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. 

The TPP & Shared Struggle: Mobilize in Chicago on April 1st & 14th!

( Español aquí ) By: Celeste Larkin, CRLN Public Policy Coordinator

( Scroll down for action info! ) For over three years, CRLN has organized, lobbied, and mobilized to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This work is consistent with our decades-long tradition of being in solidarity with communities resisting harmful free trade frameworks. We’ve seen the project of neoliberal development ravage communities throughout Latin America, destroy the livelihoods of campesinos and rural communities, strip workers’ right to organize, and force the migration of millions of people who are seeking basic survival into the US. All this has occurred in favor of a market-based logic that ultimately serves only to bolster profits for global capital. This is why we at CRLN have supported struggles for living wages, the right to not migrate, the defense of oppressed and targeted immigrants in Illinois, and development projects truly oriented toward base communities throughout Latin America.

The battle against the TPP has been a long one that brings to life many of the latter issues. CRLN in coalition with several local, national and international organizations has successfully helped delay the TPP’s passage by pushing the issue into the 2016 election season. Yet while we wait for the post-November ‘lame duck’ session in which the TPP will likely be a live issue in Congress once again, we still have work to do.

Faith in Action Reflections

Last month, Organized Communities Against Deportations organized a direct action outside of the Chicago ICE office located on 101 W. Congress. The action was supported by groups like Assata’s Daughters, BYP 100, and Not One More. It contained several messages, including “Stop All Raids” and “Dismantle ICE/Defund Police.”

Individual members of the CRLN participated in the action. We asked two of them to explain why they chose to do so. Here are the reflections they prepared for us for this today, Holy Thursday and the 36th Anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero's Assassination.

Faith communities call for an end to the embargo as Cubans welcome the Obama family

(Español Aqui) Cubans welcomed President Obama and his family on Sunday March 20 for the first visit by a sitting president in 88 years. The historic visit began with a tour of Old Havana including a meeting with Cardinal Jaime Ortega . In a statement issued before the visit , the Cuban Council of Churches said, “We appreciate that this visit is taking place based on positions of mutual respect and on recognition of the sovereignty of the people and the cultures, and on the specificities of each nation. We understand that it is an important step forward in the dialogue and search for normalization of relations, which can positively impact both nations and Latin America…. We welcome the statements by President Obama urging the U.S. Congress to lift the embargo.”

"Her spirit lives in all the rivers of Honduras and the world"

( Español aquí)

After the 2009 coup in Honduras, songs emerged from the popular resistance movement. Everyone was singing one in particular, whose refrain went “They fear us, because we are not afraid.” After the internationally acclaimed Honduran Indigenous and environmental activist Berta Cáceres was murdered on March 3, Dan Beeton of the Center for Economic Policy Research wrote , “Berta was a threat to powerful forces in Honduras, and so they threatened her.”

The Honduran authorities also see COPINH, the Indigenous rights organization Berta founded, as a threat. They appear to be doing everything possible to destroy it. They have tried their best to pin the crime of Berta’s murder on COPINH members, implying that there must have been an internal struggle for power within the organization. Gustavo Castro, the Mexican environmentalist who is the sole witness to the attack and who was also shot, says that the authorities never questioned him about people associated with DESA, the company whose Agua Zarca dam project Berta resisted and from whom she believed she was getting death threats, or about Honduran police, who have harassed her in the past. Instead, they have questioned him about COPINH members. 8 of COPINH’s 9 coordinators in the town where Berta was murdered have been interrogated for up to 12 hours at a time, one was jailed for 48 hours and then released without charges, COPINH’s radio station and women’s shelter have been under surveillance, and Berta’s daughter has been followed by both plainclothes and armed men.

Vigil to Protest Assassination of Berta Cáceres / Vigilia para Protestar el Asesinato de Berta Cáceres

Berta Compilation.jpg

 

 

Monday, March 7th / Lunes, 3 de marzo

10AM-11AM

Honduran Consulate / Consulado Hondureño 

4439 W. Fullerton, Chicago, IL 60639

 

Join CRLN, our friends at La Voz de Los de Abajo, and the whole movement to call for justice: At 1 am on March 3rd, Berta Cáceres, the indigenous Lenca leader and co-founder of COPINH, resistance leader and defender of rivers and land was assassinated in Honduras. We hold responsible the Honduran government, the international mining and hydroelectric companies and the US government which funds, supports and often directs them. Join us in a vigil protest of her murder and a reaffirmation of our solidarity in walking with the Honduran people for life against the destroyers.

Únete con CRLN, nuestrxs amigxs en La Voz de Los de Abajo, y todo el movimiento para exigir justicia: A la 1 de la madrugada el 3 de marzo, Berta Cáceres, lidereza Indígena Lenca y co-fundadora de COPINH, lidereza de la resistencia y defensora de los ríos y la tierra fue asesinado en Honduras. Responsabilizamos el gobierno Hondureño, las companías de minería e hidroelectricidad y el goberino EEUU que les financia, que les apoya y que muchas veces les diriga. Únete con nosotrxs para una vigilia para protestar el asesinato de Berta y reafirmar nuestra solidaridad para caminar con el pueblo Hondureño para la vida y no la destrucción.

COPINH, HSN, CRLN, & Thousands others condemn the Assassination of Berta Cáceres

( Español aquí )

Berta.jpg Click here to demand justice for the assassination of Berta Cáceres!

