Rise Up and Roll Away the Stone

View or download the Prayer Booklet to use while you watch the Good Friday Walk for Justice

This Good Friday, our collective community remembers that we belong to each other. We believe we have the power to rise up together and lean into the strength of our foundational bonds of justice for all.

We have the power to roll away stones of white supremacy, greed, and state violenc e. As we roll the stones away, we commit to co-create systems in which resources are shared, allowing our imaginations to generate radically new ways of living and thriving in a more just society.

We believe that the stone of injustice will be rolled away in our rejection of the status quo. As Easter people we recommit ourselves to choose actions of trans- formation. Together we pledge our efforts to bring about greater justice for all peoples and Earth itself.

Join us as together we reflect, pray, proclaim and celebrate the many ways that together we are Rolling the Stones Away.

To learn more about the walk go to walkforjusticechicago.com.

To support this year’s Walk, make checks payable to CRLN (memo GFWalk) and mail to CRLN, 5655 S. University Ave, Chicago 60637 or online: http://bit.ly/3rHuesZ

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CRLN is a member of the Honduras Solidarity Network, a network of 30 North American groups formed after the 2009 coup d’etat in Honduras in solidarity with a broad array of social movements and citizens opposed to the subsequent regime and seeking greater social justice and democracy.

We ask you to support the international campaign against the criminalization of 8 Honduran citizens, now in jail for peacefully protesting the concession illegally given to a mining company to extract iron ore from the Carlos Escaleras National Park–the primary source of water for many of the surrounding communities. Please click on the link below

Freedom for the Guapinol Water Protectors!

On February 9, 2021 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions stated that the arbitrary detention of the Guapinol Water Protectors is related to their work in defense of the environment.

Click here to Join the International Campaign to Demand Freedom for the Eight Guapinol Political Prisoners!

After clicking on the link above, you will find more information in English and Spanish. Scroll to the bottom to fill in your name and email address in order to send letters to Honduran and U.S. officials to call for the release of the Guapinol 8.

 
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Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) has reintroduced the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (H.R. 1574) into the 2021-2022 session of the House of Representatives. This is the fourth session of Congress in which it has been assigned to a committee. We need your voice to make sure it passes out of committee this time so that the House has the chance to vote on it. A sample script for an email and phone call to your Representative, asking them to co-sponsor H.R.1574, follows the description of the bill below.

The bill calls for the suspension of all U.S. aid to Honduran security forces and for the U.S. to vote no on all loans from multinational development banks to Honduras, until the following conditions are met:

– Pursued all legal avenues to bring to trial and obtain a verdict of all those who ordered and carried out (1) the murder of Berta Cáceres, (2) the killings of over 100 small-farmer activists in the Aguán Valley, (3) the killings of 22 people and forced disappearance of 1 person by state security forces in the context of the 2017 postelectoral crisis, (4) the May 3, 2016 armed attack on Félix Molina, and the November 26, 2018 shooting of Geovany Sierra,  (5) the July 18, 2020, forced disappearances of 4 Garifuna community leaders from Triunfo de la Cruz who were taken from their homes by heavily armed men wearing bulletproof vests and police uniforms; and (6) the December 26, 2020, killing of indigenous Lenca leader Felix Vasques in La Paz, and the December 28, 2020, killing of indigenous Tolupan leader Adan Mejia in Yoro;

-Investigated and successfully prosecuted members of military and police forces who are credibly found to have violated human rights, and ensured that the military and police cooperated in such cases, and that such violations have ceased;

-Withdrawn the military from domestic policing, in accordance with the Honduran Constitution, and ensured that all domestic police functions are separated from the command and control of the Armed Forces of Honduras and are instead directly responsible to civilian authority;

-Established the effective protection of the rights of trade unionists, journalists, human rights defenders, the Indigenous, the Afro-Indigenous, small-farmers, and LGBTI activists, critics of the government, and other civil society activists to operate without interference; and

-Taken effective steps to fully establish the rule of law and to guarantee a judicial system that is capable of investigating, prosecuting, and bringing to justice members of the police and military who have committed human rights abuses.

