Ocho miembros del personal, junta de directores y miembrxs de CRLN viajaron a Washington, D.C. del 21 al 24 de abril para la conferencia anual de

Ecunemical Advocacy Days

y días de lobby para participar en la sección de América Latina: Claudia Lucero, Sharon Hunter-Smith, Linda Eastwood, Ann Legg, Dawn Condill , Frank Schneider, Ed Osowski y Lora Burge. El tema para el  2017, “Confrontando el Caos, Forjando la Comunidad: Desafiando el Racismo, el Materialismo y el Militarismo”, encaja bien con la declaración de la misión de CRLN, actualizada en 2016:


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.

Los talleres nos informaron sobre los desafíos para lograr una paz real y duradera en Colombia después de la aprobación de los Acuerdos de Paz con el mayor grupo guerrillero, la FARC; Nos informaron sobre las causas fundamentales y las necesidades de protección de los migrantes y los solicitantes de asilo que llegan a los Estados Unidos desde América Central; Y sobre el estado de las relaciones actuales entre los Estados Unidos y Cuba. La directora del CRLN, Claudia Lucero, y Mary Campbell, miembro de CRLN, de la Iglesia Evangélica Luterana en América (ELCA), conformaron 2/3 del panel en el taller centroamericano de migración.


Resaltando el mensaje de un solo orador, el colombiano

Luis Gerardo Acero Barrios

es víctima del conflicto colombiano. Nació en las montañas en 1950, debido al temor al conflicto por parte de sus padres, ya que no estaban alineados ni con grupos paramilitares de derecha ni con bandas criminales de izquierdas. Durante su vida, repetidamente ha tenido que esconderse de uno u otro de estos grupos ilegalmente armados y ha sido desplazado varias veces de su tierra. Él nos dice lo que piensa que debe suceder para que el Proceso de Paz tenga éxito:

  1. Los Estados Unidos apoyaron las negociaciones del gobierno colombiano con la FARC. También es necesario apoyar el proceso paralelo de paz con el ELN, el segundo grupo guerrillero más grande de Colombia.
  2. Apoyo internacional para la aplicación de los Acuerdos de Paz.
  3. El gobierno colombiano necesita desmantelar a los grupos paramilitares. A medida que miembros de la FARC se alejaban del territorio que controlaban, los grupos paramilitares se instalaron e impusieron sus propias reglas. Ellos han matado a 51 líderes de movimiento social hasta ahora este año.
  4. Purificación de las instituciones gubernamentales de la corrupción y la influencia paramilitar.
  5. Presencia de sistemas gubernamentales de salud, educación y aplicación de la ley en las zonas rurales. Todos estos servicios en su mayoría existen en las ciudades y no en el campo.

Hasta que el gobierno establezca presencia en las zonas rurales, las comunidades colombianas se han unido con organizaciones sociales para resistir el desplazamiento de los paramilitares y tratar de crear la paz con justicia social. Cuando son atacados, la denuncia internacional de la violencia paramilitar y los llamados al gobierno colombiano para desmantelar grupos armados ilegales son muy útiles.

La delegación de CRLN también participó en una Vigilia de Oración en el Pentágono; Escuchó a  oradores sobre los principios del proceso de resolución del presupuesto, la seguridad alimentaria mundial, la superación de la inversión de los Estados Unidos en la cultura blanca y el impacto mundial del militarismo estadounidense; La delegación participó igualmente en los servicios de culto animados con poderosa predicación.


En D.C. , visitamos 9 oficinas del Congreso para reunirnos con el personal de la Política Exterior (7  de la Cámara de Representantes y 2 oficinas del Senado) y dejamos carpetas con artículos de fondo y cartas que describen algunas de las peticiones legislativas de CRLN para esta sesión del Congreso:

1) Legislación que suspenda la ayuda militar y policial a Honduras (HR1299); 2) Proporcionar fondos en el proceso de Asignaciones de Ayuda Extranjera para implementar los Acuerdos de Paz de Colombia, e impulsar al gobierno colombiano a desmantelar a los paramilitares; 3) Promover legislación para poner fin al bloqueo y restricciones de viajes a Cuba. También dejamos carpetas con estas solicitudes en otras 5 oficinas que no pudieron reunirse con nosotrxs.

