Welcome to the CRLN website

Welcome to the homepage of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN).  The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) stands in solidarity with those oppressed by poverty, violence and exclusion in this hemisphere working together for the respect of human dignity and empowerment of all peoples.  An interfaith network of individuals and communities, CRLN equips and mobilizes religious leaders, communities and individuals to advance peace, justice and human rights in our hemisphere.

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Pedal for Peace raises $16,376 for solidarity projects!

53 bikers, some accompanied by children, turned out on September 28 to ride in the 2014 Pedal for Peace Bike-a-thon.  The day was sunny and warm, with beautiful vistas of the city and Lake Michigan along the Chicago Lakefront Bikepath.  Collectively, the group raised a total of $16, 376 to be divided among 5 Chicago area organizations and CRLN to support health, education and community organizing projects in Latin America and Chicago:

*Pedal for Peace contributes funds used for scholarships for 5 college students in rural Cinquera, El Salvador, through Chicago-Cinquera Sister Cities.

*The event raises money that contributes to scholarships for 83 middle school and 16 high school students in Saq Ja', Guatemala, through the Chicago-Guatemala Partnership.

*Through La Voz de los de Abajo, Pedal for Peace proceeds are directed to a free hosptial for Garifuna people in Honduras and to a small farmers' organization to organize for land rights.

*Rural health promoters in African-descended and Indigenous communities in Colombia are trained with Pedal for Peace funds through Concern America.

*Pedal for Peace's newest participating group, the Immigant Youth Justice League, will help fund Organized Communities Against Deportations as they provide services to immigrant families whose members are facing deportation.

The remaining funds will support CRLN's work to stand in solidarity with those oppressed by poverty, violence and exclusion in this hemisphere, working together for the respect of human dignity and empowerment of all peoples.  A portion will support scholarships for students in Chacula, Guatemala, a community of returned refugees accompanied by CRLN Board member Martha Pierce, who leads a delegation there each year on the anniversary of their return. 

Sanctuary Case Moves Forward After Endorsements by Rep. Schakowsky, Sen. Biss

Beatriz Santiago-Ramirez, who has been in Sanctuary with her two children in order to avoid a deportation order, is looking toward possible resolution in the case after high-profile endorsements by several legislators and religious leaders.  "We are grateful to all those who have supported us," said Father Jose Landaverde, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission, the congregation providing Sanctuary.  "This case shows how religious leaders, working together with legislators, can make change for the immigrant community." 

Beatriz, who was the victim of a brutal sexual assault, cooperated in the prosecution of her attacker, and is therefore eligible for a U Visa, which would allow her to remain in the U.S.  Her application had been denied based on the failure of Madison County officials to update the required certification.  After months of inaction, the Madison County State's Attorney's office provided the needed certification on October 17th, just days after Rep. Jan Schakowsky pledged to support her.   "As an author of the U visa legislation, and an enthusiastic supporter of the Sanctuary Movement, I am thrilled to see that justice delayed is not justice denied for Beatriz," remarked Congresswoman Schakowsky.

Join us! CRLN's 2014 Annual Luncheon with Karla Lara

Join CRLN & Honduran artist, feminist & journalist, Karla Lara for our 2014 Annual Luncheon, 

Un Pueblo Que No Calla: 

Voices from the Resistance Movement in Honduras

November 6th, 2014, 12:00PM-2:00PM

Old St. Pat's Church, 700 W Adams



Karla Lara's tour will celebrate the resistance movement in Honduras since the 2009 U.S.-backed coup & create spiritual space that inspires social movement through art & song. Grounded in a feminist perspective, Karla will lift up la lucha - the struggle - against militarization, political violence & attacks against social movements. Gather with us to celebrate el pueblo que no calla, the people who will not be silenced!


Sanctuary Movement Taking Off in Chicago and Nation

"Sanctuary is important work for faith communities that seek to expose the inhumanity of our immigration laws"

- Rev. Julian DeShazier of University Church, member of Chicago New Sanctuary Coalition

When Beatriz Santiago Ramirez sought Sanctuary at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, she knew she needed help fighting her deportation.  She now finds herself in the midst of a national resurgence which is exploding on the national scene.

Local Links: Sign a petition to stop the deportation of Beatriz Santiago Ramirez; and read articles: Sun Times print and video, Fox News Latino, and Univision.