Instructions for your call and email: Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative. When you are connected to their office, ask to speak to the foreign policy staffer. Be sure to get the name and email address of the foreign policy staffer so you can follow up with your message in writing. If the foreign policy aide is not available, ask to leave a message on their voice mail. After you leave the message, send an email to the aide with your message.

Sample script: “My name is _____. I am a constituent from Rep. ___________’s district. I am calling (or writing) to ask Representative _____ to co-sponsor the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, H.R. 1574. The bill calls for the suspension of security aid to Honduras until human rights violations by Honduran security forces cease and the perpetrators have been brought to justice. Have you seen the bill? Would you bring it to the attention of Representative _______ ? Can I count on Representative _____________to join as a cosponsor?  Please call me this week at (your phone number) to let me know if you have seen the bill, and if Representative _____ will support it. For more information or to co-sponsor the bill, please contact Chelsea Grey (chelsea.grey@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Johnson’s (GA) office.”

Note: Please do not contact Chelsea Grey yourself. Ask your Representative’s staff person to do this.

Please contact Sharon at shunter-smith@crln.org when you send your message and call, especially if you get a response.     

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Our network has been seeking a pathway in the Senate to press for human rights and anti-corruption measures in Honduras ever since the 2009 coup in Honduras. Last week, it finally materialized, as Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon introduced the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2021 (S. 388). Senators Bernie Sanders (VT), Patrick Leahy (VT), Ed Markey (MA), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Dick Durbin (IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Chris Van Hollen (MD) joined as initial cosponsors. See full press release here (which includes a link to the full text of the bill). See article in the Guardian here.

The legislation includes the following provisions:

  • Sanctions for President Hernández, and for top officials who have committed gross violations of human rights and/or acts of corruption.
  • $2 million for the Honduras office of the United Nations High Office on Human Rights.
  • A new MACCIH anti-corruption commission, to be negotiated by the United Nations, and strengthening of UFERCO, the special prosecutor’s office.
  • Prohibition of US munitions sales to the Honduran police and military.
  • A call for justice, including successful prosecution of all material and intellectual authors of numerous emblematic human rights cases, including the murder of Berta Cáceres.
  • Suspension of (1) US funds for Honduran security forces and (2) US support for funds from multilateral development banks to Honduran security forces until a series criteria have been met, laid out in the bill.

Now we need you to send an email and call your two Senators to either thank them for co-sponsoring this bill or to urge them to do so.

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator (repeat for your second Senator). When you are connected to your Senator’s office, ask to speak to the foreign policy aide. Be sure to get the name and email address of the foreign policy staffer so you can follow up. If the aide has not seen the bill, send a copy of the bill in an email. If the foreign policy aide is not available, ask to leave a message on their voice mail. After you leave the message, send an email to the aide with your message.

Sample script: “My name is _____. I am a constituent from (your town/city) in (your state). I am calling (or writing) to ask Senator _____ to co-sponsor The Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2021. The bill number is S. 388. The bill calls for the suspension of ‘United States support for the Government of Honduras until endemic corruption, impunity, and human rights violations cease, and their perpetrators are brought to justice.’ Has Senator _______ seen this bill? Can I count on him/her to join as a cosponsor?  Please call me this week at (_____) to let me know if you have seen the bill, and if Senator _____ will support it.  For more information or to co-sponsor the bill, please contact Caroline Kuritzkes and Matt Squeri in Senator Merkley’s office.”

Please contact Sharon at shunter-smith@crln.org when you send your message and call, especially if you get a response.     

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December 9, 2020

Dear CRLN members and friends,

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-3

The end of another year approaches, and what a year it has been.  Many public voices have expressed the view that 2020 will go down as one of the most difficult years in recent human history, certainly in the memory of the majority of us alive today.  We have indeed been through the waters and the fire this past year. 

In my opening comments at our 30th Anniversary Celebration in 2019, I expressed my view that at the heart of our work and mission was bringing hope amidst a world of suffering and death, oppression and denial of human rights, maintaining light in the darkness.  Perhaps for most of us, that light was never as necessary as it was this past year, as we struggled to maintain that hope in the face of a global pandemic and the rise of right-wing authoritarianism globally and right here at home. 

