Saturday, January 29, 2011

CARECEN Celebrates 25th Anniversary

From the Central American Resources Center:

CARECEN turns 25 -- Romero Vive Event honoring Father Jon Sobrino, Eric Quezada & Maria Gallo!

Estimados Colegas y Amigos/Dear Colleagues and Friends!

I am writing to share with you the exciting news that this year CARECEN turns 25!  We are now a young adult full of possibility and past the challenging teen years –thank you all who have contributed to our success!  To celebrate and honor our legacy, the Romero Vive Event Committee has selected 3 exemplary leaders to be honored at our second annual event March 31st.   Our goal this year is to raise enough money to hire a new immigration attorney. Did you know that the whole Latino community only has 4 immigration lawyers between all 4 non-profit organizations that do legal immigration work?  -- A shame given that Latino immigrants are overwhelmingly the targets of the wave of detention and deportation we have been facing the last few years.  

As centroamericanos, we are very grateful to the diverse communities that opened their arms and welcomed us in our time of greatest need. We are also proud that we have worked hard to create our own institutions, do for ourselves and work on behalf of our community. The three people the event organizing committee and CARECEN board selected to receive the Romero Vive Award are exemplary individuals:  FATHER JON SOBRINO, ERIC QUEZADA AND MARIA E. GALLO – all have been advocating and leading on behalf of Latinos and immigrants in our city and fighting for the dignity of poor people in El Salvador and Central America.  It is important to us that we showcase leadership on behalf of social justice in different realms of the work.

I am also writing to invite you to come celebrate with us on March 31, 2011, from 6 – 9 p.m. in the Green Room at the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center. The event will celebrate the life and work of Monsignor Óscar Romero. Assassinated by the Salvadoran military in 1980, Monsignor Romero was a staunch defender of human rights and advocate of social justice. The Romero Vive Celebration will honor the work of three individuals who embody his legacy.

A Jesuit priest and theologian, Father Sobrino is well-respected for his contributions to liberation theology and dedication to the Salvadoran people’s struggle for justice. In 1989 he narrowly escaped assassination by the Salvadoran military for his outspoken work to bring about a resolution to the brutal Salvadoran civil war. He currently resides in El Salvador.  Father Sobrino has an amazing following and many of you have already requested individual meetings with him. Unfortunately, because of his health he will spend most of his time resting and his only appearance in San Francisco will be at our event. 

Born in San Francisco of Guatemalan parents, Eric Quezada is a long-time community activist. He is currently executive director of the Dolores Street Community Center, and has worked at the Mission Housing Development Corporation and the Mission Economic Development Agency. He serves on a number of community agency boards, as well as acting as vice-chair of San Francisco’s Democratic Central Committee. 

Originally from Modesto, Maria Gallo is a senior vice president with the Corporate Social Responsibility Group of Union Bank. Her passionate advocacy on behalf of Latinas and Latinos has won her awards from such organizations as the California Latino Civil Rights Network and Hispanas Organized for Political Equality. She’s presently a board member of the Latino Community Foundation and an advisory member of Bay Area Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

CARECEN continues to hold the vision that cost the lives of so many in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and here in the US -- including Mons. Romero –“It is not God’s will that some have everything and others have nothing.” So we work hard to build collaboration across sectors, race, neighborhoods – to make sure the poor are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to succeed in our country and in Central America.  PLEASE JOIN US IN SAYING – THE POOR DESERVE DIGNITY, MONS.ROMERO, PRESENTE!

We sent out the hold the date card on email last week. I have attached it for you to forward to your community to make sure they are represented.  We are sending the formal invitation to the printer early next week.

I am humbled by your commitment and hard work to assure that Latino, immigrant, poor and disenfranchised communities thrive and have the political power we deserve!

Ana C. Perez
Executive Director


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