¡Una semana después de nuestro regreso a Chicago, 2 representantes más de Illinois firmaron la legislación HR1299! Estamos manteniéndonos en contacto con las otras oficinas y nos pondremos en contacto con usted si usted vive en uno de esos distritos con maneras de apoyar este esfuerzo.

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ILTRUST_Senate_Victory_Image.png


(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.

➢ Bar law enforcement agencies in Illinois from complying with any ICE detainers or warrants that are not supported by a court-issued warrant

➢ Limit arrests based solely on immigration-related information included in federal databases

➢ Bar 287(g) agreements to deputize local police to execute immigration enforcement and limit other cooperation and information sharing with immigration enforcement (without a courtissued criminal warrant) ➢ Bar the use of private prisons to house immigration detainees

➢ Forbid use of immigration-related threats or verbal abuse by law enforcement agents

➢ Set deadlines and standards for law enforcement agencies to respond to requests for certifications needed to process U visa applications

➢ Establish an Illinois TRUST Act Compliance Board to train law enforcement agencies regarding this law and identify and research further issues regarding the impact of detainers

➢ Provide a private right of action for anyone to sue any agency that violates this Act

➢ Amend the Illinois Criminal Procedure Code to clarify provisions that probation officers and judges have used to ask about immigration status

➢ Allow certain individuals (including immigrants) to reopen prior criminal cases based on inadequate counsel or successful completion of probation. For immigrants, this provision could help them avoid deportation.


TAKE ACTION!



1. Make a call to your Representative and ask them to support the TRUST Act when it comes up for a vote!


How to contact your Representative:

1.       Go to


http://www.elections.il.gov/districtlocator/addressfinder.aspx

2.       Enter your address and click “Find Address”

3.       Click “Confirm Address”

4.       Find “Representative District__”

5.       Call their Office(s)

6.       Please email me to let us know that you called or left a message.

2. Join us and other ICIRR members as we travel to Springfield to advocate for the TRUST Act. The Illinois TRUST Act needs to pass out of the house by May 31st. We need your support! E-mail


crodriguez@crln.org


if you’re willing to go to Springfield on May 30th!

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¡CRLN es un orgulloso partidario de la Ley TRUST  y de la Campaña de Welcoming Illinois!

La Ley TRUST recientemente fue  aprobada por el Senado de Illinois con un voto de 31 a 21. La Ley

TRUST

ayudará a mantener la aplicación de la ley federal de inmigración separada de la aplicación de la ley local, promulgará zonas seguras en las comunidades, y evitará que Illinois participe en cualquier tipo de registro discriminatorio.

➢Prohibir a las agencias de ley en Illinois de cumplir con cualquier detención o orden de captura de ICE que no sean respaldada por una orden judicial.

➢ Limitar los arrestos basados únicamente en información relacionada con inmigración incluida en las bases de datos federales

➢ Prohibir  los acuerdos 287(g) para delegar a la policía local la ejecución de medidas de inmigración y limitar la cooperación y el intercambio de información con las autoridades de inmigración (sin orden judicial)

➢ Impedir el uso de prisiones privadas para alojar a los detenidos de inmigrantes

➢ Prohibir el uso de amenazas relacionadas con la inmigración o abuso verbal por agentes de la ley

➢ Establecer plazos y estándares para que las agencias del orden y respondan a las solicitudes de certificaciones necesarias para procesar las aplicaciones de la  visa U

➢ Establecer una junta de Cumplimiento de la Ley TRUST de Illinois para entrenar a las fuerzas del orden con respecto a esta ley e identificar e investigar otras cuestiones relativas al impacto de las órdenes de detención

➢ Proporcionar un derecho privado de acción para que cualquier persona pueda demandar a cualquier agencia que viole esta Ley

➢ Enmendar el Código de Procedimiento Penal de Illinois para aclarar las disposiciones que los oficiales de libertad condicional y los jueces han utilizado para preguntar sobre el estatus migratorio de una persona

➢ Permitir a ciertos individuos (incluyendo inmigrantes) reabrir casos penales previos basados en un consejo inadecuado o en la finalización exitosa de la libertad condicional. Para los inmigrantes, esta disposición podría ayudarles a evitar la deportación


¡TOME ACCIÓN​!

1. ¡

Haga una llamada a su Representante y dígale que apoye el

Trust Act

cuando se presente para una votación!


