Greetings Amigos and Amigas of Sister Cities,
As some of you may know, in January I will be leaving my post as Sister Cities Co-Coordinator here in El Salvador. For the past four years, I have had the pleasure of working with our committees in Crystal Lake, Binghamton, Arlington, Chicago, Lawrence, Wichita and Manhattan, KS and their amazing sister communities and sister CRIPDES regions in La Libertad, Cinquera, Cuscatlan and Chalatenango. We are as busy as ever right now here at Sister Cities, having just returned from our election observation delegation in Honduras, but I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for the social justice education and inspiration I have received during my time with Sister Cities and to urge you to continue supporting our important work. (Click here if you are already convinced and want to go ahead and donate now!)
The CRIPDES organizers and community leaders I have worked with have taught me a tremendous amount about what's it like to be in a struggle that can't be won today or tomorrow, but is won slowly over years, decades and even centuries. There have been times when I have lost hope with so many problems raining down on us here - natural disasters like the Storm 12-E, the support of the U.S. government for the coup in Honduras, and the resistance to change of the entrenched oligarchy in El Salvador. When I am overcome by all these obstacles (and by how long my to-do list is), I remind myself of the words of the Argentinean musician Mercedes Sosa, who sang "Quien dijo que todo esta perdido? Yo vengo a ofrecer mi corazon" – “who said that all is lost? I come to give me heart.” To me, these words embody the commitment and persistence of the Salvadorans with whom I have had the privilege to work for the past four years. In the face of repression, imperialism, sexism and any number of other obstacles, these Salvadoran organizers are constantly giving their hearts, their energy, their creativity and their time so they and their families can lives in a world where we all have access to education, healthcare, economic opportunities, safe streets, food and water, and a say in local and national decision making.
On our recent delegation to Honduras I was especially struck by the long-term view of the Salvadoran compañeros and veteran solidarity activists who joined us on the week-long delegation to observe the November 24th general elections. The Sister Cities-SHARE Foundation delegation was made up of 22 Salvadoran leaders and 28 U.S. solidarity activists who have recognized the many similarities between the current human rights situation in Honduras and the situation in El Salvador in the 70’s and 80’s. The militarization, violence and electoral fraud we saw in Honduras shocked even the former guerilla members and long time anti-imperialists among us. (You can read more about the delegation on our website-www.elsalvadorsolidarity.org). But on our long bus ride back to San Salvador, the atmosphere was surprisingly upbeat. The positivity of the Salvadoran’s among us reminded me yet again that the injustices we see should serve to motivate us even more, not discourage us.
Mercede Sosa’s words also call to my mind the commitment of our Sister Cities committee members and supporters, all of you in the U.S. who advocate for a more just U.S. foreign policy, educate folks in your communities about the connections between the 99% in El Salvador and in the U.S. and fundraise so that CRIPDES can keep on doing its important work of community, women and youth organizing. The Sister Cities network and our Madison committee were recently featured in an article entitled "Sister Cities Success Story" in the Progressive Magazine. Look out for the print version of the magazine or click here to read it online>>
One very important way you can give your heart and support the work of CRIPDES and Sister Cities is by giving us a little piece of that part of your heart that resides in your wallet or check book. Your donation will allow us to continue:
- Educating the U.S. “pueblo” about the negative effects of U.S. foreign policy in Central America
- Advocating to stop U.S. government intervention in the democratic process in Central America, just as we did this month by helping to get 51 Congresspeople to sign a Dear Colleague letter demanding that the State Department declare its nuetrality in the February elections in El Salvador. Read more here>>
- Supporting and making connections between the fight against environmental threats like mining and gas fracking in El Salvador, Maine, Wisconsin, New York and beyond
- Bringing delegations of students and sister city committees to learn from and share with Salvadoran social movement leaders, and delegations of electoral observers to defend democratic elections in Honduras and El Salvador
- Funding CRIPDES’ high school and college scholarship programs which make possible both the formal education and the social justice education of a new generation of community leaders
- Paying the salaries of our U.S. Coordinator and two El Salvador coordinators who do the on the ground work of maintaining our people to people ties with our sisters communities in El Salvador, administering the CRIPDES programs we support and guiding our advocacy campaigns
You can also send us a check at
P.O. Box 1781
Ojai, CA 93024
Thank you for your continuing support and solidarity. I look forward to joining the ranks of the “gringos solidarios” in the U.S. as we continue to “give our hearts” so that we and our Salvadoran brothers and sisters can live together in a more just world.
El Salvador Co-Coordinator, April 2010-January 2014
P.S.- If you feel inspired to step up your support for Sister Cities consider becoming a monthly sustainer. You can email our U.S. coordinator Tanya Cole for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org