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. 

Constructing Peace in Colombia: A Feminist Vision

Join us for the 2017 Luncheon to learn about the intersectional organizing work of the Feminist Antimilitarist Network in Colombia from Carol Rojas . The Colombia Peace Accords, while a step toward peace, face many challenges. There is an urgent need to rebuild the community and collective ties broken by war. Seeking to build historical memory is also a necessary step in constructing a political project to make the transition as a country to a plural, broad, and diverse democracy, where women can be political protagonists and not victims. To construct peace in Colombia in this difficult time, the Network uses popular education to promote demilitarization and the eradication of systems of oppression based on sex, class, and race.

Click here for a brief autobiography of Carol Rojas .

Gaspar Sanchez to Speak at Citlalin!

La Voz de Los de Abajo, Witness for Peace, and the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America invite you to hear from Gaspar Sanchez, the sexual diversity coordinator of COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras), as he presents "Uniting to Resist Attacks on our Land and Identities: Building on the Queer Indigneous Framework in the Americas."

COPINH was co-founded and led by beloved Indigenous leader Berta Caceres, who was assassinated in March 2016. Gaspar will speak about how the struggle for LGBTQ awareness and rights among Indigenous communities plays a vital role in both land defense and in the dismantling of patriarchal and militaristic structures.

Place: Citlalin Art Gallery Theater, 2005 S. Blue Island Ave., Chicago, IL 60608

Date and Time: Friday, October 27, 7:00 pm

Alex Escobar visits Chicago!

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.

CRLN Endorses #NoCopAcademy!

October 9 and 10! Guatemalan Activist, Educator and Youth Organizer in Chicago!

CRLN will provide Chicago area venues for the annual NISGUA (Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala) Fall Speaking Tour. This year's tour features Alex Escobar Prado, activist, educator, and member of the Guatemalan environmental justice organization Youth Organized in Defense of Life (JODVID). Born out of the struggle for community self-determination and resistance to Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine in southeastern Guatemala, JODVID uses the arts and popular education to mobilize youth in local and regional movements to protect the environment and defend territory. The group was founded in 2015 following the murder of 16-year-old Topacio Reynoso, a local artist and vocal opponent to mining activities in the area.

The tour will be a unique opportunity to learn about the essential role that Guatemalan youth play in building movements for social justice and liberation, and to hear firsthand accounts of the environmental and community impacts of mining in Guatemala. The tour will also create an opportunity for direct exchange with youth activists in the U.S. fighting for social justice in their communities.

Here is a schedule of his speaking engagements (all are open to the public):

30th Annual Pedal for Peace Photos and Stories

One of the best stories from the 30th Annual Pedal for Peace Bike-a-thon on September 23, 2017, came from the efforts of Joaquin Vazquez (bottom left of photo), who set himself the goal of raising $250 and succeeded in doubling that amount! Along the way, he educated his principal, his teacher, and his school about why it was so important to fund the projects he was supporting. You can watch a video of one of his presentations here .

66 people registered to bike and/or fundraise. Together, we raised $18,354 for projects designed to develop people's capacity to improve the quality of life in their communities through education, health care, land reclamation, deportation defense and affordable housing! Thanks to everyone for making this event a success!

Several people attended who were present almost every year of the event since its beginning, and several people biked for the first time with us. A looping retrospective of photos from past events ran on a computer at the registration table. 30 years of event t-shirts were displayed on clothesline, and Tricia Black prepared a photo display from participating groups of their projects. The day was sunny and warm, and we enjoyed the lake views and public art along the way. More photos on the next page:

Community Discussion on 9/27: "Sanctuary from Below" in Chicago!

Pedal for Peace on September 23!

Sign up now to ride in CRLN's 30th Anniversary Pedal for Peace Bike-a-thon on Saturday, September 23, 1-5pm! This is a great way to make a difference in the lives of people in Latin America and right here in Chicago! Last year we raised $20,000 to support scholarships in Guatemala and El Salvador, health promoter trainings in rural Colombia, legal aid for campesinos seeking land tenure in Honduras, organizing costs for deportation defense and tenants rights' campaigns in Chicago. With your help, we can raise even more this year. Please invite your friends to participate!

There are 2 changes this year:

Resisting Criminalization: Launching the Campaign to End the Gang Database & #Faith4DACA in DC!

Travel with CRLN to the border, November 10-12!

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