Cómo ponerse en contacto con su representante:

1. Vaya a


http://www.elections.il.gov/districtlocator/addressfinder.aspx

2. Introduzca su dirección y haga clic en “Buscar dirección”

3. Haga clic en “Confirmar dirección”

4. Encuentra “Distrito Representativo__”

5. Llamar a su oficina (s)

6. Envíeme un mensaje por correo electrónico para dejarnos saber que llamo o dejo un mensaje.


2. Únase a nosotrxs y a otros miembros de ICIRR mientras viajamos a Springfield

para abogar por la Ley TRUST. La ley de Illinois TRUST necesita salir de la casa antes del 31 de mayo. ¡Necesitamos su apoyo! Mande un correo a

crodriguez@crln.org

si usted está dispuestx a ir a Springfield el 30 de mayo!

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Sharon Hunter-Smith is the Office Manager and Human Rights Coordinator for CRLN, managing office finances and bookkeeping and supervising volunteers and service learning students who write letters in response to human rights alerts.

She graduated from Wittenberg University with a B.A. in Religion, from McCormick Theological Seminary with an M. Div. degree, and from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago with an M.A. in Historical Theology.

A member of University Church (UCC/Disciples of Christ) in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Sharon travels yearly to Guatemala as part of the congregation’s partnership with ACG–a Mayan community organizing and development association—and Saq Ja’, a Mayan community rebuilt after the destruction of the war years.

She has also traveled to Honduras as a human rights observer with La Voz de los de Abajo and to El Salvador with CRLN.

Email Sharon at:

shunter-smith@crln.org

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U.S. organizations

AFL-CIO

Agricultural Missions, Inc (AMI)

Alianza Americas

Alliance for Global Justice

American Federation of Government Employees (AFL-CIO), Local 3354

American Friends Service Committee

American Jewish World Service

Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition (BALASC)

Benedictine Sisters of Erie

Bernardine Franciscan Sisters OSF

Brooklyn Greens/Green Party

Casa Baltimore/Limay, MD

Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

Center on Conscience & War

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL)

CIP Americas Program

Chicago ALBA Solidarity Committee

Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)

Church Women Umited in New York State

Climate Justice Committee of the Rochester, Minnesota Franciscans

CODEPINK

Colombia Human Rights Committee

Columbian Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)

Coloradans For Immigrant Rights, AFSC Colorado Office

Congregation of Notre Dame US Province – Justice and Peace Office

Congregation of St. Joseph Peace and Justice Team, Nazareth, MI

Congregational UCC Global Ministries Team, Ashland, Oregon

Denver Justice and Peace Committee

Dominican Sisters – Grand Rapids, MI

Dominican Sisters of Houston

8

th

Day Center for Justice

Human Rights Observation Honduras

Family Farm Defenders

Fellowship of Reconciliation USA

Friends of Latin America

Friendship Office of the Americas

Friends of the Earth

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Grassroots International

GreenFaith

Greenpeace

Guatemala Human Rights Commission

Guatemala Solidarity Project

Indigenous Environmental Network

Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project

International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines – US Committee

International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity for the Peoples

International Labor Rights Forum

Jesuit Conference of  Canada and the United States

JASS (Just Associates)

Just Foreign Policy

Justice Commission Committee of the Sisters of Providence

Justice, Peace and intergrity for Creation Committee of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

Indigenous Environmental Network

Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights

Intercommunity Ecological Council of LCWR Region 10

International Action Center

Inter Religious Task Force on Central America, Cleveland, OH

Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America

Latin America Solidarity Committee–Milwaukee

Latin America Task Force of Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice, Michigan

Latin America Working Group LAWG

La Voz de los de Abajo, Chicago

Leadership Team of the Felician Sisters of North America

Leicester Masaya Link Group

MADRE

Mayflower Church Global Justice Advocacy Team, MN

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light

Minnesota National Lawyer’s Guild

National Immigrant Solidarity Network Action LA Coalition

National Lawyers Guild

Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala/NISGUA

New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light

Nicaragua Center for Community Action (NICCA)

Occupy Bergen County

Oceano Organics Co-Op

Office of Peace, Justice, and Ecological Integrity – Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth

Other Worlds, U.S.

