The SHARE Blog

San Vicente Youth Scholarship Recipients Express their Gratitude

August 10, 2012

Through SHARE’s Leadership Development and Scholarship Program 25 high school students from the San Vicente region are continuing their education. Youth leaders receive financial support to cover the costs of transportation, school fees, and materials as well as leadership training. Students organize the youth in their communities and facilitate literacy circles, informal spaces for people to learn basic reading and writing skills, in their home communities. 

Scholarship recipients and their families from San Vicente

 

Students from San Vicente reflect on their lives as recipients of the scholarship and express the effect this has had on their lives, to catch their testimonials click here.


Communities Creating Justice: Fredy Gomez and San Francisco Angulo

August 3, 2012

While the El Mozote Massacre, Romero’s Assassination, and the Massacre of the Jesuits receive the most attention, tens of thousands of people were massacred, assassinated, and disappeared across El Salvador during the 1980s. Hundreds of communities have worked long and hard to uncover and preserve the truth of their histories.

One of these stories is that of Fredy Gomez, who was a member of the CRIPDES San Vicente team and the community of San Francisco Angulo, he was also a survivor of one of the many massacres happening during the 1980’s. He dedicated himself to recording the history of his community. This February, Fredy was murdered, many believe because of his activism. His commitment to uncovering the truth and seeking justice brought the massacres in San Francisco de Angulo to the national attention. The legacy of his work continues as we remember these victims.

2010: Fredy holds photos of his mother and brother during exhumations in Lomas de Angulo

During the 1980s, the national guard and other security forces carried out three different massacres in the area of San Francisco de Angulo. During the first massacre, on July 25th, 1981, the national guard and death squads killed forty-five women who had been preparing the day’s tortillas, and an unknown number of children. In October of the same year, the military arrived in neighboring Lomas de Angulo, where many people had taken refuge, rounded up the inhabitants and took them down to the river to kill them. Only two children survived. Several of Fredy’s siblings and his mother all died. On June 19th, 1982 the military swept through the region, killing all the community members and animals they came across, as part of the scorched earth campaign. While many fled, an estimated six hundred people lost their lives. Following these massacres, the community remained uninhabited until 1992, as community members, refugees, ex-combatants, and displaced Salvadorans began to return. Read More »


Supporting Salvadorian Youth Development through Education and Leadership Training

July 25, 2012

Since 1991, The Union of Rural Communities of Northern San Salvador and La Libertad (UCRES), has been one of SHARE’s closest grassroots partners. In our aim to continue to advocate for respect for civil and political rights and to formulate development programs, we have currently established a project to enhance youth development. Youth that participate in this project receive formal education and experience in community organizing and leadership. 25 high school youth from UCRES have been awarded scholarships which enable them to acquire a high school diploma and even allow them to pursue a professional career at a university.

As we learn of their great progress we know that the experiences provided to the youth will benefit them in the long run, as well as their communities.

Organizing in UCRES: Scholarship Students off and running!

The school year is in full swing in El Salvador. SHARE Scholarship students are busy with classes, homework, and projects in their communities. With the support of SHARE Grassroots Partners 25 scholarship students in the UCRES region have access to the uniforms, materials, and transportation they need to continue their studies.

Each month scholarship students attend assemblies where all of the scholarship students from the region gather to enjoy each others company, learn about the national reality, and participate in leadership development workshops.

This month, the assembly started out with a dynamica to break the ice and get the conversations flowing between the students. This was also a great way to practice leading similar activities in their communities and speaking in front of a large group.

Dynamicas at UCRES

The president of UCRES, Alexander Torres, announced that UCRES will be partnering with the Ministry of Education of El Salvador this year to lead literacy circles. The Ministry of Education will provide materials and trainings to scholarship students to prepare them to lead literacy circles for 4-5 people in their community. Due to the civil war and poverty many people in rural El Salvador did not have an opportunity to attend school. This is an exciting partnership as the Salvadoran Government is taking steps to increase literacy in rural communities.

Students were also excited to talk about a recent visit from students at Eastern Michigan University in early May. Some of the Scholarship students hosted students from Michigan in their communities and enjoyed sharing stories from their time together.

 

 


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Solidarity with the Women of El Salvador

July 19, 2012

This past week ten women and four men from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish inWisconsinarrived inEl Salvadorhoping to make an empowering connection with the women ofEl Salvador.  St. Elizabeth Ann Seton has a sistering relationship with UCRES and the community of Rutilio Grande, which are both partners with SHARE. They were interested in ways to share the gifts of members of their parish in a way that would be consistent with a relationship of accompaniment and solidarity.

While some of the women from St. Elizabeth have visited the country in the past, many were first time visitors and were very excited to learn about the women ofEl Salvador. The following is a recollection of their first day inEl Salvador. Check back in a few days for a post on one of the women´s wellness day workshops.

