The SHARE Blog

Take Action: Unaccompanied Minors

July 28, 2014

The recent influx of unaccompanied child immigrants attempting to cross the US/Mexican border this year has taken the country by storm, sparking partisan and non-partisan debates alike about how to best address the issue. Why the sudden interest? In an average year there are approximately 20,000 unaccompanied children who try to enter the country illegally through Mexico. As of June 14th 2014 however, nearly 60,000 children, mostly from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have arrived at the border. It is projected that 90,000 will have attempted by the end of the year.



While the numbers have certainly changed drastically this year, so have demographics. According to a graph created by WOLA, in 2010, 15,701 unaccompanied minors were detained at the US/Mexican border; within those numbers, 11,768 of those were from Mexico, with children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador making up the remaining 4,000 combined. In 2014 as of May 14th, 11,577 unaccompanied children came from Mexico, 13,282 from Honduras, 11,479 from Guatemala and 9,850 from El Salvador. With these statistics, it has become increasingly obvious that this is no coincidence. Many have been asking if the US could possibly be at fault, the right-wing party citing President Obama as being too soft on immigrants, despite his record-high number of deportations while in office. While many claims seem to lack hard evidence, the US’s foreign policy dating back to the Cold War era surprisingly may play a very large role.

SHARE and other solidarity organizations ask YOU to TAKE ACTION regarding this important issue. Call the White House (202-456-1111) and your Congressional representatives (202-224-3121), demanding that they reject any changes to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and ensure the funding of adequate services and legal representation for every child, rather than increased border enforcement. Read More »

CRIPDES: 30 years and counting!

July 23, 2014

SHARE El Salvador office director and one of CRIPDES’ founders, Isabel Hernandez reflects on these past 30 years of struggle and community organization. Long live CRIPDES! 

Isabel was recognized at the CRIPDES General Assembly in May as one of the organization's historic assembly members. // Isabel fue reconocida en la Asamblea General de CRIPDES en Mayo 2014 como una de las asambleistas históricas de la organización.

Isabel was recognized at the CRIPDES General Assembly in May as one of the organization’s historic assembly members. // Isabel fue reconocida en la Asamblea General de CRIPDES en Mayo 2014 como una de las asambleistas históricas de la organización.

On July 14th, CRIPDES, the Association of Communities for the Development of El Salvador, celebrated the 30th anniversary of its founding in 1984, an opportune moment to remember what communities lived through during those years of repression, evacuations, assassinations of civil society, bombings, military operations and captures that left more than 75,000 people assassinated and thousands refugees.  It’s important to highlight the courage and strength with which the population confronted the situation.  The same families who had been displaced from their homes met in the El Rosario church in San Salvador and decided to organize to defend their rights and begin a hard and long struggle to return.

As a member of the team that started this difficult mission, I can’t help but express what this anniversary means to me on a personal level, to have been part of this history.  The years of work and struggle in CRIPDES have been the most intense years of my life. We shared many triumphs, but we also lived through very hard and sad days, feeling powerless in the face of a regime that treated us mercilessly.

Read More »

85 meters

July 21, 2014

Students and staff from Cretin-Derham Hall are here in El Salvador this week. This is an excerpt from their delegation blog.

CDH student at Monumento_July2014After a steamy rest in the park that consisted of bracelet making and futbol we headed to the Monument of Truth and Memory.  This is the 85 meters that Mariah so eloquently writes about in her letter to one of the individuals who disappeared during the civil war.  All 85 meters of the monument are dedicated to men and women, boys and girls who were murdered or disappeared.  Each student found a name on the wall and traced it into their journals.  We are a group of 23, each with a name, a person, someone disappeared or murdered, in our journals.  We carry their names with us and we are each least one person in all of the world’s grandosity that will remember they too planted a seed on this earth. 



85 meters
By Mariah

You see them.

Names on the wall.

85 meters of the victims innocent lives ended far too soon.

Names. No faces. No stories known.

It is devastating.

Families broken, lives ended before they had a chance.

Seeing the names alone is overwhelming, but then you take a step back.

85 meters of names.

How many blocks would be piled with their bodies? How many pages left blank from their unwritten stories?

Mothers. Daughters. Brothers. Lovers…. engraved for the future to see.

Their faces may be unknown, names forgotten but their story lives on.

It lives to give life to generations to come, so mothers won’t have to outlive their children, so loved ones won’t have to wonder the dredded “what if?”
An endless question forever unanswered of their disappeared

85 meters of names an unmeasurable impact.

RIP Angel Martinez Pineda 1985


Unjustly Imprisoned Youth Leaders Released!!!!

July 14, 2014

Congratulations to the MPR-12 and to the relatives of the 11 youth organizers injustly imprisoned in March! The court reviewed their appeal late last week, and 8 were released on Friday, and the other 3 today! This shows the importance of community organizing and good legal accompaniment in confronting the injustices of the justice system! The mothers of the youth express deep joy, “My son will be free; he will be near me again.”