OWS Special Projects Affinity Group

Partners for the Land & Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples

Pax Christi International

Peace Action of Staten Island

Peace House Ashland, OR

Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane

Pesticide Action Network North America

Portland Central America Solidarity Committee

Presbyterian Church USA

Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

Quixote Center

Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Western American Province

Rights Action, Canada

Rights Action, USA

Rights and Ecology

School Sisters of Notre Dame in Honduras

Sierra Club

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston, TX

Sisters of Charity of New York Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team

Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities

Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, Justice and Peace Office

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny, Province of USA & Canada

Sisters of the Precious Blood

Sisters of Providence Leadership Team of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN

St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America

SHARE Foundation

SOA Watch

SOA Watch. Boulder CO

SOA Watch, Oakland CA

SOA Watch, San Francisco CA

Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville (SAL)

Task Force on the Americas

The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, US Region

Thousand Currents

TONATIERRA

Trade Justice New York Metro

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

US Peace Council

United Steel Workers (USW)

Veterans for Peace

Win Without War

WITNESS

Witness for Peace

Witness for Peace Midwest

Witness for Peace Northwest

Witness for Peace Southeast

Witness for Peace Southwest

World March of Women, US Chapter

350 New York City



Honduran organizations

Asociación de Jóvenes en Movimiento (AJEM)

Asociación de Jueces por la Democracia (AJD)

Asociación de Mujeres Intibucanas Renovadas (AMIR)

Asociación Feminista Trans (AFeT)

Asociación FIAN Honduras

Asociación Hermanas Misioneras de San Carlos Borromeo Scalabrinianas

Asociación Intermunicipal de Desarrollo y Vigilancia Social de Honduras (AIDEVISH)

Asociación LGTB Arcoiris de Honduras

Asociación Nacional de Personas viviendo con SIDA (ASONAPVSIDA)

Asociación para una Ciudadanía Participativa (ACI-PARTICIPA)

CARITAS – Diócesis de San Pedro Sula

Centro de Derechos de Mujeres (CDM)

Centro de Desarrollo Humano (CDH)

Centro de Educación y Prevención en Salud, Sexualidad y Sida (CEPRES)

Centro de Estudios de la Mujer Honduras (CEM-H)

Centro de Estudios para la Democracia (CESPAD)

Centro de Investigación y Promoción de Derechos Humanos (CIPRODEH)

Centro para la Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de Víctimas de la Tortura y sus Familiares (CPTRT)

Coalition Against Impunity

Colectivo Diamantes Limeños LGTB

Colectivo Gemas

Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa

Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos de Honduras (COFADEH)

Comité de Familiares de Migrantes Desaparecidos de El Progreso (COFAMIPRO)

Comité por la Libre Expresión C-Libre

Convergencia por los Derechos Humanos de la Zona Nor Occidental

Crisálidas de Villanueva

Coordinación de Instituciones Privadas por las niñas, niños, adolescentes, jóvenes y sus derechos (COIPRODEN)

Equipo de Monitoreo Independiente de Honduras (EMIH)

Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación (ERIC-SJ)

Feministas Universitarias

Familia Fransciscana de Honduras (JPIC)

Frente Amplio del COPEMH

Foro de Mujeres por la Vida

Foro Nacional para las Migraciones (FONAMIH)

Foro Social de la Deuda Externa y Desarrollo de Honduras (FOSDEH)

Indignados Unidos por Honduras

JASS en Honduras

Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia (MADJ)

Movimiento Diversidad en Resistencia (MDR)

Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz “Visitación Padilla”

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By Janis Rosheuvel from the United Methodist Women and CRLN leaders Pastor Lilian Amaya and Lissette Castillo, published on CommonDreams:


The crisis of incarceration this nation now faces demands people of faith act with swift and fierce moral authority to transform, not just reform, an irreparably broken system. It demands that all of us—clergy, seminarians, teachers, and people in pews, mosques and temples— provoke a revolution of values that strikes at the heart of mass incarceration. Without exception, we believers are required to realize a just world. This is our call, and we are falling short when it comes to how we treat those in jails, prisons and detention centers.

