ACTION ALERT: Now is the time!


Call Your Senators EVERY DAY until Immigration
Reform Passes!


Call

1-866-940-2439


(or
202-224-3121)

Feel free to use this sample script:


“I am from [City, State, Congregation], and as a person of faith, I urge the Senator to vote YES for the bipartisan immigration reform bill. I urge the Senator to protect the refugee and asylum provisions from negative amendments, and to support amendments that would reunite families, reform enforcement practices to be more humane, and make the path to citizenship more accessible.”


Background:

The Senate will be considering amendments to the bipartisan immigration reform bill as early as
Monday, June 10th, and voting on the bill in late June. Key amendments will be
considered regarding who is eligible for the path to citizenship, social
services available to immigrants, intrusive enforcement practices and border
militarization, and changes that could negatively impact refugees and asylum
seekers. We need 60 votes to pass positive amendments; 41 votes to defeat
negative amendments; and a final 60 votes for immigration reform to pass in the
Senate.

Amendments will be considered very quickly, so it’s important that your Senators hear from you NOW and EVERY DAY until the Senate passes immigration reform! Your Representatives
also need to hear from you, as many worry that the House will not support a
pathway to citizenship for our undocumented community members. You can find
your Senators and Representatives’ direct contact information at

www.senate.gov 

and

www.house.gov

.

During the amendment process, we made more than 3,000 calls, and were a big part of
defeating the worst amendments and gaining modest improvements to the bill. We
need to escalate the number of calls made during the upcoming debate and vote
on the Senate floor. ALL Senators must hear from their constituents who support
immigration reform that reform must prioritize family unity and create a clear
and accessible pathway to citizenship.


Call

1-866-940-2439


to be connected with your Senators.

Feel free to use this sample script:


“I am from [City,
State, Congregation], and as a person of faith, I urge the Senator to vote YES
for the bipartisan immigration reform bill. I urge the Senator to protect the
refugee and asylum provisions from negative amendments, and to support
amendments that would reunite families, reform enforcement practices to be more
humane, and make the path to citizenship more accessible.”

Follow @CRLN_LA on Twitter and “like” the CRLN-Chicago Religious Leadership
Network on Latin America or Chicago New Sanctuary
Coalition on Facebook to receive the most up-to-date alerts on amendments being
considered in the Senate floor debate. Find Your Senators’ Twitter names on their websites
http://www.senate.gov and urge them to vote YES on S.744 by tweeting @[their twitter
name].

Ex: “@Sen_JoeManchin As a
West Virginian & person of faith I urge you to support #pathtocitizenship #immigration
reform #cir”

Also, consider writing
a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in support of immigration
reform, urging your Senators and Representatives to be champions for family
unity, refugees and asylum seekers, a pathway to citizenship, and more humane enforcement
practices. Host prayer vigils and other faithful actions near your Senator or
Representatives’ office, and get your community involved by writing letters and
spreading this alert far and wide. For resources and more information, go to
www.crln.org.

Read More

Public Citizen has published a thorough review of the past 20 years of NAFTA with their new report, “NAFTA at 20: One Million U.S. Jobs Lost, Mass Displacement and Instability in Mexico, Record Income Inequality, Scores of Corporate Attacks on Environmental and Health
Laws” Click here to see the report.  and march with CRLN and the Illinois Fair Trade Coalition this Saturday to say ‘¡No más!’ to this harmful legacy of free trade and neoliberalism! No to the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a.k.a. NAFTA on Steroids!

Contact your members of Congress 
to urge them to vote no on Fast Track legislation for the TPP!

Below are some of the reports’ main findings, but click here to see the report in fullWith mounting evidence around the false promises of free trade, the report goes more deeply into growing income inequality throughout the hemisphere and lawsuits filed by corporations against sovereign nations for “a loss of future profits” resulting from domestic public interest and environmental laws.

