(Español aquí)

Honduras is the most dangerous country in the world in which to be an environmental activist and one of the most dangerous to be a journalist, union member, or member of a social movement opposed to the current Honduran administration’s policies. Members of the military and police have been implicated in violence against, including assassinations, of members of these groups. 97% of crimes committed in Honduras are left unsolved, with no consequences for the perpetrators.

In this context, we thank you for your signatures supporting the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (H.R. 5474). They helped


CRLN convince 7 out of 10


Democratic Illinois U.S. Representatives to co-sponsor this important legislation introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson. By the end of 2016, the bill, which would suspend U.S. security aid to Honduras pending compliance with international human rights standards, garnered a total of 52 co-sponsors nationwide.

Because the 114th Congressional session ended January 3 and any legislation that did not come to the House and Senate for a vote ended with it, H.R. 5474 will need to be reintroduced in the 115th Congressional session that runs from now through the end of 2018. Rep. Hank Johnson plans to reintroduce this bill.

As soon as that happens, CRLN will contact U.S. Representatives from Illinois to ask those who signed on (Schakowsky, Gutierrez, Davis, Rush, Quigley, Lipinski) to do so again. We will contact those of you in their districts to contact them, identify yourselves as CRLN members, thank them for their co-sponsorship last year, and ask support them to sign on again.

For those of you in districts whose Representatives did not co-sponsor, we will construct new arguments for why they should co-sponsor and will contact you at the appropriate time for signatures again to show support in your district for this bill. In addition, we have a fresh opportunity to speak with Representatives elected in November (Brad Schneider in the10th District, who replaces Bob Dold; and Raja Krishnamoorthi, who replaces Tammy Duckworth—now one of Illinois’ U.S. Senators—in the 8th District).

It is vitally important to people whose lives are under threat in Honduras that the U.S. stop providing weapons and training to the forces under the authority of the current Honduran President, Juan Orlando Hernandez, whose party illegally used and deprived the public of funds designated for the health care system to support his last election and who has just orchestrated a change to the constitution to allow himself to run again for President in 2017. Under his administration, military and police forces have been unleashed to do violene against those who oppose the corruption and anti-democratic maneuvers of many of those currently in power.

If you would like to take part in a delegation to Honduras to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Berta Caceres’ death and visit other groups struggling to defend their land and human rights, click

here

for more information.

Read More

Holding signs say “#Si a la Vida,” “#No a la Mineria,” “JODVID,” and “Topacio Vive,” students in Susana Martinez’ class at DePaul University pose for a photo with Alex Escobar of JODVID (Organized Youth in Defense of Life) after hearing him speak about the group’s work to close Tahoe Resources Escobal Silver Mine as part of the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA)’s Fall Speaking Tour. Click

here

to sign NISGUA’s petition to Nevada Senator Dean Heller, who has lobbied the State Department to support the mine.

We can never know the impact one human being can have on the actions of others. The story of JODVID begins in response to the 2014 murder of 16-year-old Topacio Reynoso, a young artist and activist who, with her parents, participated in a community protest to resist the operation of Tahoe Resources Escobal Silver Mine located east of San Rafael las Flores in Santa Rosa Department, Guatemala. Topacio was shot while getting into a car after the demonstration with her father, who was also severely injured; the murder has never been investigated. Her father was the victim of an assassination attempt again the next year.

In response, her friends joined together to continue Topacio’s environmental work and resistance to the Escobal mine through the youth organization, JODVID. They utilize her artwork in their environmental education sessions in their communities and in their protests against the mine. She inspires them to spread their work to other communities in Guatemala, doing workshops and conferences to inform people about the environmental consequences of mining and deforestation, and motivating others to resist the location of mines in their communities.

The Escobal mine is the third largest silver mine in the world. It was constructed right in the middle of fertile farmland and land for grazing cattle. While many in Guatemala struggle to bring in enough income from small-scale farming to subsist, the communities surrounding the mine had  sustainable farms. They are now threatened with water shortages, because the mine diverts enormous quantities of water for its mining processes. Alex described springs and underground streams turning to dust and rock. Also, the mine contaminates water by the process used to separate the metallic ore from the rock, and it is released into streams. Cattle and people downstream have become sick from drinking from this source.

