Welcome to the homepage of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN).

Mission: The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)  builds partnerships among social movements and organized communities within and between the U.S. and Latin America. We work together through popular education, grassroots organizing, public policy advocacy, and direct action to dismantle U.S. militarism, neoliberal economic and immigration policy, and other forms of state and institutional violence.We are united by our liberating faiths and inspired by the power of people to organize and to find allies to work for sustainable economies, just relationships and human dignity.  

Misión en español: 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.

 
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CRLN gratefully acknowldges the support of the following Foundations: Crossroads Fund, Helen Brach Foundation, Landau Family Foundation, Pierce Family Charitable Foundation and Woods Fund of Chicago. 

Immediate Reactions to SCOTUS DAPA/DACA Decision

Supreme Court Strikes Down Immigration Executive Actions; Chicagoland Faith Communities to Continue Organizing and Fighting Deportations

Thursday morning the Supreme Court delivered its decision on Texas vs. US, a Republican-led lawsuit against the deferred action programs announced in November, 2014. After years of intense fighting and organizing to push President Obama to take action and waiting more than a year for this moment, immigrant communities have once more been let down by institutional and political gridlock.

Despite widespread agreement by legal and constitutional experts that the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood...

Take Action! "Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act"

(Español aquí) On Wednesday, June 15th, people all over the world demonstrated outside Honduran Embassies and Consulates in solidarity with the Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). It was COPINH’s Global day of Action for Justice for Berta and demonstrations occurred in over 30 cities across the world.

Meanwhile, after much grassroots organizing and pressure, Representative Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) introduced H.R.5474, the “ Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act ”. We have a powerful and rare legislative opportunity to demand an immediate hold on all U.S. security aid to Honduras, which is currently fostering death squad activity directly linked to Berta Cáceres’ assassination.

To act now, click here to find your member of the House of Representatives, call their office in Washington DC, and ask to speak to the Foreign Policy staffer. If they are not available, you can leave them the following message or if you catch them in the office, you can tell them the following:

“I’m calling to ask that Rep. _________ support H.R.5474, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act . My community does not want our tax dollars funding death squads in Honduras. Instead we want a full and independent investigation into the murder of Berta Cáceres, prosecution of the intellectual and material authors of her murder, and the establishment of democratic systems of justice in Honduras in order to protect the rights of hundreds of political activists under attack all over the country.”

Report back & Day of Action: Solidarity with Honduras & COPINH!

( Español aquí ) Last Wednesday, Indigenous COPINH leader Tomás Membreño was in Chicago talking to our community about COPINH’s struggle, making demands of Senator Dick Durbin, talking with Jerome McDonnell of Worldview, and continuing to demand justice for Berta and for the people of Honduras.

CRLN helped draft and deliver a letter to Senator Durbin during a morning press conference downtown asking that he use his power as a ranking Democrat on the Defense Subcommittee of Appropriations to immediately withhold all security aid to Honduras. CRLN first made this ask in April when we visited Senator Durbin’s office and delivered a letter signed by dozens of faith, lay and CRLN leaders from Illinois. (See both letters attached below!)

While we continue working to follow up with Senator Durbin and pressure him to withhold all security aid to Honduras, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) has called for an international day of solidarity this Wednesday, June 15th, 2016.

Join the world in a day of action for Berta Caceres!

11:00AM-1:00PM, Honduran Consulate:

4439 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60639

Agrarian Strike Disrupts Business as Usual in Colombia & Wins

Español aquí ( Photo: CRLN board and staff express "Solidarity with the Agrarian Strike and the right to Protest" )

Over the past two weeks, organized Afro, Indigenous and campesino communities in Colombia staged a general Agrarian strike demanding that Juan Manuel Santos’ administration stop withholding resources committed to rural communities in 2013. This demand for economic support comes at a time when the violence of civil war is most heavily concentrated in rural areas, resulting in crossfire and massive displacement throughout mostly campesino , Indigenous, and African-descendant territories. Late last night, CRLN got word that the Colombian state has agreed to several items after a few days of intense negotiations with base communities, among them:

  • Guarantees to protection and security for communities engaging in peaceful protest,
  • Recognition of the rights of campesinos as their own social category and also campesinos’ right to their own land,
  • The necessity to demobilize paramilitary actors and protect social movement leaders,
  • The validity of the Indigenous Guard as a legitimate and autonomous authority within Indigenous territory,
  • The concerted construction of a mechanism whereby social movement sectors can take part in the Peace Process ,
  • A revision of the way the Colombian state gives mining concessions and the beginning of a National Dialogue on Energetic Mining,
  • A meeting on June 22nd in Bogotá between the Popular, Ethnic, Campesino and Agrarian Summit and President Juan Manuel Santos where there will be follow up to the latter agreements.
  • Two Chances to Meet COPINH Coordinator in Chicago

    ( Español aquí ) After Berta Cáceres was killed in March, Tomás Gómez Membreño filled her role as General Coordinator of COPINH , the Lenca organization in Honduras that Berta co-founded and whose work against illegal hydro-electric projects cost Berta her life. CRLN's 2014 Luncheon speaker, Karla Lara, sang to us about the Gualcarque river, which Berta died defending and which Tomás and COPINH continue to defend. Many say that CRLN's 2011 Luncheon speaker & Honduran social movement leader, Miriam Miranda, is the next target. Next week, Wednesday, June 8th, Tomás Gómez Membreño will be in Chicago .

    You're invited!

    What: Press Conference with Tomás Membreño of COPINH, Honduras

    When: Wednesday, June 8th, 11AM (Please arrive at 10:45AM)

    Where: Federal Plaza, just outside the Federal Building at 230 S Dearborn

    After the press conference...

    Why we heckled Hillary

    On June 28th, 2009, when Manuel Zelaya was whisked out of Honduras by the Honduran military, flown to Costa Rica and deposed from his position as the legal President of Honduras, not one major diplomat in the hemisphere approved of the coup government of Roberto Micheletti that moved swiftly to replace Zelaya. Denouncements rang in from all sides of the hemisphere, except from then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose explicit approval of the coup sealed the fate of so many Hondurans since 2009.

    Zelaya had issued a nonbinding referendum on the 2009 ballot to amend the Constitution, a move that was spun by the far right as Zelaya’s attempt to stay in office forever. Since Zelaya’s presidency, the subsequent neo-conservative administrations of Honduras have changed the Constitution without fear of a coup because they actually represent the same economic interests that were promoted in Clinton’s foreign policy mandates in Latin America. Among these interests are extractive industries and the privatization of Indigenous, Garifuna and campesino land.

    On Thursday, May 19th, CRLN joined La Voz de Los de Abajo to interrupt Hillary Clinton’s stump speech in her home town of Park Ridge just outside of Chicago. Planted among the crowd, our protesters yelled, “Honduran blood is on Hillary’s hands!” “Berta died because Hillary lied!” “Secretary Clinton killed democracy in Honduras!”

    CRLN's Luncheon Speaker's radio station, Snuq’ Jolom Konob, Reopened!

    CRLN, with our partner the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission, is elated to announce that the community radio station, Snuq’ Jolom Konob’, was reopened on April 29th, 2016! Our 2015 Luncheon speaker, Q’anjob’al indigenous leader Lorenzo Mateo Francisco, is the director of the station. Snuq’ Jolom Konob’ is part of Prensa Comunitaria, a network of radio and internet media that report on indigenous issues and that help preserve culture, language and defend community rights. The radio station has publicized Indigenous resistance to planned hydroelectric projects in the area as well as the corruption of local authorities. In retaliation, it had been closed since January 2015. CRLN wishes success to Lorenzo and his radio station as they continue to defend freedom of speech and indigenous rights.

    CRLN Board member Martha Pierce’s January delegation delivered the signatures collected on the petition to the U.S. Embasssy at the CRLN Annual Luncheon. The petition urged the Embassy to use their influence to advocate with the Guatemalan government to pass a law granting bandwidth to community radio stations, as outlined in the 1996 Peace Accords.