Three of the youth playing music weeks before imprisonment.

Three of the youth playing music weeks before imprisonment.

These youth come from marginal urban communities where the lack of government programs and access to housing with dignity contrasts with constant presence and harassment from the police. Despite working alongside the community council on development projects, these youth have been targets of repression that culminated in a violent night-time police raid December 12, 2012 and an ongoing court process that lead to their imprisonment March 26th this year.

Their mothers met weekly to support each other and learn to navigate the bureaucratic prison system to visit their sons. The first weeks in which they could not visit until completing the process to register and receive a special visitor ID were the most difficult. They knew their sons did not have soap, shampoo or changes of clothing and they could not bring them any until they were allowed to visit.

The court took nearly two and a half months to process the appeal presented on May 2nd. While they knew that had good legal support and the accompaniment of the MPR-12, Sister Cities, and SHARE, the weeks of waiting were wearing on their spirits. Thanks to all who responded to our action alert in May! The women were working on planning further action with the social movement when they received the joyful news that the court would rule on the appeal, and that the youth will be released.

¡Que viva la organización comunitaria! ¡Qué vivan los jóvenes!

Repression continues 5 years after Honduran golpe de estado

July 9, 2014

On June 28th, the fifth anniversary of the coup in Honduras, members of SHARE and Sister Cities gathered with Salvadoran and Honduran social movement leaders outside the Honduran embassy in El Salvador to denounce the ongoing human rights violations in Honduras and U.S. military aid to an extremely repressive government.


Protesters staged a die-in at the press conference.

As representatives of Sister Cities and SHARE read denouncements of various acts of repression, participating Salvadorans fell to the ground one by one in a die-in representing all the Hondurans murdered at the hands of their own government and the Honduran oligarchy.

The most shocking act of repression occurred May 13th, when the military police beat congressional representatives from the Libre party inside the National Congress. Bartolo Fuentes, Libre party congressman present at the demonstration stated, if the military police will beat the members of congress, with the cameras rolling, what won´t they do to the people in the communities? The last weeks have also included assassinations of indigenous leaders, anti-mining activists, and journalists, as well as violent evictions of campesinos from their land in the Bajo Aguan. Read More »

Minors at the border

July 7, 2014

In recent months hundreds of immigrant minors have streamed across the Texas-Mexico border from Central American countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, only to be detained by Immigration Customs Enforcement. Children as young as 10, and some even younger, are currently being held in rooms nicknamed “hieleras” or ice chests, without any legal representation. This is no new pattern; Central American minors flee from violence in their countries in search of a more secure environment. Every year about 25,000 minors cross into the United States; this year that number is expected to be 90,000.

Activists in the Bay Area held a press conference July 3rd, demanding President Obama change his course of action and provide legal representation for the children.

Activists in the Bay Area held a press conference July 3rd, demanding President Obama change his course of action and provide legal representation for the children.

Action Alert: Stand with minors at the border.  Contact your Representative or Senator today.

Fearing for their lives, many children decide themselves to venture north seeking a better life or to reunite with their families already in the U.S.  Immigration officials are unprepared for such a surge, and now we are seeing hundreds of children forced into holding rooms in inhumane conditions with inadequate sleeping space, food, or the proper resources for basic hygiene.

The crisis at hand is yet another demonstration of the broken immigration system and with Congress’ failure to offer a means of real relief through comprehensive immigration policy, the Obama administration has another opportunity to change the course of such a failed immigration system. But it is not all up to the administration; communities and national groups at large are coming forth with demands in response to this situation, including legal and humanitarian demands.

Read More »

Call to Renewal of Solidarity; Invest in a Project of Hope

June 30, 2014

SHARE board member Jean Stokan wrote this piece after joining us for the June 1st presidential inauguration delegation.  Jean is Director of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Institute Justice Team and was recently elected to the National Council of Pax Christi USA.  She has walked, lived, and worked in solidarity with el pueblo salvadoreño for over thirty years.

Presidential Inauguration in CIFCO, San Salvador.

Presidential Inauguration in CIFCO, San Salvador.

June 1st marked an historic day in El Salvador. In addition to the new political space created with the FMLN party assuming the power of presidency, it represents a chance to build on the dreams and strong organization of a people who have sacrificed and suffered tremendously to create a more just and peace-filled society.  How much can be accomplished over the next five years remain to be seen.  Surely, it seems that Archbishop Romero and the many martyrs are hovering close, wanting to be invoked in order to keep the struggle for justice grounded in values of deep faith, unwavering hope and great love.

SHARE youth delegates learn and play with CRIPDES regional team members.  Delegates build relationships to continue walking in solidarity physically, through advocacy, and financial commitments.

