American composers. In 2002, he began hosting Guitar Fridays, which started at La Decima Musa and continued at Galería Citlalin. Ramon has performed at various events focused on the struggle for social justice, such as the March Against the War (March 2007, Chicago Daley Center), recitals, and concerts. In 2002, Ramón began working at the Center for Career Access and Success at Northeastern Illinois University, where he teaches how to integrate art into the curriculum of teachers, parents, and students from various public schools in Chicago, Cicero, and Berwyn. In 2017, Ramón painted the mural Birds of Illinois as part of the Caracol Project in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor at Lake Michigan.  The mural features birds from Illinois as well as glyphs of birds borrowed from Aztec, Maya, and other ancient Mexican cultures.

Ramón Marino es un cantautor, guitarrista y artista oriundo de la Ciudad de México. Vive en Chicago desde hace más de treinta años. En 1996 grabó Tierra y libertad, un disco de Trova y Nueva Canción con obras de varios compositores latinoamericanos. En el 2002, inició Guitar Fridays, que comenzó en La Décima Musa y continuó en la Galería Citlalin. Ramón se ha presentado en varios eventos en la lucha por la justicia social, como la Marcha contra la Guerra (marzo de 2007, Chicago Daley Center), entre otros recitales y conciertos. En el 2002, Ramón comenzó a trabajar en el Center for Career Access and Success de la Universidad Northeastern Illinois, donde capacita a docentes sobre la integración del arte en los planes de estudio de padres y estudiantes de varias escuelas públicas de Chicago, Cicero y Berwyn. En el 2017, Ramón pintó el mural Aves de Illinois como parte del Proyecto Caracol en la Zona de Fauna Silvestre Burnham en el lago Michigan. El mural presenta aves de Illinois, así como glifos de aves tomadas de las culturas azteca y maya entre otras culturas antiguas de México.

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Reverend Izett Samá Hernández describes herself as a pastor, theologian, researcher, writer, and nurse. After completing a nursing degree, she went on to graduate from the Evangelical Seminary of Theology in Matanzas Cuba. For her thesis project, she wrote an analysis of the participation of Black people in the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba. She now serves as the pastor at the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in the town of Los Palos, is a leader in the Presbytery of Havana, and is active in many ecumenical organizations.  In addition to her church, Hernández has worked for many years with the Centro Memorial Martin Luther King (CMLK) in Havana, Cuba, and in February of 2022 was elected as its Executive Coordinator. The CMLK is an ecumenical organization that strives for social justice with an emancipatory Christian inspiration. “We work from the popular education methodology, and all the people involved change their lives when they know the possibility of participating in the transformation of the community,” said Reverend Samá Hernández. “For example, the women’s group learns different occupations, and they have economic autonomy in their homes.

La Reverenda Izett Samá Hernández se describe como pastora, teóloga, investigadora, escritora y enfermera. Después de hacer una licenciatura en enfermería, estudió en Seminario Evangélico de Teología en Matanzas, Cuba. Para su tesis, hizo un análisis sobre la participación de las personas negras en la Iglesia Presbiteriana Reformada en Cuba. Ahora trabaja como pastora en la Iglesia Presbiteriana Reformada en el pueblo de Los Palos, es líder en el Presbiterio de La Habana y participa en organizaciones ecuménicas. Además del trabajo pastoral y religioso, Hernández ha trabajado durante muchos años con el Centro Memorial Martin Luther King (CMLK) en La Habana, Cuba, y en febrero de 2022 fue elegida su Coordinadora Ejecutiva. La CMLK es una organización ecuménica que lucha por la justicia social basada en el espíritu cristiano emancipatorio.

<<Trabajamos con base en los métodos de la educación popular, y los participantes cambian cuando conocen la posibilidad de transformar la comunidad>>, dijo la reverenda Hernández. <<Por ejemplo, el grupo de mujeres se capacita para diferentes oficios y así logran   una autonomía económica en sus hogares>>.

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SAVE THE DATE! For CRLN’s 35th Annual Pedal for Peace: Bike/Run/Walk in Your Barrio.

The 2022 Celebration will take place on Saturday September 17. More details to come.

For the last 35 years people and organizations in Chicago have come together to fundraise in support of various projects in Latin America. This year we continue this unique tradition that connects us to the work for human rights and immigrant rights by partnering with Centro Romero, Center for Immigrant Progress, Chicago- Cinquera Sister Cities, Chicago-Guatemala Partnership and Concern America. Together we are supporting projects in Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia and Immigrant Rights work in Illinois.  