From Karen Spring, Honduras Solidarity Network Coordinator (see more statements and news stories below):

"March 3, 2016

This evening at approximately midnight, the General Coordinator of COPINH, Berta Caceres was assassinated in her hometown of La Esperanza, Intibuca. At least two individuals broke down the door of the house where Berta was staying for the evening in the Residencial La Líbano, shot and killed her. COPINH is urgently responding to this tragic situation.

Berta Caceres is one of the leading Indigenous activists in Honduras. She spent her life fighting in defense of Indigenous rights, particularly to land and natural resources. In 2015, Berta won the Goldman Prize for her outstanding activism and leadership. Her death will have a profound impact on the many Lenca communities that she worked with, COPINH, the Honduran social movement, and all that knew her.

Berta Caceres and COPINH have been accompanying various land struggles throughout western Honduras. In the last few weeks, violence and repression towards Berta, COPINH, and the communities they support, had escalated. In Rio Blanco on February 20th, Berta, COPINH, and the community of Rio Blanco faced threats and repression as they carried out a peaceful action to protect the River Gualcarque against the construction of a hydroelectric dam by the internationally-financed Honduran company DESA. As a result of COPINH’s work supporting the Rio Blanco struggle, Berta had received countless threats against her life and was granted precautionary measures by the InterAmerican Commission for Human Rights. On February 25th, another Lenca community supported by COPINH in Guise, Intibuca was violently evicted and destroyed."

CRLN, the Honduras Solidarity Network, and our partners in Honduras are all urgently demanding a thorough and immediate investigation of the circumstances surrounding Berta’s death.

Days of Action in DC this April!

IMG_0872.JPG ( Español aquí ) This April, CRLN is excited to announce three different opportunities for our members to change U.S. foreign, trade and immigration policy. During this election year and with so many opportunities to push for change, we want to work with CRLN members more closely to build strategic opportunities for education and action on a whole host of issues affecting human rights throughout the hemisphere. Please contact us about any of the following opportunities to get engaged in the public policy struggles of 2016. We’re ready to work with you to make your participation as strategic as possible!

Faith Leaders Tell ICE: Stop Immoral Tactics & Stay Away from Sacred Spaces

CHICAGO - Following their condemnation of immigration raids earlier this year, religious leaders are indignant at Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s latest display of misconduct and abuse of power. Faith leaders are outraged that ICE used a ploy to convince congregant , Reynold Garcia, then praying at the Christian Pentecostal Center in Schaumburg, Illinois, to leave church grounds so they could detain and deport him. Faith leaders claim that Garcia’s case shows the deception and disregard that are the pillars of current immigration enforcement tactics.

According to fellow members of the congregation, ICE impersonated a local police officer, claimed that Garcia’s cousin had been in a car accident and urged him to leave church property to discuss the matter. ICE then convinced Garcia to go with them in an unmarked car, on the pretense of helping his cousin, only to detain and deport him hours later. This tactic was preceded by an ICE raid on his home the day before, resulting in the arrest and detention of his wife and two children.

CRLN Response Statement to Sen. Mark Kirk's Call for Moratorium on Syrian Refugees

(Español abajo) Last week, led by Congressman Mark Kirk, seven Republican senators delivered a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson demanding an immediate moratorium to the taking in of Syrian refugees. As an article by the Washington Post points out, the question of Syrian refugees has become a highly politicised issue for Sen. Mark Kirk who currently faces a tight contest for re-election.

As the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN), an interfaith network which partners with over 50 congregations, institutions, and faith communities across the state, we stand in stark opposition to all and any efforts which would circumvent or undermine the historical, internationally supported, right which refugees from any part of the world have to seek protection and safety within our borders. By politicizing this issue, using speculative and fear-mongering tactics, for the purposes of political gain Sen. Mark Kirk and his colleagues are toying with the well-being of Syrian refugees and families. This is absolutely unjustifiable.

Right now, refugee and immigrant communities across the United States are under heightened attack. Daily they are the victims of hateful and scapegoating rhetoric and are living in constant dread and terror of inhumane immigration raids and other harsh enforcement tactics. Amidst all this, we need our elected officials to demonstrate true leadership; they must adhere to our faith and moral values as a country which urge us to love the immigrant and the vulnerable.

Local faith community condemns immigration raids, urges local ICE Director to desist from use of inhumane and immoral tactics against immigrant community

( Español aquí )Just two days before Christmas, the Washington Post published a story detailing plans by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to start 2016 with mass, nationally coordinated, immigration raids. Despite righteous and immediate outcry by the immigrant, legal, labor, and faith communities, on January 2nd various Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) officed moved forward with these plans. Since then multiple raids across the country, including some in Illinois, have resulted in the detention of at least 121 immigrants. In Chicago, the faith community has not remained silent!

By way of response, the Chicago Religious Leadership Network (CRLN) pushed a faith leader letter addressed to Chicago ICE Field Office Director Ricardo Wong. The letter, which garnered over a hundred signatures, was signed by faith leader from across Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, as well as several heads of denomination. It stressed the role and responsibility which Director Wong and his offices have in providing protection, not persecution.Although at the national level President Obama and DHS can and must act to cease the immigration raids, locally Director Ricardo Wong has the power to ameliorate the fear which has overtaken immigrant communities under his jurisdiction.

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