Thanks to powerful community organizing and mobilization many more people are cognizant of why mass incarceration must end.  Many of us already know the numbers: 2.3 million human beings locked down, as many as 9 million under some form of correctional control, including parole, probation or awaiting their day in court and almost 500,000 people passing through civil immigration detention annually. Growing numbers of us—particularly if we are poor, female, Black, Brown, immigrant, and or have mental health conditions—are facing incarceration or have loved ones who are. We know that the U.S. incarcerates more people per capita than any other nation on earth, approximately 700 persons per every 100,000. And we know that the racially biased “War on Drugs” has in the past 40 years incarcerated hundreds of millions of people for largely nonviolent drug offenses, tearing families asunder in the process.

Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary of the Chicago-based Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference and a leading voice in the faith community calling for an end to mass incarceration, says that we are in effect “a nation in chains.” If Dr. Carruthers is right, and she is, people of faith are being called to reject the dangerous mythologizes about why so many mainly poor Black and Brown people are incarcerated in the first place. Despite public perceptions, poor people of color are not more likely to use or sell drugs than their white counterparts. So what explains the disproportionate ways we are locked up?

To begin with, we are seeing the devastating results of the “tough on crime” rhetoric of the past four decades. Public policies like “stop-and-frisk,” “broken windows” promote over policing of minor offenses, which are the gateway to incarceration. Even as we write this piece, the nation is watching the unfolding of yet another case in which a young Black woman, Sandra Bland of Chicago, who ends up arrested, assaulted and dead in a jail cell after being stopped by a policeman in Texas for changing lanes without signaling while driving home from a job interview. “Zero tolerance” policing, the mass detention and deportation of millions of immigrants and a congressional bed quota mandate that requires immigrant detention centers to hold 34,000 people in the system each night, have all created a pipeline that forces targeted communities into a system not about rehabilitation, reconciliation and restitution, but about the social control of Black and Brown bodies. Indeed, the same companies that profit from the criminalization and mass incarceration of Black and Brown people, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, are reaping record profits at the expense of these chronically dehumanized and marginalized communities. In 2014 alone, these two corporations made nearly $470 million in revenue.

The historic and pervasive criminalization of communities of color in the United States is a key building block of the current system of mass incarceration.  As author and scholar Michelle Alexander deftly lays out in her seminal work The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, mass incarceration is largely about continuing to ensure the nation has a permanent, subservient and disenfranchised underclass whose very bodies and movement are caged and controlled. As Alexander has said, “Once you are labeled a felon you’re trapped for the rest of your life and subject to many of the old forms of discrimination in job applications, rental agreements, loan applications, school applications…Those labeled felons are even denied the right to vote.” And for immigrants, the reality of interacting with the criminal justice system often means entering a treacherous path toward, criminal incarceration, immigration detention, eventual deportation and a permanent bar to rejoining family in the United States.

Faith communities have been doing good work to resist mass incarceration: sponsoring conferences, reading, writing, visiting those in prison and more. Still more is required of us. We must LISTEN to those most impacted by the current crisis—people in jails, prisons, immigrant detention centers and their families. We must hear their stories without judgement or false moralizing. And we must listen to the solutions they have developed to resist and upend these oppressive systems. They must lead us. We must also continue to EDUCATE our communities and leaders about the current realities of the system. But it is not enough to raise consciousness we must also use our moral voice to regularly interrupt the ongoing harm that unjust socio-economic and political systems cause. And we must ACT/RESIST in ways that undermine business as usual. Street protests? Policy reform? Anti-racism workshops? Mobilizing alongside impacted communities? Transformation will not happen unless our actions engage these and many more forms of resistance. This is our call.

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Please share this message from our friends at Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD).

“No me quiero morir aquí” – Wilmer, 6/17/17

#ReleaseWilmer

Wilmer y Celene han estado luchando por su liberación desde que Wilmer fue detenido violentamente en Marzo. Wilmer esta parcialmente paralizado y los guardias adentro del centro de detención lo han estado lastimando a propósito. Recientemente se callo y su salud se a puesto en peor condición. Por favor ayúdanos demandar su liberación.

Please call and leave this message:

Script: Hello, I am calling to ask Director Ricardo Wong for the immediate release of Wilmer Catalan Ramirez, A#(098 500 300). Wilmer is in a life-threatening situation at McHenry County detention facility, and must be released to get the medical attention he needs. There have been too many deaths in ICE custody this year

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For over two years, the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) has been one of the organizations that coordinates a pastoral care program for unaccompanied children arriving at our borders in search of safety and refuge. Many of the children that we meet are undoubtedly among the most vulnerable children on the planet, escaping unimaginable violence and poverty. Just as we have committed to stand by them and to fight for the protection of their basic rights, today we express our full support and solidarity with the community leaders at Dyett who have been on hunger strike for more than two weeks now to save Dyett High School, Bronzeville’s last publicly-operated, open-enrollment, school from closing.