This year we will continue to fundraise for six exceptional projects. Participants will request donations from friends and family to sponsor them. The donations are accepted electronically or by personal check sent by mail. And just like years before, there are many ways to participate.

* You choose the day for your activity
* You can Bike/Run/Walk alone or with family/friends
* Your activity can be on a path, a neighborhood streets, in a park, or on an exercise bike
* You can ask a friend or family member to donate to the projects in honor of your activity
* And send us many photo of yourself biking/running/walking

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Jhonathan F. Gómez at jgomez@crln.org.

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Richard ‘Dick’ Heidkamp (May 9, 1931 – March 12, 2022)
Ann R. Heidkamp (Dec 27, 1930 – Feb 28, 2021)

Remembering Dick & Ann

A Reflection Written for the March 18, 2022 Celebration of the Lives of Dick and Ann Heidkamp

by Sharon Hunter-Smith

CRLN has been truly blessed to have the active participation of Dick Heidkamp as a member, Board member, and volunteer. “A life of service,” while an accurate description of Dick’s values and actions, just doesn’t begin to capture the exuberant experience we all had around Dick. Yes, he offered service to our organization, but everything he did with seriousness of purpose and dedication to peace and justice also felt much more like a dance party or a night at a comedy club, especially when he showed up with his wife Ann, the straight person in their comedy routine.

Dick was a skilled fundraiser and a terrific FUN-raiser, as Ann herself once said. As a fundraiser, Dick served on our Board’s Development Committee and coordinated CRLN’s 25th Anniversary Campaign. He accompanied us on visits to potential donors and taught us his craft. He taught us that we could do more than we thought we could and that people appreciated the opportunity to hear about and support our programs. Dick also threw himself into planning for CRLN’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, securing the venue, finding vendors to provide the beer, and helping to do set up and then welcoming people to the event.

Then there were the days when he and Ann came into the office to help with mailings. Putting labels and stamps on envelopes, folding and inserting letters and reports—not exactly everyone’s idea of a good time—but if Dick and Ann were coming, everyone looked forward to participating. They always insisted on bringing treats with them, and their banter with each other and funny storytelling changed the mailing workdays into a party. Pretty soon, they would have us all laughing.

Dick attended our educational events, showed up for our demonstrations against militarism and for human rights in Latin America, and went on our delegations to Cuba (pictured here), El Salvador, and Guatemala. He would often bring others along with him—he was like the Pied Piper for CRLN events. At the 25th Anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero’s assassination, he was with us on a delegation to El Salvador. The large outdoor area where the commemoration events were going to take place was filled with people inspired by Archbishop Romero, both from El Salvador and from many other countries. Salvadoran folk music was playing to give people something to listen to while they waited, and suddenly, in the crowd behind us, we saw a circle of people forming, laughing and clapping. Guess who was in the middle? Dick Heidkamp with a wide smile, dancing with a someone he had pulled from the crowd. He was a one-man ambassador, evoking friendship and joy.

Dick had a passion for travel and willingness to let us honor him by creating the Heidkamp Travel Scholarship Fund in his honor. He understood the importance of travel, not as a tourist but to listen to the voices of those whose words do not often make it into U.S. news media and to carry their words back to our legislators. He often accompanied us on visits to members of Congress to do just that. In 2012 Rep. Jan Schakowsky honored Dick’s activism in a statement read on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Dick was an outsized personality with extraordinary energy and an outsized heart for adults; for children; for those suffering from poverty, oppression or discrimination; and also for cats and for his backyard vegetable garden. His love for Ann and hers for him was often expressed in teasing each other mercilessly, always with huge smiles on their faces. We miss them greatly already, but are so thankful we were able to walk together on the same path for so many years.


In a 2015 interview for Story Corp Dick and Ann recounted how they first met and fell in love. You can access that interview HERE.

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CRLN has worked with other organizations on a workshop for Ecumenical Advocacy Days called Crisis and Hope: Activists Organizing for Rights in Guatemala and Honduras for Wednesday April 27 from 10:00 – 10:45 am CDT

In Guatemala, brave activists, judges, and prosecutors confront a
rapidly-closing space to defend rights and the rule of law. They are being jailed, threatened, and
forced into exile by corrupt actors in government, security forces, and the private sector. In
Honduras, after a dozen years in which corrupt and abusive governments committed grave abuses and
restricted space for civil society to organize, a newly-elected government working with social
movements offers hope. Corruption and human rights abuses are major factors driving massive
migration from these countries.