National links: http://www.sanctuary2014.org/ Read about how the movement is exploding across the nation, and how you can participate.  Read articles in Think Progress, The Wall St. Journal, and Slate.

Chicago Fair Trade GlobalFest: Latin America

11/14/2014 - 5:30pm
11/14/2014 - 9:30pm
Chicago Fair Trade's annual benefit, GlobalFest: Latin America, will be held on Friday, November 14 at 5:30 pm at the National Mexican Museum of Art. Come celebrate as CFT shares fair trade stories from their CFT businesses who work in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, El Salvador, Argentina, and México. There will be heavy appetizers, fair trade wine and cocktails, local craft beer, and a fabulous silent auction!

Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Chicago: How You Can Help

Chicago Religious Leadership Network has taken a leading role in developing an interfaith pastoral care ministry with the unaccompanied migrant children in Chicago.  With your help, we can provide protection and a measure of peace in their young lives.  Here's what you can do:

Protect the Laws that Protect Children

1. Call your Congressional Representatives and ask for their support to maintain protections under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA).  This crucial law, signed by President Bush, provides protections for the most vulnerable among us. 

2.  Write a Letter to the Editor or Op-Ed piece in your local newspaper.  We can help.

Pray for the Children.  Connect Your Worship Experience to Ours

1. Invite your congregation to use our colorful "floating prayer candles" during worship. For a template and instructions, see the attachment below.

2. Sing "This Land Is Your Land" in your worship, and plan to join the combined choir at our Oct. 12 event (below).

SOA Vigil Update

You may have already heard about the most recent efforts by the Columbus Police Department to limit this year’s Vigil. CRLN joined the efforts of the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) and other organizations to write to Police Chief Ricky Boren with a clear message: we will not stand for this repression of our constitutional right to free speech! The Columbus Police Department received a large number of letters from organizations and longtime participants, and have agreed to proceed in negotiations with SOAW so that the Vigil will still go on. It is one of the largest convergences of peaceful protest in the US. This is not the first time the Columbus Police Department has tried to stop participants from exercising their rights guaranteed by the Constitution, but SOAW, with the help of its legal team, has always prevailed. CRLN encourages our members to attend the Vigil this November 21-23!

National Day of Action to Protect Children & Families

National Day of Action to Protect our Children, Protect our Families! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

10 AM 

For Location and RSVP information, please contact Lissette Castillo (lcastillo@crln.org or 773-293-3680). 


Photo: bet.comPhoto: bet.comLooking around us, it's undeniable that this country is undergoing a moral test.


As you know, under the Obama administration nearly two million people have been deported and thousands upon thousands of families torn apart.


Before leaving for August recess, on its end the House approved a bill which cuts back due process and essential protections for children and refugees as legally established under the Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). As if this were not enough, the House also voted to end the hard-fought for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which provides protection to undocumented youth or "DREAMers" from deportation.

USAID in Cuba: The Latest U.S. Program to Create Political Dissent

LAWG blog post by Taylor Clark, LAWG Intern on August 09, 2014

The Associated Press published a report earlier this week uncovering a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program, now known as the “Travelers Project,” that recruited youths from Peru, Venezuela, and Costa Rica from 2009 through 2012 to run and participate in civic programs in Cuba while secretly stirring up anti-government activism. The most notable of the projects organized by the USAID contractors was an HIV/AIDS prevention clinic that was dually used to scout possible anti-Castro youth organizers. According to USAID documents, the HIV program was described as a “perfect excuse” to recruit political activists. Under the “Travelers Project,” the USAID directed agents to act as tourists, socialize on college campuses, and hold various gatherings in order to profile and organize potential dissident youth leaders.

USAID contractor Creative Associates International was used to organize and execute the project. This group also served as an integral part of the controversial ZunZuneo or “Cuban Twitter” program, which sent political propaganda to cell phone users in Cuba under the guise of providing access to a social media system. In the Travelers Project, “travelers” from various Latin American nations were given brief training on how to avoid Cuban authorities and were taught how to use certain coded messages to communicate with each other. Some of these agents were compensated as little as $5.41 per hour. Creative Associates instructed the youths on how to behave if they were caught and questioned by Cuban authorities, directing them to immediately call their embassy and never mention the Creative Associates group.