Alex enumerated the ways in which the local community has tried to stop the mine and the ways the mine company has retaliated against them. Community leaders organized referenda to determine whether people wanted the mine in their community–98% voted no. The community of Casillas constructed a peaceful road block to prevent mining company vehicles or gasoline trucks supplying the mine’s generators from going to the mine site, allowing all other traffic to pass through. The mine needs generators to operate, because no community will give them access to municipal electricity, another indication of opposition to the mine. The mine company has criminalized the protesters by saying false things about them in the press, by calling the Guatemalan National Police to violently disperse the protesters with guns and batons. Nevertheless, people keep up the protests and road blocks.

The mine did not consult with the local Xinca indigenous community before beginning its construction; therefore, CALAS (Center for Environmental and Social Legal Action) brought a lawsuit against it. The Guatemalan Supreme Court ruled against the mine and ordered it to suspend operations last summer, but then reversed its decision in September. It lifted the suspension on mining for the time being and ordered the Ministry of Energy and Mines to conduct a consultation with the Xinca communitiy within a certain geographical distance of the mine, ignoring the results of the many community referenda that had already taken place. Depending on the result of the consultation ordered by the Supreme Court, one side or the other is likely to appeal the case to the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the Guatemalan judicial system.

While in Chicago, Alex spoke to 3 classrooms of students at DePaul University, to a meeting open to students and the public at North Park University in the Albany Park neighborhood, and at a public event at University Church in Hyde Park. Jerome McDonnell, host of WBEZ’s “Worldview” program, interviewed him, and the program will air sometime in the next couple of weeks.  We’ll keep CRLN members informed about the date.

In the meantime, please add your name to NISGUA’s

petition

to Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, asking him to publicly rescind his letter lobbying the State Department on behalf of the mine and act against further human rights abuses committed against communities opposing the mine.

CRLN partnered with NISGUA to bring Alex and NISGUA staff person and translator Becky Kaump to Chicago.

Read More


(Español aquí)

On January 15th, CRLN joined SOUL, A Just Harvest, Faith in Place, Fight for 15, Women Gathering for Justice, and the Workers Center for Racial Justice for a celebration and call to action to honor Martin Luther King Jr’s life and legacy of direct action to build social change.

A community of faith and conscience filled the space at the Willye B. White Fieldhouse in Rogers Park.

Rev. Marilyn Pagán-Banks, Rev. Booker Vance, and Rev. Teresa Smallwood opened up this event with a warm welcome, in prayer, and providing context.

OCAD (Organized Communities Against Deportations) and CRLN presented deportation defense as an important issue with a call to action for faith communities and elected officials. Rev. Alli Baker (Wellington Church, an immigrant welcoming congregation) framed the issue for the event, while OCAD and CRLN members gave public witness to the struggle of keeping the city and our communities accountable to being true “sanctuaries” in all its definitions. This includes the need for the elimination of an arbitrary gang database kept by the city that criminalizes communities of color, particularly Black communities, and allows for ICE and CPD collaboration in immigration cases.



As we continue to hold Mayor Emmanuel, Governor Rauner, ICE and all agencies accountable for criminalizing Black and Brown folks, raiding immigrant communities, and allowing our communities to be broken apart, we called (and continue to call) upon communities of faith to take action with us


.

As Martin Luther King said, “Let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful struggle for a new world.”

First, we call on faith communities and congregations to provide space within their spaces of worship for healing, educating, and organizing. Like many places of worship did in the 1970s and 1980s, open up your space for our undocumented siblings, brothers, and sisters fighting their deportations or for other directly-affected communities fighting other kinds of cases.

Second, we call on everyone here today to live our faith and values by organizing sanctuary spaces within your own community. We call on everyone to create sanctuary communities by opening your doors and hitting the streets. Sanctuary is a commitment to enacting our own visions of community care and safety. We reject divisive language that says some people are more deserving of love and protection than others.