In Latin America, violence takes many shapes; sometimes violence manifests itself through violent crimes and actions that are carried out with near impunity, often by government officials themselves. Sometimes it can take on subtler forms: deprivation of economic opportunity, quality education, healthcare coverage, and of other factors which are so essential to the ability of individuals to lead dignified human lives. We interpret the closing of public schools, primarily in Black and Brown communities throughout Chicago, in the same way that we understand schemes of privatization and dispossession in Latin America: as an act of violence against communities of color.

As immigrants, the sons and daughters of immigrants, volunteers with the unaccompanied children, and people of faith committed to immigrant justice and justice in Latin America, we are humbled by the valiant actions of the Dyett 12 whose fast is reminiscent of the causes of justice described in the Bible.


“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”

Isaiah 58:6

We applaud the Dyett 12 and stand by their decision to resist injustice, to take–as so many immigrants have been forced to do–their children’s future into their own hands, even if and when this means risking perilous journeys, enduring hunger, and risking one’s health. We are confident that they will prove victorious in their quest and also call on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others to put into action the proposal for a Global Leadership and Green Technology High School that the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School helped develop, reminding the Mayor that “

if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

Isaiah 58:10

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In December of 2016, Wellington Ave. UCC welcomed through sponsorship two asylum seeking families in their request for asylum in the United States.  One of the families includes Maria, her sister Anna, and Maria’s daughter Elena. They are requesting protection from the U.S. government because they have been targeted by a powerful, criminal organization in Guatemala after they stood up to the organization by reporting their activities to the police.
Although Maria, Anna, and Elena all requested asylum together at the Mexico-U.S. border in December,

immigration officers cruelly separated the family

.  Maria and Elena were allowed to come into the United States and now reside in Chicago with the support of Wellington Ave. UCC and their pro bono attorneys.  However, Anna – who is only 20 years old –has been held in immigration custody in the Eloy Detention Center and has not seen her sister or niece since December. This separation has caused Maria and Anna much stress and anxiety and also makes it more difficult for them to obtain asylum in the United States because their cases will proceed separately.
An immigration judge is expected to allow Anna to be released on bond soon, but the bond amount is likely to be too high for Anna and Maria to pay.

The bond could be between $10,000-$20,000 and must be paid in full.

If she is able to pay her bond, Anna will be able to reunite with Maria and Elena here in Chicago and they will be able to seek asylum together as a family.

NOTE: If bond is not set, or once it is paid, your donation will be used to support the families’ expenses

, which are over $1200 per month for living costs including food, transportation, medical, dental, education, and support of Anna in detention.

If you prefer to make a tax-exempt donation

, you can send a check to Wellington Ave UCC with “IJTF Bond Fund” in the memo line. Send to: Wellington Ave UCC, 615 W Wellington, Chicago IL 60657
* Note: Names have been changed for safety reasons.
—————————-
En diciembre 2016, la iglesia Wellington Ave. United Church of Christ dio la bienvenida a dos familias buscando asilo en los EEUU. La familia incluye Maria, su hermana Anna, y su hija Elena. Las dos familias están pidiendo protección del gobierno de los EEUU porque fueron intimidados por parte de una organización criminal y poderosa de Guatemala después de resistir la organización y reportar sus actividades a la policía.
Maria, Anna y Elena pidieron asilo juntas en la frontera México-EEUU en diciembre. Desafortunadamente, los oficiales de inmigración las separaron en un actocruel. Inmigración le dio permiso a Maria y Elena de llegar a los EEUU. Ellas ya viven en Chicago, apoyadas por Wellington Ave. UCC y abogados pro bono. Sin embargo, Anna – que tiene solo 20 años – sigue detenida en Eloy Detention Center. Ella no ha podido ver a su hermana ni a su sobrina desde diciembre. Esto ha puesto a Maria y a Elena muy estresadas y ansiosas y se les ha hecho mucho más difícil lograr asilo en los EEUU, porque sus casos no pueden ser procesados juntos.
Anticipamos que muy pronto un juez de inmigración liberare a Anna con una fianza. Pero anticipamos que la fianza será demasiada cara para Anna y Maria. La fianza podría ser dentro de $10,000-$20,000 y se tiene que pagar en su total. Alpagar, Anna podra reunirse con Maria y Elena aquí en Chicago y podrán pedir asilo juntas como una familia.
NOTA: Si no se pone una fianza o una vez que se pague la fianza, los fondos restantes seran utilizados para los gastos diarios de la familia que son más de $1200 cada mes por comida, transporte, atencion medica y dental, educacion y para apoyar a Anna adentro del centro de detencion.