This workshop will teach the audience about the immediate human rights
situation in Guatemala and Honduras, featuring leading activists from each country. It will also
answer the question, What is the U.S. role and how can you encourage our government to support,
rather than undermine, the activists working for positive change?

Speakers: Claudia Samayoa from the Guatemalan human rights group UDEFEGUA (confirmed) and Miriam
Miranda
or other Afro/indigenous leader from Honduran Garifuna organization OFRANEH (to be
confirmed); Lisa Haugaard, Latin America Working Group (confirmed);

Moderator, Giovana Oaxaca, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (confirmed).

Time: Wednesday, April 27 10:00-10:45 CDT

Sponsored by: Latin America Working Group, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Chicago
Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

Interpreter: Kathy Ogle (confirmed). Language: Spanish to English, English to Spanish for
speakers.

Monitor: Yadira Sánchez-Esparza (confirmed)

Claudia Virginia Samayoa is human rights defender and a lay leader committed to justice in
Guatemala. She is the founder and president of the Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores
de Derechos Humanos – Guatemala (UDEFEGUA, the Unit for the Protection for Human Rights Defenders –
Guatemala) and Vice President of the Executive Committee of the World Organization against Torture
(OMCT). She is widely considered as an expert on human rights in Guatemala and the Central American
region, having received various international awards for her work. She spends most of her time
researching and supporting human rights defenders and organizations in Latin American by
strengthening their skills for self-protection. She is an active member of the Archdiocesan Commission of The Social Ministry of the Archdiocese of Santiago de Guatemala. She has completed postgraduate work in public policy and theology, as well as authored several books.

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by Claudia Lucero, Executive Director

For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

CRLN is undergoing a time of transition. All of the CRLN staff and I know all of you are sad that we will no longer have Sharon Hunter-Smith as one of our core staff. I am sure for many of you Sharon practically is CRLN. She has been a central part of the organization for over 16 years. It is difficult for us to imagine CRLN without Sharon playing such a significant role in our day-to-day work. Yet at the same time, we feel much joy at being present for the next stage of Sharon’s life, a much-deserved break from the duties she has so faithfully carried out each day for more than a decade and a half. I am purposely avoiding words of farewell here as they are so inappropriate in this case, as we know Sharon will remain a part of the extended CRLN family. On behalf of the CRLN staff and membership, I offer a collective message of deep gratitude for so many years of service to the mission of CRLN. They have born great fruit.

Just like most transitions the closing of one chapter is also the opening of a new one. As we mark Sharon’s departure we welcome aboard our new Latin America Program Coordinator, Jhonathan Gómez. I know many of you already know Jhonathan, but for those who do not, I wanted to offer a few words on his background. Jhonathan F. Gómez is a human rights defender, documentary photographer, artist, educator and father from Guatemala City. Jhonathan has worked with community and human rights organizations in Guatemala and the United States for nearly 15 years. Both his professional and personal work combine arts, multimedia and technology for the defense of human rights with a focus on immigrant and indigenous rights. Jhonathan, his partner, and their two children returned to Chicago in May of 2021 after living in Guatemala for 10 years. In Chicago, Jhonathan has worked as an arts youth educator and as a day laborer organizer with Union Latina de Chicago (Latino Union of Chicago). In Guatemala, he worked as the Coordinator of the Communications and Technology area for the Human Rights Observatory Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos de Guatemala (Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit of Guatemala, UDEFEGUA). Jhonathan is not new to CRLN, in 2007 he participated in the formation of the Chicago New Sanctuary Coalition (CNSC) and has continued to support CRLN ever since. He is delighted to join the team and be part of CRLN’s legacy work of solidarity with Latinomérica. We are very excited to welcome Jhonathan to our staff and look forward to the great work we will do together to further both his personal and our organizational mission of defending the human rights of all “Americans”, including those within our national borders and those across the hemisphere.

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CRLN is looking for a part-time Administrative Assistant to join our staff of four that coordinate an interfaith education, action, and advocacy network. Please share this announcement with your networks and communities.

For over 30 years, CRLN has worked to open spaces for the voices of those in the Americas affected by U.S. policies and has worked in solidarity with movements for social justice and human rights. Through educational events, delegations, speaker tours, and regular issue updates, CRLN educates and mobilizes to empower people to advocate for positive changes in U.S. policy in the Americas with elected city, state and federal officials.

CRLN is an equal opportunity employer, dedicated to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment on any basis including race, creed, color, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, ability or national origin. Women and people of color are encouraged to apply.

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