Building Power & Solidarity
A Training Series With Seattle CISPES
Join the Seattle chapter of Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) for a training series to build our organizing skills, political analysis, and community. This is an exciting opportunity to re-engage for long-time members and we also welcome new folks who are interested in getting involved for the first time.
Please fill out this mini-survey to save your spot in class. As all are welcome, we strongly encourage Salvadoran-Americans to apply.
Dates: We will be convening once a week for four weeks. There will be a potluck each session to keep us well nourished, community building to keep us smiling, and inspiring discussion to keep us fighting for a new world. The dates include…
- October 12th (Sunday) — 5-8pm
- October 19th (Sunday) — 5-8pm
- October 26th (Sunday) — 5-8pm
- November 2nd (Sunday) — 5-8pm
Political Analysis: Participants will have an opportunity to deepen political analysis, including…
- CISPES 101 - We will learn about the powerful history of CISPES’s approach to solidarity.
- History of Movement in El Salvador - We will learn about the emergence of the FMLN and the grassroots movement that is fighting U.S. domination and building a new world.
- Immigrant Justice - Identifying the root causes of migration and discussing the transformative approaches to fighting for immigrant justice in the United States.
- Solidarity & Oppression - Participants will discuss how fighting oppression (eg: racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia) is intimately connected to powerful solidarity work.
- Elevator Speech - Participants will have an opportunity to craft and practice their CISPES elevator speech that is rooted in your experience and values.
- Making Asks - Participants will have numerous opportunities to make direct asks — for fundraising, recruitment, task delegation, and outreach.
- Planning Meetings - Participants will learn about the nuts-and-bolts of planning an effective meeting.
- Social Justice Research - Participants will engage in mini research project on immigrant justice and get to connect with movement leaders.
- Popular Education - Throughout the experience, participants will learn about building learner-centered education rooted in our social justice values.
Commitments: We are asking participants to make the following commitments…
- Attendance — We are requesting that each participant make a commitment to attend each session, we are able to work with you if this is not possible.
- Event Planning – Participants will play an active role in organizing a CISPES public event in mid-November. This will be a hybrid graduation celebration, fundraiser, and speaking tour talk (CISPES is hosting an outside guest from El Salvador).
- Membership – We are seeking to build the chapter and hoping that individuals will be involved in 2015 as a CISPES member, involvement as a member is flexible.
On Friday afternoon, as President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met at the White House with the presidents of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to discuss the increasing numbers of Central American children crossing the border into the United States, activists gathered outside to call on the US government to take responsibility for its role in causing this crisis, to respect the children’s legal and human rights and prioritize family reunification in the United States.
Activists from Washington DC-based immigrant service groups, Central American policy and human rights organizations, and religious groups chanted “When migrant children are under attack, what do you do? Stand up, fight back!” and held signs that read “Protect refugees of failed US policies” and “CAFTA + CARSI = Forced Migration,” in reference to the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement and the US-funded Central American Regional Security Initiative.
This year alone 57,000 unaccompanied migrant children have been detained at the US-Mexico border, with about 75% of them coming from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Most of them are fleeing situations of extreme violence and trying to reunite with a parent who came to the US in the past decade due to a lack of economic opportunities at home.
Speakers at the protest highlighted how US-pushed economic policies like privatizations and free trade destroyed local Central American economies, forcing many of the children’s parents to migrate and fostering conditions for street gangs to take root in impoverished communities. Arturo Viscarra from School of the Americas Watch explained how militarized security policies that are part of the US-sponsored War on Drugs have only made narco-violence worse and empowered human rights abusing military and security forces in Guatemala and Honduras. He also denounced the role of the Obama administration in legitimizing the 2009 coup d’états in Honduras that has ushered in an era of violent repression against community activists and journalists, giving Honduras the highest murder rate in the world.
Jacob Blickenov of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) called on the Obama administration and the US Congress to “recognize that immigrants, especially the children making the dangerous journey, are refugees of failed US policies,” and lamented the fact that the Obama administration has tried to undermine the poverty eradication programs of the Salvador Sánchez Cerén administration in El Salvador in order to promote corporate interests.
In his meeting with the Central American presidents, Obama affirmed that most of the children will be deported and proposed a program that would allow Honduran children to apply for refugee status in their home countries before making the perilous migrant journey. Officials say approximately 1,000-2,000 children might be eligible for refugee status under this program, a very small percentage of the tens of thousands that are fleeing their homes, meaning the program would unlikely curb the massive flow of migrant children.
Legislative proposals to address the crisis focus on more funding for border enforcement and regional militarized security programs as well as plans to fast track the children’s deportations. Those present at the demonstration were encouraged to call the White House and their elected representatives in Congress to tell them not to reverse the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 which guarantees all detained immigrant children the right to a trial with legal representation, as proposed, and to fund health and human services initiatives in Central America, rather than border and regional militarization efforts.
The action was sponsored by CISPES, School of the Americas Watch, the Washington Peace Center, the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission and the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). Click here to download a statement from CISPES, School of the Americas Watch and the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission on the migrant children crisis.
Take action today to stop the US government from manipulating development aid to promote the interests of Big Agra and seed-selling giants like Monsanto at the expense of El Salvador’s farmers and the millions of families they support. Sign the petition to US Secretary of State John Kerry today!
By 2009, El Salvador, along with many other countries in the developing world, was facing a food crisis. After years of corporate-driven agricultural and free trade policies, over 75% of corn and 85% of beans – the country’s primary dietary staples – were being imported, rather than grown domestically.
In 2011, El Salvador launched the Family Agriculture Plan to support small-scale farmers living in poverty and promote national food sovereignty. The program includes the purchase of locally-produced, non-GMO corn and bean seeds for family farmers to cultivate and sell on the domestic market. The Family Agriculture Plan has led to record harvests in 2012 and 2013 – local corn and bean seed production is now able to meet the country’s demand.
In April, the US Embassy in El Salvador announced that El Salvador must allow foreign corporations to bid on the same seed contracts currently offered to local producers in order to receive $277 million in development aid from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
Take action today to stop the US government from manipulating development aid to promote the interests of Big Agra and seed-selling giants like Monsanto at the expense of El Salvador’s farmers and the millions of families they support.