  • The export of subsidized U.S. corn did increase under NAFTA, destroying the
    livelihoods of more than one million Mexican campesino farmers and
    about 1.4 million additional Mexican workers whose livelihoods depended on
    agriculture.
  • Scores of NAFTA countries’ environmental and health laws have been challenged in foreign tribunals through the controversial investor-state system. More than $360 million in compensation to investors has been extracted from NAFTA governments via “investor-state” tribunal challenges against toxics bans, land-use rules, water and forestry policies and more. More than $12.4 billion are currently pending in such claims.
  • Facingdisplacement, rising prices and stagnant wages, over half of the Mexican
    population, and over 60 percent of the rural population, still fall below
    the poverty line, despite the promises made by NAFTA’s proponents.
  • Though the price paid to Mexican farmers for corn plummeted after NAFTA, the deregulated retail price of tortillas – Mexico’s staple food – shot up 279 percent in the pact’s first 10 years.
Read More

Article by CRLN staff member, Celeste Larkin and Chicago organizer, Martin Macias, published on truthout about a mostly people of color delegation to Colombia to visit African descendant communities organizing for their autonomy, land and lives. Celeste and Martin report back from their trip and explore what it means to be in solidarity with the communities they met in Colombia.

Click here to read the full article.

Globalizing
the Struggle, From Ferguson to Colombia: State Violence and Racialized
Oppression Know No Borders

 

Jumping Rope in Buenaventura: Children from the community of La Playita play across from the site of where paramilitaries would torture and brutally dismember residents. Residents tore it down and built a community center next door.

Jumping Rope in Buenaventura:

Children from the community of La Playita play across from the site of where paramilitaries would torture and brutally dismember residents. Residents tore it down and built a community center next door.

For decades, Afro-descendant
communities in Colombia have fought for autonomy and self-determination as a
response to government policies that produce multiple forms of violence in
their communities. Fully aware of, and in solidarity with, mobilizations in
Ferguson, Afro-Colombians recognize the common dreams of movements for racial
justice for people of color people across the hemisphere. Two members of a
delegation that visited these communities in August 2014 reflect on their own
solidarity process and explore the ways that transnational solidarity manifests
(or doesn’t) in movements. How can we move beyond allyship and towards a
practice of co-struggling?

One week after Michael Brown was
murdered in Ferguson, nine US-based activists and artists of color and one white
woman traveled to meet racial justice movement leaders in Colombia. Our
delegation was led by

Proceso de Comunidades Negras

(PCN, Black Community Process), a collective of African-descendant Colombian groups focused
on cultural and political power for Colombia’s black population. The history of
dispossession is a long one for African descendants in Colombia and across the
diaspora i.e. European colonial conquests, subsequent violent and dehumanizing
economies of enslavement, the state’s denial of social services and
reparations. With the energy of the #BlacksLivesMatter mobilizations flowing
through our hearts and minds, we began our weeklong human rights delegation
throughout the Southwest Valle de Cauca region of Colombia.

Communities in that region have
experienced displacement and disenfranchisement (and/or the threat of them) for
decades as a result of large-scale infrastructure development, tourism
expansion projects and agricultural policies that favor production of export
crops (mainly sugar cane) over domestic food production. Some communities are
actively resisting illegal mining operations that destroy and usurp their
ancestral territories. Residents are actively resisting the destruction/capture
of their land which comes as a result of illegal mining operations. The
directors of these illegal enterprises operate with impunity – which is further
demonstrated by their use of paramilitary forces to threaten or assassinate
community leaders.


Reparations


And if thy brother, a Hebrew man, or
a Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the
seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. And when thou sendest him
out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: thou shalt furnish
him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress:
of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou


shalt give unto him. And thou shalt
remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God
redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing today.


