As the federal government intensifies its crackdown against immigrants and immigrant communities—from the DACA repeal to Trump’s travel ban—the struggle for sanctuary becomes ever more important. The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) is an interfaith organization that mobilizes with 30 congregations throughout the Chicagoland area to fight for sanctuary that goes beyond basic, short-term protections. “Sanctuary is not a one-time event. It’s a process. It’s a strategy, a way of organizing,” says immigration organizer Cinthya Rodriguez.
In this episode, two members of CRLN discuss their vital organizing work in immigrant communities. Claudia Lucero is a long-time community organizer in the Chicago area and currently serves as CRLN’s Executive Director. Cinthya Rodriguez is the Immigration Organizer for CRLN, where she mobilizes faith communities to support undocumented-led movements.
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Since its founding in 2001, The Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine (CJPIP) has advocated for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that categorically ends terror and recognizes the rights of all people living in the region. Its platform includes an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, an end to U.S. policies that sustain the occupation, and the undertaking of a fair negotiation process with international support.
In this episode, two members of CJPIP’s steering committee discuss their activism and the challenges of creating a lasting peace in Israel and Palestine. Rebekah Levin is a founding member of CJPIP and the co-author of the study “Human Rights in the Occupied Territories 1979–1983,” produced with former Israeli politician and activist Shulamit Aloni. Caren Van Slyke is a founding member of CJPIP and an active voice in peace and justice campaigns for more than four decades.
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More than 40 years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision put abortion choice in women’s hands, reproductive justice remains contentious both in the streets and in state politics. At local clinics, the Illinois Choice Action Team’s volunteer escorts must guide patients safely into the clinic and shield them from harassment from picketers; in Springfield, the legislature passed new protections on abortion rights, only to face a likely veto from Governor Rauner.
In this episode, DSA’s Tom Broderick discusses ICAT’s volunteer escort program and the ongoing struggle for reproductive justice in conversation with Betsy Schaack, a clinic escort volunteer, board member of The Clinic Vest Project, and practicing paralegal for 25 years, and Sheila Loop, a long-time clinic escort volunteer, deputy general counsel for a national healthcare IT company, and former legislative aide to former senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN).
Listeners can petition Governor Rauner to advance the abortion rights bill (H.B.40) by calling his Chicago office at (312) 814-2121.
Episode 75, recorded 04.15.2017: The Friends Committee on National Legislation is a non-partisan Quaker lobby that dates back to 1943. Speaking for its constituent Quakers, or “Friends,” the group leverages its nationwide network to advocate “social and economic justice, peace, care for the Earth, and good government,” according to its statement of legislative policy.
In this episode, E. Garnet Fay, the chair of the Public Policy Committee of the Illinois Conference of Churches, and David Kelm, a non-Quaker “friend of a Friend,” discuss the FCNL and its efforts to craft peace-oriented policy, including a recent focus on cutting Pentagon funding.
E. Garnet Fay
Having grown up on a farm in north-central Illinois, E. Garnet Fay graduated from Northwestern University and received a JD degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law. An Oak Park resident, he practices law in the area of Wills and Trusts and Estate Administration with an office in the Monadnock Building in Chicago. An active member of the Society of Friends since joining as a “Convinced Friend” in 1979, he has been involved in a variety of Friends concerns, including serving on committees of the American Friends Service Committee, chairing the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago. Garnet presently chairs the Public Policy Committee of the Illinois Conference of Churches and serves on the board of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago. He has long supported the Friends Committee on National Legislation, having headed the Development committee and served in other efforts of the FCNL.
David grew up in the country between Lockport and Lemont, IL. When he realized his mother would not be able to afford his college tuition he decided to become a hair stylist and work his way through. He got his BA from Concordia University in 1992 in a returning adult degree completion program. During the thirty years between high school and his BA, he had a successful career as an owner-stylist. David sees himself, like many today, as spiritual but not religious. His thinking has been strongly influenced by ‘A Course in Miracles’, the writings of Eckhart Tolle, the skill set known as ‘Non-Violent Communication’, the trainings of the ManKind Project and in being a Laughter Yoga Facilitator. David, though not a Quaker, is referred to as a FOF (friend of a Friend) and as such has attended four annual national lobby days in DC, where he first became aware of the Advocacy Team concept. On the night of the election he was on a train to DC for last year’s annual meeting and he decided bringing the Advocacy Team home would be his way of ‘turning the other cheek.’
For More Information
Friends Committee on National Legislation- Advocacy Teams Friends Committee on National Legislation- Issues
Episode Producer: Tom Broderick
Sound Recording: Charles Austin
Post-production: Charles Austin
Web Page: Charles Austin and Bob Roman
May 1 wouldn’t be International Workers’ Day without Chicago. This annual celebration of workers’ rights was placed on May 1 to commemorate the 1886 Haymarket affair, and more than a century later Chicago still mobilizes for May Day. Although rally attendance fluctuates from year to year, the city has had its share of memorable showings, including an immigration-reform protest in 2006 that drew between 400,000 and 700,000 people to the streets.