Si prefieren hacer una donacion exento de impuestos

, se pueden mandar un cheque a Wellington Ave UCC con “IJTF Bond Fund” en la linea “memo”. Manden a: Wellington Ave UCC, 615 W Wellington, Chicago IL 60657
*Para seguridad, hemos cambiado los nombres.
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Carlos Rosero and Javier Marrugo of the Afro-Colombian Peace Council speak in Chicago about the importance of inclusion of African descendants in peace talks and Peace Accord implementation.

(

Versión en Español aquí

)

Last week, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos met with President Obama to discuss a bilateral shift from 15 years of Plan Colombia to what the two heads of state are calling “


Peace Colombia


.” For the past decade and a half, Plan Colombia channeled billions of U.S. dollars to shore up Colombia’s military and police resources, more deeply militarizing the Colombian state’s strategy to fight a nominal war on drugs which displaced violence to the countryside and disproportionately affected

campesinos

, Afro-Colombians and Indigenous peoples.

Santos and Obama also discussed the grueling, decades long conflict in Colombia between the government, right-wing paramilitary groups, and leftist rebels which is likely to end in the coming months due to intense negotiations over the past several years through peace talks in Havana, Cuba. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (also known as FARC) reached an agreement


with the Colombian government


on a peace accord that could end the longest running civil war in the hemisphere. The talks have included the topics of the political participation of the FARC, drug-trafficking, the fundamental issue of the distribution and ownership of land in Colombia, the rights of victims, and the conditions for insurgents to turn in their weapons.

While the peace negotiations have been a crucial part of social movements’ strategy to mitigate the brutal violence (in fact, social movements, many of whom reject electoral politics, actually supported President Santos’ re-election with the goal that he would finalized the negotiations within his second term), Colombian organizers are not under the illusion that the accords nor the new “Peace Colombia” will bring fundamental peace to country, much less to the communities disproportionately affected by the violence (women,

campesinos

, African descendents and Indigenous peoples). We’ve heard over and over again that the peace accords will provide a pathway to peace, but that implementation, inclusion and accountability will be required if peace can ever become a fundamental reality.

Two pathways forward are crucial in this historic moment in Colombia:


First, regarding the implementation of the Peace Accords,

CRLN’s partner organizations in Colombia are pressing the international community to support their demands for (1) the inclusion of African descendant and Indigenous voices in the implementation process of the Peace Accords and (2) accompaniment for rebel groups like the FARC during their reentry into society so as not to reproduce the historic violence wielded against demobilized rebels as happened with the


Unión Patriotica in the 1980s and 1990s


when over 3,500 were assassinated. Stay tuned to CRLN’s website and facebook to stay up-to-date on our work to continue accompanying and supporting marginalized communities in Colombia during a transformational moment in their country’s history. And


sign the petition urging members of the peace negotiations to include Afro-descendant and Indigenous voices in the implementation period of the Peace Process


.


Second, regarding the new version of Plan Colombia now being called “Peace Colombia,”

it is crucial that the U.S. stop using its billions of dollars in aid to continue militarizing a country that is working to implement peace. CRLN partner organization the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), has provided


five sound recommendations


for shifting the policies of Plan Colombia away from militarization and towards the interests of those most directly affected by violence. Meanwhile, the national office of School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) is planning an investigatory delegation to the Panamanian border of Colombia where the U.S. is supporting the construction of yet another military base in an isolated and predominantly Indigenous and Afro-Colombian territory. The Illinois chapter of SOA Watch is


hosting a bowl-a-thon


to help fundraise in support of this delegation’s investigation of the ongoing militarization schemes during the ‘new’ era of “Peace Colombia.”


Click here to join a team and support this international organizing right from here in Chicago!

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