– DEUTERONOMY 15: 12-15

It’s with this Biblical passage that
Ta-Nehisi Coates started his crucial essay, ”

The Case for Reparations

The passage has very real implications: if a person or community has been
subjected to a traumatic period (or century) of bondage and dispossession, it
would be unjust and ahistorical to expect that they can immediately begin a
productive, happy life with such a deficit in power, resources, and
self-determination. Indeed, the historic and collective dispossession of
Afro-Colombians must be reconciled through amends and reparations, or the
imbalance of power at all levels of society will continue and their newfound
“equality” will be nominal only.

Yet instead of redistributing the
wealth created off the backs of generations of people of color and through
racist and violent projects of dispossession, the US government has
successfully streamlined capital and resources into the lucrative projects of
the military industrial complex which has been utilized to maintain order more
than protect and serve. The racialized patterns of criminalization within this
environment of military build-up have created an era wherein the bodies of
people of color are treated as criminal until proven innocent. And it is within
this setting of very immediate violence and years of residual trauma that
Coates’ call for reparations historicizes the urgency for fundamental changes
for communities of color.


CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE ARTICLE.



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Please make one phone call now to restore crucial funding for immigrant services across the state.  The Illinois Senate just passed a bill intended to restore programs eliminated on April 3 which include the Immigrant Services Line Item. At $6.67 million, the Immigrant Services Line Item (ISLI) within the Illinois Department of Human Services budget makes up less than .01% of the total state budget.  ISLI funds two major programs:

  • The Immigrant Family Resource Program provides information and assistance to families interacting with state agencies as they work toward self-sufficiency.  The program engages immigrant serving agencies to help IDHS fulfill its legal obligations to provide language-appropriate services.  Over the past 12 years it has connected more than 500,000 immigrants to vital safety net services and helped them navigate the challenging process of integration.
  • The New Americans Initiative brings together immigrant serving organizations to promote US citizenship and provide citizenship application assistance.  The program has helped more than 96,000 immigrants with their applications since 2005.  Immigrants who become US citizens earn on average $7000 more per year than noncitizens, and pay more in taxes.

We must now tell the House Members we need their vote. Please call your state representative now and ask them to vote yes on SB274 Amendment 4 to restore funding for immigrant services.


TAKE ACTION: Please call your State Representative


“My name is ____ and I’m a member of Chicago Religious Leadership Network.  I’m asking for Rep ____to support full restoration of the $26 million to the Fiscal Year 2015 budget including the Immigrant Services Line Item.  Please vote yes on SB274 Amendment 4.”


FIND YOUR LEGISLATOR HERE

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The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America and our Chicago partners made a visit to Senator Durbin’s office on Monday, May 18th in celebration of the international Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia. This year’s theme was “Tomorrow’s Peace Starts Today”. We delivered a “SHALOM” banner, courtesy of the 8th Day Center for Justice, and we discussed calls for the U.S. government to shift billions in military aid to help implement the Peace Process in Colombia.

We discussed the root causes of the conflict and asked that Senator Durbin, with his position on the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate’s powerful Appropriations Committee, use his power to move U.S. aid away from military funding and towards support for civic efforts like the Labor Action plan and land restitution work. We delivered articles about problems of inclusion in the peace process; the historic and fundamental conflicts over land and problems of paramilitaries; and models of countries where militarization does not dominate social policies. 

We’ll continue to push Senator Durbin’s office to change the nature of U.S. support for a militarized Colombia within a process for peace. Here from Chicago, we’ll keep working to make sure that tomorrow’s peace starts today! ‪#‎DOPA2015

————————————————————————————————————————————

La Red de Líderes Religiosos en Chicago para América Latina y nuestrxs compañerxs visitamos la oficina del Senador Durbin este lunes pasado, 18 de mayo para celebrar los Días de Oración y Acción por la Paz en Colombia. El tema de la celebración internacional este año fue “La Paz de Mañana Empieza Hoy”. Llevamos un cartel de “SHALOM”, hecho por nuestxs amigxs en el Centro de Justicia 8º Día, y exigimos al  gobierno Estadounidense que cambie su apoyo militar para empezar la implementación de Proceso de Paz en Colombia.