“Never Forget 1974-1991″ remembering an important part of Salvadorian history

A delegation from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish arrived in San Salvador on July 9, 2012.  The women from this parish have been working with  women in El Salvador for over a year to prepare a workshop on Women’s Wellness that they will offer in two different communities in El Salvador during their stay.   The group includes a mix of first time visitors and people who have visited El Salvador over the past few years.

During their first day in San Salvador the group participated in an orientation with SHARE staff and shared their thoughts about the purpose of their visit and what each of them hoped to gain and contribute during their stay. A few of their responses: Read More »


Action Alert: U.S. Senators Threaten to Cut Aid to El Salvador

July 18, 2012

Call on the U.S. State Department today and ask them to commit to neutrality.

The following press release is from CISPES:

On Tuesday July 17, Senators Rober Menedez (D-NJ) and Maro Rubio (R-FL) released a press statement calling for the Obama administration to threaten the Salvadoran government with the suspension of aid money and advisors if they do not resolve the “constitutional crisis”.   The so called constitutional crisis stems from a decision by the Constitutional Court of El Salvador to invalidate the 2006 and 2012 election of magistrates to the Supreme Court.  In an unusual show of unity parties from both the left and the right have rejected the ruling of the Constitutional Court in the Legislative Assembly.  Notably absent from this group is the right-wing ARENA party who stands to benefit from the ruling because they would be able to elect two thirds of the court.  Read more background on the dispute here.

In addition to encouraging the Obama administration to threaten the withdrawal of aid to El Salvador the Senators also demand that Obama deny visas for anyone “participating in the existing unconstitutional order”.  These demands are putting even more pressure on what is already a very tense situation which many have described as a right-wing attempt to destabilize the government.  The Salvadoran people and government should be allowed to resolve this dispute without interference by the United States.  

The Senators actions may forecast the types of threats that will be made in the lead up to the presidential elections of 2014.  Therefore it is urgent that we call on the State Dept commit to neutrality now and throughout the upcoming electoral period.

Join us in Calling on the U.S. State Department to committ to neutrality

Contact the State Department TODAY

1. Call Melanie Bower at the El Salvador Desk. 202-647-4161

Sample Phone script: I am calling because I am deeply concerned that members of the Senate have called on the State Department to threaten to cut aid to El Salvador because of the current conflict between the Legislative Assembly and the Supreme Court. Not only did these Senators misrepresent the facts of the situation, it is highly unacceptable for the United State government to use international aid as a threat to interfere in El Salvador’s internal and sovereign affairs. Will Secretary Jacobson commit to a position of US neutrality and noninterference?

2. Email Roberta Jacobson Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. 

3. Leave comments on articles discussing this issue. 

Leave a comment on articles in The Washington PostThe Hill, and Wall Street Journal and speak out against U.S. intervention.


Honoring Women Religious

July 13, 2012

SHARE El Salvador and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) invite you to join us in a Delegation

Honoring Women Religious

Celebrating the Legacy of Dorothy, Maura, Ita & Jean In El Salvador and the World

NOVEMBER 29-DECEMBER 6, 2012

EL SALVADOR

Delegation Cost: $950 plus airfare

(scholarships & group discounts available)

            * Walk the route of the martyrs

           * Honor Women Religious

           * Visit Women’s Projects

                                                                                    * Participate in a forum on Women’s Issues

 For more information: visit info@share-elsalvador.org  or call 510-848-8487

Down load a copy of this flyer here


Madre Guadalupe’s Recent visit to the U.S.

July 12, 2012

Through SHARE’s partnership with CODEFAM (Committee of Families of the Disappeared) and other members of the Comite Promemoria in El Salvador we have launched a new initiative – The Campaign for Truth, Justice, and Reparations; a campaign which demands the Salvadoran government to address the issue of the Disappeared so that El Salvador can fully heal from the wounds of the civil war and create a culture of peace. 

Madre in New York at SHARE board members home event

It is in the hopes of enlightening the world around the issue of the Disappeared that SHARE recently had the privilege of welcoming Madre Guadalupe to the United States and join her as she traveled through various cities and spoke about her experience as an activist advocating for the thousand of disappeared victims of the Civil War.

During her tour Madre Guadalupe visited cities across the U.S. including New York (NY), Union City (NJ) , Washington D.C., Berkeley (CA), Sacramento (CA), San Francisco (CA) and San Jose (CA). With every step of her journey Madre touched the hearts and minds of those who attentively listened to her recollections of the civil war, about her work as the President of  CODEFAM and her passion that drives her to demand justice for the Disappeared for the past 30 years. Read More »


Power Battle Heats up in El Salvador and the People React


El Salvador’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court ruled that the National Assembly’s appointment of justices for the Supreme Judicial Tribunal is unconstitutional for the second time. In April 2012 the Assembly appointed Astor Escalante Seravia as Attorney General; which the Supreme Court claims violates the constitution by voting more than once to elect an attorney general. A similar practice occurred in 2006 when the National Assembly elected a justice to the Supreme Court for the next term, which at that time also violated the constitution.