Those challenges even affected our Annual Gathering this year, as we had to meet through the medium of our computer screens rather than face to face.  But the fact that we refused to let these obstacles prevent us from gathering and celebrating our important work and the significant accomplishments of the last year demonstrates that the light and hope remains bright, unextinguished, even in these most difficult of times.

We refused to let the pandemic or right-wing authoritarian governments here and abroad stop us from pushing forward with our mission, as you can read in the enclosed insert that lists CRLN’s major activities in 2020. Both our sanctuary efforts and our solidarity with communities in Latin America, especially Cuba, grew and expanded this past year.  Our legislative activity was likewise robust, with several significant developments.  And we took several public actions, including helping to shut down the infamous plans to open an “ICE Citizens’ Academy” in Chicago. See details in:

So much of what we have been through this past year and the things we have accomplished were captured in the words of our guest speaker at this year’s Annual Gathering, Sister María Magdalena Silva Rentería. The founder and Director of CAFEMIN, a shelter for immigrants located in Mexico City, she joined our event from Mexico.  We turned the challenge of COVID, which limited our face-to-face interactions, into the advantage of a virtual gathering, making it easier to have our friends from abroad join us.  Sr. María Magdalena shared with us her stories of providing shelter and support for immigrants, as well as her analysis of the issues underlying the crisis of migration and action suggestions for how we can respond in this critical moment.  Her experiences were very relevant to our sanctuary efforts, our work with migrants’ rights and our solidarity work with communities in Central America and beyond. If you missed our Annual Gathering, you can watch it on YouTube in English at https://bit.ly/2020CRLNEnglish or in Spanish at https://bit.ly/CRLN2020Spanish

The year ended, as we all know, on a hopeful note.  The most authoritarian, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee president in our lifetime was defeated.  But regardless of the outcome of the presidential or Senate races, the election revealed something we cannot ignore. We must face the fact that there is a deep moral crisis we must address in our nation, when many of our fellow citizens are OK with racism, misogyny, xenophobia, calls to violence, attacks on democracy and flirtations with authoritarianism.  I do not mean this to be a condemnation. I must continue to hope that most human beings have the capacity for love and compassion and, when presented with the impact of their choices on their fellow human beings, will act humanely. But whether out of fear, greed, selfishness, or ignorance born out of the misinformation promoted by powerful interests that profit from the ignorance of the many, far too many of our neighbors have embraced a system of beliefs that is contrary to our values and the values of our faith traditions.

This moral crisis in our nation makes our work more important than ever.  It is left to us to build links of solidarity at home and abroad.  It is up to us to promote the values of peace and justice.  It is up to us to continue to lift up the voices of the oppressed and those struggling for liberation. This is our mission, our moral and material revolution, compassion in action, the only way to overcome the waters and fire that surround us.  Thank you for being a part of this work.  I am filled with great anticipation for working with all of you to build a new world in the coming year.

This work cannot be sustained without your help.  CRLN receives no corporate and/or government   funding.  We rely completely on our organizational, congregational and individual friends and members, along with some small grants from a few foundations.  We call on you to demonstrate your support by making a holiday contribution, an end of the year commitment to struggle for justice, peace, and human rights. With your support and solidarity, we will continue to walk through the fire and remain unburnt, as we enter what I believe will be a time of new beginnings and renewed hope.    

Sincerely,

Claudia Lucero

Executive Director

P.S. Please make your checks payable to CRLN. You may also make an online donation at www.crln.org/donate. Your contributions are tax-deductible. In addition, please consider remembering CRLN in your will. Our legal title is: Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America.

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This year we chose the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center, our partner in Cuba as one of the 2020 CRLN Honorees.  Their work to build bridges and connect communities internationally has inspired us for more than twenty years.  Despite the many barriers caused by U.S. policy, the Center has worked to welcome delegations from around the world to Cuba to learn from Cubans and to share in international visions for liberation. 

The Center is a macroecumenical association of Christian inspiration. It supports the Cuban people and their Churches in solidarity and prophetically through sociotheological reflection and training, popular education, communication, comprehensive service to the community and the promotion of international solidarity.