Discutimos los orígenes del conflicto y pedimos al Senador Durbin, con su posición en el Subcomité de Defensa en el poderoso Comité de apropiaciones del Senado, use su poder para cambiar el  apoyo militar de EEUU a Colombia a un tipo de apoyo que hace posible esfuerzos cívicos como el Plan de Acción Laboral y la restitución de las tierras a comunidades desplazadas. Llevamos con nosotrxs artículos sobre los problemas de inclusión en el proceso de paz; los conflictos históricos y fundamentales sobre la tierra y problemas de paramilitares; y modelos de países donde la militarización no domina política social.

Seguimos exigiendo que la oficina del Senador Durbin trabaje para cambiar el apoyo militar a Colombia dentro de un Proceso de Paz.  Desde Chicago, seguimos trabajando para asegurar que ¡la paz de mañana empieza hoy! #DOPA2015

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(Español Aqui)

The end of 2016 and 2017 have seen the adoption of Peace Accords between the Colombian government and the largest rebel group, FARC, and a new round of Peace Talks begun between the government and the smaller rebel group, ELN. At this point, the FARC has demobilized and is moving into designated “camps,” where they will live for an allotted amount of time before being free to relocate. They have been given the right to form a political party and run candidates for public office.

However, other armed groups who were not part of the Peace Accords still roam the countryside and are moving with their weapons into the spaces that the FARC used to control. These are the right-wing successors to the paramilitary groups that were supposedly dismantled ten years ago. Local people they terrorize say these newly named groups contain many of the same individuals who belonged to the former paramilitary groups. They also say that the national security forces do nothing to stop paramilitary violence, even when they are stationed nearby and are asked to do so.

These armed groups have often been deployed to further private interests on valuable land—for example, to violently displace communities of small landholders to provide free land for wealthy individuals or corporations to plant palm oil plantations. By 2017, over 6 million people had been violently displaced from their land in Colombia during the course of the 50+ year war.

Since December of 2016, these reorganized paramilitary groups have gone on a rampage, particularly in areas with African-descended and Indigenous populations, and killed hundreds of people. There is no peace, despite the Peace Accords, in the many areas where these groups are active. Without some commitment on the part of the Colombian government to disarm and dismantle these reorganized paramilitary groups, there will be no peace in Colombia. Nor will there be peace unless those in the paramilitary groups who have committed human rights violations are held to the same standards of justice as members of FARC during the period of transitional justice on the road to peace.

Before he left office, President Obama had promised $450 million to Colombia, much of it to be given to NGOs rather than the government, to support the implementation of the Peace Accords. While CRLN appreciated the diversion of military funds to funds for peace, we thought these funds would be better used if distributed directly to grassroots Colombian groups active in the local places where peace must be realized between former combatants on opposite sides in the war or between combatants from either side and civilian survivors of violence. That may be a moot point, as President Trump and his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, have signaled that the US may withdraw support from Colombia’s peace process entirely. We must advocate for continuing support for the peace process, given its fragility and the challenges it faces.


CRLN will be in DC from April 21-24, visiting Illinois Representatives and Senators. Send your signature to D.C. with CRLN

by singing up HERE.

Our ask will be for funding to implement the Peace Accords in Colombia and for Colombian officials to dismantle paramilitaries still active in the country.​

For further reading, here are some recent articles on Colombia:

Amnesty International report on attacks in NW Colombia:


https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/03/colombia-spike-in-attacks-against-peace-community-shows-conflict-still-alive

Telesur article on paramilitary groups moving into territory left behind as FARC demobilizes:

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Paramilitary-Groups-Fight-To-Take-Over-Lands-Left-by-FARC-20170212-0040.html

Washington Office on Latin America on Colombian Congressional efforts to water down Peace Accords:

Colombia’s New Transitional Justice Law Violates the Spirit of the Peace Accords


NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America) on the importance of continued US-Colombia solidarity:


https://nacla.org/news/2017/02/07/continued-importance-us-colombia-solidarity-trump-era?platform=hootsuite&utm_content=buffer3fe1d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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(Español Aqui)

Berta Caceres’ Case

COPINH denounces the continous will of the Honduran State to keep in impunity the case of Berta Cáceres Flores. Read their statement here: (Spanish only)

http://copinhonduras.blogspot.it/2017/04/el-copinh-denuncia-la-reiterada.html

On April 7th,

Two letters by US Senators and Representatives were sent to the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressing their concern about the situation of human right defenders in Honduras.

78 US politicians demand that military and police aid to Honduras be withheld until the situation for human rights defenders improves drastically in the country.

CRLN staff and board members participated, in a Voz de los de Abajo delegation in March, as human rights observers in a march by COPINH and its allies to the Supreme Court. They delivered a letter containing a constitutional challenge to the legality of the Legislative Decrees authorizing the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Project on the Gualcarque River, something Berta had wanted to do before she was killed. That was March 1, and the Constitutional Chamber has not yet admitted it for consideration by the Supreme Court.

*Karla Lara and Melissa Cardoza, feminists, social justice organizers in Honduras and close friends of Berta Caceres, are doing a US tour April 20th to May 23rd.

Melissa Cardoza’s book,


13 Colors of the Honduran Resistance,
tells thirteen stories of women who joined the resistance to the U.S.-backed 2009 coup d’etat. She will be touring along with her fellow member of the Honduran “Red de Defensoras,” or network of women rights defenders, beloved Honduran jazz/folk protest singer

Karla Lara,

who appears in one of the book’s stories and has been an icon and sharp voice in the resistance.

They will be in Chicago with CRLN on April 30th, Join Us.

Read more about Karla and Melissa and their work here.

2017 National Elections

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) is an ally of the Juan Orlando government, by letting him run for the 2017 elections, despite that re-election is prohibited by the Honduran constitution. Now, the TSE wants to forbid the Party Against Corruption (PAC), a major opposition party, from the national elections on November. The TSE wants PAC to hold an internal leadership election on May 21ST. However, this date will give the political opposition just four days to decide on a political alliance- making it extremely hard to form such alliance. By May 25, all alliances must be officially listed.

Garifuna and Indigenous Communities

The UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples,

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, visited Honduras from April 16-21st.

She met with the highest national governmental authorities, representatives of indigenous peoples, civil society organizations and the private sector.

Her first visit to the country was in November 2015

. This second visit was a follow up on observations and recommendations regarding the process to regulate the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous and Afro-Honduran peoples. She presented recommendations to the Honduran government, and many fear that these

recommendations will be ignored once again.

The Honduran government is currently drafting a free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) law. However indigenous organizations, such as OFRANEH (Garifuna) and COPINH (Lenca) , denounce that the government is

marginalizing indigenous communities from the process and instead the Juan Orlando’s administration is taking over.

There has been a

recent violent attack against labor leaders at the international company Fyffes.

Solidarity Center reports that “Moisés Sánchez, secretary general of the melon export branch of the Honduran agricultural workers’ union, Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares (STAS), and his brother, union member Misael Sánchez

, say they were attacked late last week by six men wielding machetes as they left the union office in the southern town of Choluteca

, an area where agricultural workers harvest melons and other export produce”.

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  • Caso de Berta Caceres

COPINH denuncia la reiterada voluntad del Estado hondureño de mantener en la impunidad el caso de Berta Cáceres Flores. Lea su declaración aquí: (en español solamente).

http://copinhonduras.blogspot.it/2017/04/el-copinh-denuncia-la-reiterada.html

El 7 de abril, dos cartas de parte de Senadores y Representantes de los Estados Unidos fueron enviadas al Secretario de Relaciones Exteriores de los Estados Unidos, Rex Tillerson,

expresando su preocupación por la situación de los defensores de derechos humanos en Honduras.