Hundreds of Salvadorians demand respect to the Constitution. San Salvador

Hundreds of Salvadorans protested against the Assembly’s violation of the constitution. Although the “white marches” (marchas blancas), are a symbol of peace, many participants have been injured and many have even been confronted with tear gas. The right wing party ARENA, was noted to be the prime instigator of the march in efforts to criticize other parties who oppose the the recent decision of the Constitutional Chamber. Local social networks have reported that the national elites transported citizens from the interior regions of the nation and provided them with white shirts, white flags and even money in order to promote their participation in these marches. 

The constitution reiterates the electoral power to the people by limiting the National Assembly’s electoral power of justices to one; therefore  this violation not only overrides the constitution but their citizen vote as well. 

To learn more, read Tim’s El Salvador Blog 

 


SHARE Supports Youth Fighting for Social Justice as they Take Activism to the Next Level

July 9, 2012

The following blog is a personal memoir from SHARE intern, Blanca Vazquez, one of the youth leaders of the DREAM Act Movement.

Undocumented youth in the Unites States are facing the constant struggle of living in a country in which they are not acknowledged as citizens and are therefore victims of constant racial profiling. Under the Obama Administration over 400,000 undocumented individuals are being deported PER YEAR; this is a record number of deportations under any presidential administration. Youth activists from the National Immigrant Youth Alliance took the struggle for social justice to the next level by taking over several of Obama’s campaign offices last month. Although this was a very risky move, their efforts seemed to have resulted in President Obama announcing a Deferred Action in which the President stated the he would halt deportations and even provide undocumented youth with a work permit for two years.

The following is a personal memoir from one of the youth who participated in this inspiring civil disobedience, Blanca Vazquez. Her story and the story of undocumented youth in the US is very similar to that of countless youth in El Salvador who also face educational and social struggles. The fight for social justice is universal and youth are the soldiers who continue to demand justice when its own government has turned its back against them. Youth will continue to fight for our past, present and future.

Undocumented students in Oakland, California take over one of Obama’s Headquarter offices in demands to stop deportations of DREAM Act eligible youth

It was not an easy decision, the thought of being confined for days without any sense of freedom held me back from agreeing to partake in this civil disobedience action. And plus my family would not agree with my doing it either. But then, the unknown faces of my undocumented people being kept captive in much worse conditions relieved me of my worries and the answer was YES. Three other undocumented youth and I would take over Obama’s Campaign office in demands that he provide the undocumented people with an executive order which would halt the deportations of innocent people. I didn’t need to prepare mentally or physically because the constant struggle of my family has been my life long preparation. A couple days from the action, I began to tell those closest to me of what I was about to do, and felt as a war soldier would when he says his goodbyes before going off to war.

Read More »


CDH Delegation Returns Home in Solidarity with El Salvador

July 6, 2012

 After 10 days in El Salvador, the Cretin Derham Hall Delegation returns home to the United States but their spirit and solidarity will remain in the hearts and minds of the Salvadorian people. It is important to acknowledge the new sense of liberty that our young delegates experienced, because after embracing the history of El Salvador, their sense of liberty is likely to be different. Upon their return the youth are welcomed in the mist of the celebration of their nations’ Independence Day; a celebration which has now taken on a new meaning. Their understanding of what true liberty and justice is, has now been reshaped and their appreciation for the privileges they took for granted has increased. This particular fourth of July has a different taste;  although the time is right to celebrate, their solidarity with the people in El Salvador will move them to join in the efforts to build a better El Salvador. 

July 4, 2012

Cretin Derham Hall

Twenty-four students and 4 faculty members from Cretin Derham Hall high school in Minneapolis wrapped up their visit to El Salvador yesterday at Ecoparque El Espino with a short but steep hike up to the platform overlooking the “valley of the hammock” where San Salvador is located.  They spent time there sharing their feelings and thoughts about their visit before breaking into groups to brainstorm ways that they can carry their experience home and continue to support for social and economic justice in El Salvador.

CDH Delegation in Eco Parque de Esquina, embracing their final day in El Salvador

Each student had a few minutes to reflect:  On this trip when did you feel most excited, really nervous or uncomfortable, overwhelmed in good or bad way, loved or saw love, surprised or shocked, angry, happy and filled with joy?  Then the group shared what was most on their minds – and what they are taking back home.

A few of the comments:

I’ll remember the people I met here and the hope in their eyes – and they work harder than most of the people I know back home.

When I think of the challenges of our home state, I’ll remember how other people in the world are living. Read More »


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