In this episode, Chicago DSA’s Tom Broderick sits down to discuss May Day 2017 with Artemio Arreola, the Political Director of Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Robert Reiter, the Secretary Treasurer of Chicago Federation of Labor, and Susan Hurley, the Executive Director of Chicago Jobs With Justice and a member of Chicago DSA.
As Susan says in the podcast, “What the billionaires don’t want is for working people to come together, across gender, across race, and across communities. That’s the biggest threat to them. It’s strictly about divide and conquer when it comes to the folks who are in power right now.”
Artemio Arreola is currently the Political Director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. In his position, Artemio manages our New Americans Democracy Project, which is a non-partisan civic engagement program that seeks to engage and mobilize voters on issues our members and allies prioritize.
In addition, Artemio deals with many different political organizations and individuals that directly work with the immigrant community including the Federation of Michoacán’s Clubs in Illinois (FEDECMI) and Casa Michoacán. He has also been a union labor activist for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Mr. Arreola is a member of the Conejo Consultivo Del Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior/ Consultative Council of the Institute of the Mexicans in the Outside (CC-IME). The CC-IME helps people establish their Mexican birth-right to participate in the Presidential Mexican elections. Mr. Arreola is one of the main organizers and co-founder of the historic immigration demonstration (The March 10th Movement) that brought more than 500,000 people to the streets of Chicago. The same group also initiated the plans for the May 1st march. With his connections to leaders here United States, Artemio has been able to organize leadership networking both in the United States and Mexico.
Chicago Jobs with Justice Executive Director is Susan Hurley. Susan is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a B.A. in Political Science, and has worked as a community, labor, and political organizer prior to coming to Chicago Jobs with Justice.
Bob Reiter is a third-generation member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. Throughout his career, he has worked as a labor attorney, an organizer, a negotiator and a lobbyist. He came to the Chicago Federation of Labor as the Secretary-Treasurer in 2010. He saw this as an opportunity to bring the values his parents taught him as a child to a bigger stage, allowing him to affect people’s lives in a way he could not do at his local.
As Secretary-Treasurer, Bob represents the interests of labor throughout Chicago and Cook County. As a Board member for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, Bob is helping to strengthen the economy of Chicago by bringing trade shows, conventions and other public events to Chicago. His involvement with various community groups, including Chicago Jobs with Justice’s Executive Committee and Arise Chicago’s Executive Board, allows him to fight for the rights of workers through education, organizing and shaping public discourse. As a member of the Citizen Action/Illinois Policy Council, Bob has the opportunity to influence the organization’s public policy positions, the legislative agenda and any candidate endorsements for public office. On the Metropolitan Planning Council Resource Board, Bob is helping to build a strong economy and reinvigorate Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Bob holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science from Eastern Illinois University, and a Juris Doctor degree from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. He and his wife, Diana, have two beautiful children.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program in the tomato fields of Florida has eliminated modern-day slavery and sexual violence, improved farmworker wages and guaranteed basic protections for tens of thousands of workers. In this episode, Tom Broderick interviews Lupe Gonzalo, member and leader of CIW about how the Fair Food Program works, how it has benefited the workers in the field, the history of CIW, and just why CIW is leading a boycott of Wendy’s.
Translation is provided by Yaissy Solis, national co-coordinator for the Student/Farmworker Alliance, a national network of students and youth working in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
Lupe Gonzalo is a member and leader of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). Ms. Gonzalo is a farmworker herself, with over 13 years of experience working in the fields of Florida. As part of the Fair Food Program, Ms. Gonzalo and her colleagues conduct worker-to-worker education sessions on human rights in the fields on all farms participating in the Program. Ms. Gonzalo’s work at the CIW includes hosting daily radio shows on the CIW’s low-power community FM radio station, leading the weekly women’s group meetings, receiving complaints of abuses in the fields, managing wage theft claims, and investigating cases of modern-day slavery. Finally, Ms. Gonzalo represents the CIW at a national level, speaking publicly on the challenges faced by farmworkers in Florida, both during major actions with thousands of consumers and in dozens of presentations throughout the year.
Yaissy Solis works as national co-coordinator for the Student/Farmworker Alliance, a national network of students and youth working in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Ms. Solis has substantial expertise in the fields of student/youth organizing, economic justice, movement building and direct-action campaigns.
Our featured speaker for that evening was Ralph Martire, Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Chicago. In this presentation, Martire contends the wreckage of our public institutions, our soaring private and public debt, our stagnating economy, the growing stench of racism in our politics: These are the natural outcome of an intentional, decades-long policy of massively redistributing wealth to those who were already very very wealthy.