The SHARE Blog

Remembering the 4 US Churchwomen

December 2, 2010

“It’s been a very big positive event. For people who have been doing this work for years, it is a great chance to share and remember. All of our groups are involved in this work and the struggle somehow,” said Jose Artiga, SHARE Executive Director, from the event honoring the 4 US Churchwomen at the site where they were killed in El Salvador.

The women, who dedicated their lives to walking with poor and marginalized communities in El Salvador, were killed 30 years ago today on December 2, 1980.

SHARE launches revamped solidarity gift program

Let SHARE help with your holiday shopping! Our solidarity gifts programs makes it easy for you to donate to SHARE and give a gift to a friend or loved one at the same time. All you have to do is choose which SHARE project you want to support and enter the name and email address of the person receiving your gift. We will email a customized letter to your friend or loved one to inform them that a solidarity gift was made in his or her honor.

We just updated our solidarity gift page to include 5 exciting, new projects. Ranging from school supplies to seeds for organic gardens, your donation will help SHARE support the people of El Salvador in their struggle for economic and social justice!
Make your donation to SHARE a solidarity gift today!

Have questions? Contact Meg at or 510-848-8487.

Delegation Day 2: Ballet and La Pequena Comunidad

Delegates joined the Folkloric Ballet in dance

Yesterday delegates visited La Pequena Comunidad, a Christian Base Community  of women religious that has been active since the late 1970s. They have walked with poor and persecuted Salvadoran communities before, during and after the war. It was a busy day of bonding, reflection, and expression through song and dance.

Watching a performance of the Folkloric Ballet was a highlight for the group. Shirley Tung from Pax Christi summed up the ballet performance like this:  “I thought it was just a wonderful experience because I was able to share the spirit of the people that were dancing as well as all the people that were applauding for them. I have six left feet when it comes to dancing, but who cares. It was sharing in their happiness. ” Read More »

Remembering the 4 US Churchwomen: An Article from the National Catholic Reporter

This article was originally published in the National Catholic Reporter on November 30, 2010. It is a well written  commemoration of the 4 US Churchwomen and the impact they have had on generations since their deaths, thirty years ago today on December 2, 1980.

‘The women won’t let us go’

Nov. 30, 2010By Cheryl WittenauerIsabel Legarda was only 8 years old when the abduction, rape and shooting death of four American churchwomen 30 years ago in El Salvador drew the world’s attention to the tiny Central American country, raised questions about U.S. support for rightist forces there, and inspired a movement of religious activism.

On Dec. 4, 1980, three Maryknoll sisters pray
beside the bodies of the four American
 Catholic women who were kidnapped and
slain two days before in El Salvador. (AP

Legarda has assembled a multiethnic and ecumenical mix of artists to perform next month in Boston the New England premiere of “Missionaries,” award-winning composer Elizabeth Swados’ choral drama based on the women’s letters, journals, lives and work.Swados’ latest work, “Resilient Souls,” which premieres next month in New York, explores how people were affected by the women’s death, and how it changed their own commitment to the poor. “This story doesn’t just resonate with Catholics,” said Legarda, whose “Missionaries” cast and crew include a pagan, an atheist, a Jew, a Unitarian and Protestants. She said she wanted a “village of people” to tell a story with universal meaning — that the women sacrificed everything for their faithfulness to El Salvador’s poor in the early, brutal days of its as-yet-undeclared civil war.“We still have situations that demand people’s commitment to justice, whether in Sudan or Burma or the Philippines,” Legarda said. “There’s a tinderbox everywhere that requires people to give of themselves, to give everything for love”Pilgrims still flock to El Salvador… Continue to the rest of the story

“Wow” and “Peace and Wonderment” Among Reactions to Day 1 of Delegation Commemorating 4 US Churchwomen

November 30, 2010

A group of delegates at the luncheon

After arriving in El Salvador yesterday, the 46 delegates accompanying SHARE in commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the assassinations of 4 US Churchwomen began their journey today.

First on the agenda was a visit to the house of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the chapel where he was assassinated just nine months before the Churchwomen were also killed. It was an emotional visit for many of the delegates. When asked for her reaction, Sister Donna Wilhelm’s short response was “how ’bout, wow.” Diane Madden, on the other hand, felt “just peace and wonderment in God’s plan and what it’s all about, this thing we call life.” Read More »

Law passed in El Salvador for a life Free of Violence for Women!

November 27, 2010

Women Marchers Triumph:Salvadoran Legislature Passes Law for a Life Free of Violence Against Women

Thursday November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, over 4,000 Salvadoran women coursed down Juan Pablo II, a busy road en route to the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly.1 Women carried banners, thumped lively rhythms on drums, and cried out for an end to violence. In front of the legislative assembly, they demanded respect for current laws guaranteeing women’s rights, and passage of the Special Holistic Law for a Life Free of Violence Against Women.