    Click Here to listen to Snuq’ Jolom Konob’s.

    4 arrested -- Caceres family not notified

    Family members of Berta Caceres found out May 2 only through the media that 4 arrests had been made in connection with her murder. While Honduran law gives victims of crimes the right to participate in investigations and to receive ongoing information as the investigation proceeds, Berta's relatives have been entirely shut out of the process, even to the extent of not receiving notification of the arrests from the Attorney General's office.

    The family does not trust that the arrests made are the result of thorough evidence gathered and are concerned that there are no particular charges relating to what each suspect actually did and that they all have denied involvement in this crime. The family also points out that the intellectual authors of the crime have not been arrested or charged. They continue to ask for the participation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and for the right to receive information about Berta's case from the Attorney General's office.

    You will find below the family's statement enumerating their concerns.

    English: Findings By the Attorney General’s Office Regarding the Assassination of Berta Cáceres Are Insufficient

    http://bertacaceres.org/findings-by-the-attorney-generals-office-regarding-the-assassination-of-berta-caceres-are-insufficient

    Spanish: Hallazgos del ministerio público sobre asesinato de Berta Cáceres son insuficientes

    http://bertacaceres.org/es/findings-by-the-attorney-generals-office-regarding-the-assassination-of-berta-caceres-are-insufficient

    Afro-Colombians Demand Territorial Respect & an Ethnic Commission at the Peace Negotiations

    ( Español aquí ) UPDATE: Several days after Afro-Colombian communities occupied the PanAmerican highway in Northern Cauca, and after sustaining teargas and rubber bullets from Colombian security forces, local and federal officials opened negotiations with communities. Organized Afro-Colombians are adamant that their territories be recognized and respected now and during the implementation of the Peace Accords. While they negotiate, their leaders continue to be threatened by paramilitary actors who CRLN and many others insist must be demobilized if the Peace Process is really intended to bring peace.

    Click here to support the expansion of the Peace Process between the Colombian state and the ELN guerillas. We'll be in touch soon with more action items and in the meantime, click here to learn about a delegation opportunity focused on what's happening on the ground in Colombia at this crucial moment in the country's history.

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    From 4/27/16: Last week, CRLN was in Washington DC talking to Illinois members of Congress asking them to support an Ethnic Commission at Colombia's Peace Negotiations in Havana, Cuba. Now, 2,000 Afro-Colombians are blocking the Panamerican highway in Cauca demanding that their territories be respected according to Colombia's Law 70 & that their communities along with Indigenous peoples get a place at the table to put an end to a war that's affected them most of all: Protesters are asking for dialogues with the Colombian state to allow for an Ethnic Commission representing Afro-Colombians & Indigenous Peoples. Instead, they're being attacked with teargas & rubber bullets.

    CRLN Report back from EAD 2016

    ( Español aquí ) From April 15th through April 20, CRLN was present in DC, engaging in protests against state violence, conferences on racial justice and transnational organizing, and legislative visits to Illinois Congresspeople. CRLN joined efforts with Ecumenical Advocacy Days, the SOA Watch Spring Days of Action, and the Days of Action Against the U.S. Blockade of Cuba. We were joined by organizers and activists from across the country and several of our CRLN leaders. Many of you, our CRLN members, were with us in spirit having signed onto our letters to Congress reinforcing our demands around Colombia, Honduras and Cuba. Since returning, we’ve continued supporting Afro-descendant and Indigenous movements in Colombia as well as Berta’s family and COPINH . After an exciting trip to DC full of important actions and political dialogue, we wanted to share with CRLN members what we’ve learned and where our policy asks are at this point.

    We encourage you to call your Rep and Senators using this script to continue urging that they support our asks below regarding Honduras, Colombia and Cuba . Also, stay tuned to CRLN’s upcoming events and facebook page for more local actions to support Berta’s family, COPINH, and the movements for peace and justice in Honduras, Colombia and Cuba.

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