To stay up to date on more ways to support current campaigns please follow CRLN, OCAD, and all our community partners on Facebook.

For more information please contact Cinthya Rodriguez, Immigration Organizer for CRLN at


crodriguez@crln.org


.

Read More

El 15 de enero, CRLN se unió a SOUL, A Just Harvest, Faith in Place, Lucha por 15, Women Gathering for Justice y el Workers Center for Racial Justice para una celebración y un llamado a la acción en honor a la vida de Martin Luther King Jr y su enfoque en acciónes directa para realizar cambios sociales.

Una comunidad de fe y conciencia llenó el espacio de Willye B. White Fieldhouse en la vecindad de Rogers Park.

Rev. Marilyn Pagán-Banks, Rev. Booker Vance y la Rev. Teresa Smallwood abrieron este evento con una cálida bienvenida, con oración y dando contexto.

OCAD (Comunidades Organizadas en Contra de las Deportaciones) y CRLN presentaron la defensa en contra de las deportaciónes como un tema importante y con un llamado a la acción para las comunidades de fe y los funcionarios publicos. Rev. Alli Baker (Iglesia de Wellington, una congregación que le da la bienvenida a los  inmigrantes) enmarcó el tema para el evento, mientras que miembros de OCAD y CRLN dieron testimonio público sobra la lucha para mantener tanto a la ciudad como nuestras comunidades responsables de ser verdaderos “santuarios” en todas sus definiciones. Esto incluye la necesidad de eliminar una base de datos de pandillas de la ciudad que criminaliza a comunidades de color, particularmente comunidades negras, y permite la colaboración entre ICE y CPD en casos de inmigración.



A medida que continuamos sosteniendo al alcalde Emmanuel, al gobernador Rauner, al ICE ya todas las agencias responsables de criminalizar a las comunidades negras y latinas, de asaltar a comunidades inmigrantes y de permitir que nuestras comunidades se rompan, llamamos a las comunidades de fe a tomar acción con nosotros.

Como dijo Martin Luther King: “Rededicémonos a la larga y amarga pero hermosa lucha por un mundo nuevo”.

Primero, pedimos a las comunidades de fe y congregaciones que provean espacio dentro de sus espacios de culto para sanar, educar y organizar. Como muchas congregaciones hicieron en los años 70 y los años 80, abran su espacio para nuestros hermanxs, hermanos y hermanas indocumentados que luchan en contra de sus deportaciones o para otras comunidades directamente afectadas que luchan contra otros tipos de casos.

En segundo lugar, invitamos a todos aquí hoy a vivir nuestra fe y valores al organizar espacios santuarios dentro de nuestras propias comunidades. Llamamos a todos a crear comunidades de santuario, abriendo sus puertas y saliendo a las calles. Sanctuario es un compromiso para promulgar nuestras propias visiones de cuidado y seguridad comunitaria. Rechazamos el lenguaje divisivo que dice que algunas personas son más merecedoras de amor y protección que otras.

Para estar al día sobre más formas de apoyar las campañas actuales, por favor, siga a CRLN, OCAD y todos nuestros socios de la comunidad en Facebook.


Para más información, comuníquese con Cinthya Rodriguez, organizadora de inmigración de CRLN en


crodriguez@crln.org


.

Read More

Save the date for

ICIRR’s Annual Immigration Summit

on

March 4

th

from 9am-12pm

under the theme of

“The Road to Making a Welcoming Illinois.”


Join community leaders and member organizations as we hold elected officials

, including Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Representative Elizabeth Hernandez, Representative Scott Drury, and Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer accountable to creating a more welcoming Illinois for immigrants and refugees!

The day will include popular education workshops, networking to build power and more at: The Road to a Welcoming Illinois, ICIRR Summit 2017!


Where:

1901 W Carroll Ave, Chicago, IL 60612-2401



RSVP HERE

Event Date:

Saturday, March 4, 2017 –

09:00

to

12:00

Read More