And they were successful! Read More »

CDH Students Cry out for the Salvadoran People at SOA Protest

November 24, 2010

This past weekend, Cretin Derham Hall (CDH) Spanish teacher Ariana Lowther brought a group of students down to the gates of Fort Benning in Georgia to bear witness to all those killed at the hands of School of the Americas (SOA) graduates.

Photo courtesy of Ariana Lowther

Sunday morning at the vigil, participants carry crosses with the names of those who have been killed by graduates of the SOA. While everyone solemnly processes past the base, leaving crosses, pictures, and peace cranes, they sing out the names and lift their crosses, crying,”Presente,” you are here present with us. Above is a picture of senior Akoni García and Ariana with their crosses. Ariana said, “We felt honored to be there and cry out for all the people of El Salvador.” Both Akoni and Ariana participated in CDH SHARE delegations this summer, in July and August respectively. Akoni has graciously shared a poem he wrote about his experience at the SOA protest, which you can read below. Read More »

The SHARE Foundation is hiring in El Salvador!

November 23, 2010

The SHARE Foundation is looking to hire a GRASSROOTS SOLIDARITY EDUCATION COORDINATOR in our El Salvador office.  Interested?  Visit  Know someone who might be?  Please help us spread the word!
The SHARE Foundation: Building a New El Salvador Today is an international non-profit organization that accompanies historically impoverished and marginalized communities in El Salvador as they strive to meet both their most immediate needs and construct long-term sustainable solutions to the problems of poverty, underdevelopment and social injustice.
“After two years with SHARE as the Grassroots Solidarity Educator, I have gained a deep understanding of what it means to work for international development, of the social, economic and political situation of El Salvador, of the complexities and importance of social movements, and of the need for international solidarity with Latin America. SHARE is part of a long tradition of solidarity and accompaniment that I am honored to be a part of and continues to play a part in El Salvador’s current situation by working with coalitions and movements dedicated to human rights. This is a wonderful opportunity to work for an NGO that strives to build sustainable and equal relationships between its counterparts in the States and in El Salvador. I have grown professionally in this position as I have learned how to plan and carry out events, how to write about El Salvador for a large base in the States and how to work better in a team. I have also grown personally through my first-hand experience with amazing organized communities and social groups here in El Salvador who have a long history of struggle for social justice. I would recommend this job for anyone interested in international development, social justice, writing, theology, women’s issues, the environment and sustainability.” Laura Hershberger, Grassroots Solidarity Education Coordinator 2009-2011

Where Drumming and Sex Ed Meet in El Salvador

November 16, 2010

About an hour northwest of San Salvador, in the small community of Ciudadela, a group of high school girls meets to do two things: to discuss sexual and reproductive rights, and to play the drums. They attend trainings on how to educate their female peers about pregnancy prevention, HIV/AIDS, the rights of women to make decisions that affect their bodies, and the right to enjoy one’s sexuality. And then they rehearse as the Sihua Batucada, the only all female youth drum band in the country of El Salvador. The poise, strength, and intelligence of these young women took my breath away and brought me to the edge of tears. A few minutes with these girls will remind even the most cynical that another world is indeed possible.

On my recent trip to El Salvador, I had the opportunity to meet with just five of the fifteen of these young women who are part of a youth leadership and development project supported by SHARE and the Salvadoran women’s organization IMU. The girls explained the program to us—they receive training on important sexual and reproductive issues that affect women and girls, and then they commit to training at least 3 other female peers in their community. As an integral part of the leadership development component, they have formed the batucada (drum band). According to the girls, being part of the batucada boosts their confidence and reinforces their sense of belonging to a team. One girl explained that her new self-assurance helps her in talking to the peers she trains. Another stated that playing music is a way to for her to enjoy her sexuality in a safe space. A third said “It feels really good to be really good at something.” Read More »

Beyond My Horizons: A Delegate Reflection

November 13, 2010

This reflection was graciously shared with us by Andrew Nyberg, a Cretin-Derham Hall senior who participated in a SHARE delegation this past summer.

Beyond My Horizons We were staring into a mirror, but we just didn’t realize it yet. I had been traveling throughout the country of El Salvador for the past nine days with 17 classmates being filled with knowledge and awareness about the culture and the social injustice that plagues the country. We had spent three days living in the countryside in the village of Santa Cruz II with host families who were literally dirt poor. The house I stayed in was made of mud and sticks and was no bigger than my room at home. When it was full, it housed our host mother, Margarita, her cousin and her three children Josue, Carlos and Karla. There was no grass anywhere, and Margarita was often sweeping loose dirt off the dirt floor to make the house more presentable. These families became burned in our hearts and minds forever. We were fired up. We felt like advocates of justice, and we wanted to make good things happen in the world. Then, this all came crashing down around us in brutal realization. Read More »

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