78 políticos estadounidenses exigen que la ayuda militar y policial a Honduras sea retenida hasta que la situación de los defensores de derechos humanos mejore drásticamente en el país.

Parte del personal y miembros de CRLN participaron en una delegación de La Voz de los de Abajo en marzo, como observadores de derechos humanos en una marcha de COPINH y sus aliados ante la Corte Suprema de Honduras. Entregaron una carta que contenía una impugnación constitucional a la legalidad de los Decretos Legislativos que autorizaba el Proyecto Hidroeléctrico Agua Zarca en el Río Gualcarque, algo que Berta había querido hacer antes de ser asesinada. Eso fue el 1 de marzo, y la Sala Constitucional aún no lo ha admitido para la consideración por el Tribunal Supremo.

* Karla Lara y Melissa Cardoza, feministas, organizadoras de justicia social en Honduras y amigas cercanas de Berta Cáceres, están realizando una gira estadounidense del 20 de abril al 23 de mayo. El libro de Melissa Cardoza, 13 Colores de la Resistencia Hondureña, cuenta trece historias de mujeres que se unieron a la resistencia después del golpe de Estado del 2009 respaldado por Estados Unidos. Ella estará de gira junto con su compañera de la Red de Defensoras de Honduras, Karla Lara,  la amada cantante hondureña de jazz y folk , que aparece en una de las historias del libro y ha sido un icono y voz de la resistencia.

Estarán en Chicago con CRLN el 30 de abril, únase a nosotros.

Lea más sobre Karla y Melissa y su trabajo

aquí.

Elecciones Nacionales del 2017

El Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) es un aliado del gobierno de Juan Orlando Hernández, al permitirle ser parte de las elecciones del 2017, a pesar de que la reelección está prohibida por la Constitución hondureña. Ahora, el TSE quiere prohibir el Partido Anti-Corrupción (PAC), un importante partido de la oposición, de las elecciones nacionales de noviembre. El TSE quiere que el PAC celebre elecciones de liderazgo interno el 21 de mayo. Sin embargo, esta fecha dará a la oposición política sólo cuatro días para decidir sobre una alianza política, lo que hace extremadamente difícil formar esa alianza. Para el 25 de mayo, todas las alianzas deben estar listadas oficialmente.

Comunidades Indigenas

La Relatora Especial de las Naciones Unidas sobre Pueblos Indígenas, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, visitó Honduras del 16 al 21 de abril. Se reunió con las más altas autoridades gubernamentales nacionales, representantes de los pueblos indígenas, organizaciones de la sociedad civil y el sector privado. Su primera visita al país fue en noviembre de 2015. Esta segunda visita fue un seguimiento de las observaciones y recomendaciones sobre el proceso para regular el consentimiento libre, previo e informado de los pueblos indígenas y afro hondureños. Ella presentó recomendaciones al gobierno hondureño,

y muchos temen que estas recomendaciones sean ignoradas una vez más.

El gobierno hondureño está actualmente redactando una ley de consentimiento libre, previo e informado (CLPI). Sin embargo, organizaciones indígenas, como OFRANEH (Garifuna) y COPINH (Lenca),

denuncian que el gobierno está marginando a las comunidades indígenas del proceso

y en su lugar la administración de Juan Orlando está tomando el liderazgo.

Ha habido un reciente ataque violento contra líderes sindicales en la empresa internacional Fyffes. El Centro de Solidaridad informa que “Moisés Sánchez, secretario general de la rama exportadora de melón del Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares (STAS), y su hermano, sindicalista Misael Sánchez, dicen que fueron atacados la semana pasada por seis hombres con machetes mientras salían de la oficina sindical en Choluteca al Sur del pais, donde los trabajadores agrícolas cosechan melones y otros productos de exportación “.

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