Romero’s Legacy: 35 Years Later
“We cannot remain quiet in such an unjust world.”
The last week has drawn thousands of people together from around the world to honor the 35th anniversary of the assassination of Monseñor Oscar Romero. From marches to forums to meals shared, the silence of injustice was broken and Romero’s Legacy of Truth, Justice, and Peace lived on in a very tangible, inspiring way.
“We suffer with those who have disappeared, those who have had to flee their homes, and those who have been tortured.”
Over the weekend, victims of forced disappearance from all over El Salvador gathered to construct a list of demands for the Legislative Assembly to present at Monday’s forum. Among those demands, victims requested mental and physical health attention, social aid packets, and recognition of their loved ones as disappeared. The path of restorative justice is long and difficult; however, the mothers and family members of El Salvador’s disappeared are determined to see justice in their lifetimes.
“There is much that the United States has to offer El Salvador, but there is just as much that El Salvador has to offer the United States. Together, we can develop the approach that will be needed to assure that the economic, social, and political futures of both El Salvador and the United States are humane and progressive.”
The Northwest School delegates demonstrated their dedication to Romero’s legacy of solidarity. Students eagerly took part in miles-long marches, a symbolic restorative justice ceremony, and cultural exchanges with their sistering community. It became clear that the peoples of the US and of El Salvador have so much to learn from one another.
“Each one of you must be God’s microphone, each one of you must be a messenger, a prophet.”
In the School of the Americas (SOA) Watch Forum on Tuesday, Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of the SOA Watch, reminded us of Romero’s call for all of us to be microphones for the voices of the poor. Father Roy challenged those in attendance to “use our voices to create more equality and justice in this world.” Whether we stand in solidarity in El Salvador or in Fort Benning, Georgia, or perhaps write to congressional representatives to close the assassins’ training school or find our own passion that will make this world more just, we are to fulfil Romero’s challenge and sew the seeds of love and peace.
“Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty.”
The national government declared Thursday, March 26 the Day for Life, Peace, and Justice to reaffirm its dedication to the eradication of the violence that plagues the country. Tens of thousands of people marched in all corners of El Salvador demanding that real steps be taken to construct a culture of true peace where all citizens are guaranteed their right to personal security.
“I shall rise again in the Salvadoran people.”
Truer words could not have been spoken. Monseñor Romero was one man, but his legacy lives on with millions of men, women, youth, and children worldwide. We at SHARE are humbled to walk on the same sacred ground with the same inspiring people responding to the same call of justice as this international emblem of truth. May we all continue to find ways to remember and respond to Monseñor Romero’s call in our everyday lives. ¡Que viva el santo de América! ¡Que viva Romero!