From October 5th to 17th, Sister Cities’s traveled up and down the East Coast, from Pennsylvania to Maine with CRIPDES’s leader Zulma Hernandez who shared the challenges, successes and lessons of the Salvadoran social movement .
This year, the National Gathering was hosted by the Philadelphia committee on October 6th-7th, where members of the national network approved the new Sister Cities Strategic Plan for 2013 to 2017. The gathering featured presentations about the anti -mining work in U.S. and El Salvador, solidarity with post-coup Honduras, advocacy strategies to stop U.S. funded militarization in Central America, and the Residency Now Campaign for Central American with Temporary Protective Status (TPS).
Along the tour, Zulma and Sister Cities staff members gave several presentations at churches like the the Lincroft Unitarian Church in New Jersey and at universities like Western Connecticut State University and the University of Massachusetts. Some of the most well-received presentations included a presentation on gold mining and gas fracking at Binghamton University, a presentation on women’s organizing at the University of Maine, a presentation on sustainable agriculture at Unity College and a forum on organizing to confront environmental threats at Power in Community Alliances (PICA).
One of the most exciting parts of the tour was visiting the Happy Town Farm, Paul and Karen Volckhausen’s organic farm, part of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Also, we celebrated the Cambridge Committee’s 25th Anniversary with elected officials, members of the consulate of El Salvador in Boston, historic committee leaders and Felipe Tobar, mayor of San Jose Las Flores.