SHARE youth delegates learn and play with CRIPDES regional team members. Delegates build relationships to continue walking in solidarity physically, through advocacy, and financial commitments.

After many years of solidarity with El Salvador, and gratitude at having witnessed this new moment in El Salvador’s history, I am torn between mixed metaphors from my Christian tradition. I feel like Mary at the tomb who just watched a sliver of light crack from the rolled-away stone; but I also sense Herod—forces threatened by the birth of Hope, ready to pounce on any significant proposal for change, or semblance of an economy that tries to make a “preferential option for the poor” and marginalized. Read More »

University scholarship students reach their dreams

June 27, 2014

Aracely and Marixa graduate from the Lutheran University.

Aracely and Marixa graduate from the Lutheran University.

In late May, I had the pleasure of attending the graduation of two university scholarship students, Aracely and Marixa, with long-time SHARE supporter Paul Kendall.  The brief visit consisted of the solemn graduation ceremony and a chance to learn more about what recent graduates of the program are doing to help their communities.  It was an exciting day, witnessing the graduates receive their diplomas and reach their life-long dreams.  

The afternoon visit with recent graduates from San Vicente was also an inspiring conversation.  Each shared their current occupations and aspirations, and discussed long-term goals to maintain their connection as graduates and continue to support one another in their endeavors.  

From right: Paul, Cesar, Darío, Mirna's husband, Mirna, Carlos, and Yasmín.

From right: Paul, Cesar, Darío, Mirna’s husband, Mirna, Carlos, Yasmín, and behind the camera, Amilkar.

Cesar works with communities in Los Nonualcos in youth violence prevention.  Darío is continuing his studies in agricultural engineering. Mirna teaches middle school and is very active in the life of her church.  Carlos is also teaching in a rural school in San Vicente.  Amilkar continues his studies in anthropology and is one of the youth promoters for community work with CRIPDES San Vicente.  The most recent graduate, Yasmin, having only completed her studies in December of last year, manages the local Tecoluca community radio station, Radio Tehuacán.  Each student demonstrated their leadership and commitment to local communities while studying, and has proven their pledge even after graduating.

Small groups changing the world

June 16, 2014

In March, human rights lawyer Wilfredo Medrano, part of the team of Tutela Legal María Julia Hernandez and SHARE staff Bethany Loberg traveled to the U.S. to raise awareness around the struggle for justice for crimes against humanity in El Salvador and the work of Tutela Legal and the Pro-Historical Memory Commission. Tutela Legal was the Archdiocese’s human rights office. Judy Swett and Kathy Tighe, Associates of the Sisters of St. Joseph Boston, who hosted the tour in Boston, share their reflections on the experience.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Wilfredo visits with a tour participant at St. Ignatius in Boston.

Wilfredo visits with a tour participant at St. Ignatius in Boston.

On a rainy, bone-chilling cold Sunday night in March a steady stream of Boston College students filled the pews at St. Ignatius, curious about the current state of Tutela Legal. They came to listen, reflect and question. The following night at Regis College, students including several of Salvadoran descent came to hear from Wilfredo Medrano of Tutela Legal and share in discussion about Tutela’s work. In both settings Wilfredo movingly shared the reality of being a lawyer committed to bringing the cases of forced disappearance, massacre, and torture to trial in El Salvador. All present witnessed the bravery of this former college student, who, inspired by Dr. Maria Julia Hernandez, a pioneer and founder of Tutela Legal, also became a fierce advocate for peace and justice through the full exercise of human rights. Read More »

¡Bienvenida Julie!

June 11, 2014

Julie LavenSHARE extends a warm welcome to Julie Laven!  Born and raised in Minnesota, Julie will coordinate SHARE’s sistering delegations and accompany SHARE counterparts working with marginalized Salvadoran communities.  We’re thrilled that she’s joining us for the next two years!

Julie graduated from St. Olaf College with a B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies.  Julie first traveled to El Salvador in high school with her church and continued to return every year, coordinating trips for two years. Her passion for El Salvador led her to study abroad with Augsburg College’s Center for Global Education in Central America, spending a semester living in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Between homestays, lectures, and activities, Julie learned a lot about the cultures, politics, and the lives of Central Americans. She is very excited to be working with SHARE, advocating for social justice with delegations from the United States, breaking down the barriers that separate us and building bridges of hope. El Salvador is a country that has stolen her heart time and again, and she is excited to be learning and growing there for these two years.

Julie is SHARE’s new Sistering Accompaniment Coordinator.  She will coordinate and facilitate Sistering Delegations — schools and churches in the U.S. that financially and spiritually support communities in El Salvador. She will also assist with the planning and facilitation of major delegations during important anniversaries or special events, like the anniversary of Archbishop Romero’s martyrdom, or Salvadoran election observation missions.  Julie will collect testimonies through interviews and meetings with people in El Salvador who are involved in SHARE projects as a way to put a human face on the development work that SHARE does.

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