Part of their work on international solidarity is welcoming delegations from around the world and creating opportunities for delegates to hear directly from the Cuban people about their reality. 

They have welcomed many delegations from CRLN, Witness for Peace and other organizations. Most recently CRLN’s summer intern, Daisy Hernandez, participated in a delegation at the Center and created a three part webinar series available on our website.   The experiences delegates have on these visits strengthens their ability to advocate for an end to harmful U.S. policies toward Cuba.   

The Center was founded on April 25, 1987 as an initiative of the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Marianao (IBEM) and the work of Pastors Raúl Suárez Ramos and Clara Rodés, as well as other close collaborators.

Today the Center has a leadership team made up of Executive Director Joel Suárez, Reverend Izett Samá, Kirenia Criado Pérez and Marilín Peña and it continues to live out its values of:

  • an emancipatory ethic of Christian inspiration;
  • the conscious, rebellious and prophetic commitment to the Cuban people, the Revolution and socialism;
  • the defense of a full life for all human beings as a centrality, without exclusions or discrimination, linked to respect for the rights of nature.
  • generational diversity, gender, skin color, origin, sexual options, occupations, knowledge and beliefs, with an ecumenical sense of social justice.

While the pandemic has made delegations to the Center impossible, it continues to work in its many other areas and is connecting virtually through webinars such as the recent webinar organized by Cuban and US religious organizations. 

We are inspired by all the work of the Center and want to deeply thank them for welcoming us into their communities. 

To learn more about the work of the Center please visit their website at: https://cmlk.org/

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Nurse whistleblower Dawn Wooten has made a courageous complaint, along with Project South and Georgia Detention Watch, to the watchdog that oversees the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) against what amounts to medical neglect and inappropriate medical practices in the Irwin County Detention Center. For her efforts, she has been demoted.

Click here for more information from the BBC.

Click here for the complaint filed by Project South with the DHS Office of Inspector General.

Email your members of Congress and request that they contact the DHS Office of Inspector General to demand a full investigation of the Irwin County Detention Center. Further request that they call for the Center to be shut down and detainees be released because of the risks to their health in the Center.

You can type the name of your Representative and Senators into your web browser, find their website in the list that comes up, go to the website, and type your request there. Usually, there is a “Contact” section on the website.

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(Photo by George Prentzas on Unsplash)

The Department of Homeland Security has proposed a rule that would dramatically expand the collection of biometric data (DNA, iris scan, voice recording, face photo) from immigrants, asylum seekers, international religious workers, survivors of domestic abuse and sex trafficking, and U.S. citizens who sponsor or are in any way associated with an immigration benefit to or application from those listed above. This information would be collected from children as well as adults and stored in government databases indefinitely for unspecified purposes. CRLN is very concerned that it will be used for surveillance purposes.

We have until October 13 to submit written comments objecting to this rule change. You may submit comments on the entirety of this proposed rule package, identified by DHS Docket No. USCIS-2019-0007, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the website instructions for submitting comments. Please write now!

Thanks to CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.) for making us aware of this.

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Find the Resources and Recap on our last part to the Webinar Series on Daisy Hernandez’s Report Back from the “Healing Our Land, Healing Ourselves” Delegation to Cuba with the Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective in December 2019:

Find the recap on Youtube:

 

Support the ACTION along with this part of the series by signing onto Cuban-American Cyclist Carlos Lazo’s Petition:

https://www.change.org/p/donald-j-trump-levantar-restricciones-econ%C3%B3micas-de-estados-unidos-a-cuba-mientras-dure-el-coronavirus

And keep an eye out for updates on the Chicago City Council Resolution!

Resources to Learn More:

Family Doctors (Slide #12) 

ELAM (Slide #14) 

Cuba’s International Solidarity (Slide #18) 

Cuba American Cyclist Carlos Lazo Action (Slide #20) 

Links to the other parts to the Webinar Series:

  1. US-Cuba Relations, Cooperatives, and Community: https://crln.org/uscubarelationscooperativescommunity/
  2. Urban Economics and Agriculture: https://crln.org/urbaneconomicsandagriculture

For additional resources contact Marilyn McKenna at mmckenna@crln.org or Daisy Hernandez at dhernandez@crln.org

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