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October 2010 E-Newsletter Upper Midwest Update

Fall Speaker Tour   
Padre Jesús Alberto Franco is a renowned leader in the Colombian human rights movement.   He is a Colombian missionary priest, as well as the executive secretary of the Colombian human rights NGO Inter-church Commission for Justice and Peace (Comision Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz).  He has spent the last 3 years in his current role accompanying the resistance processes of Afro-Colombian, Indigenous and mixed race farmers, overseeing the operations of the commission, and coordinating and overseeing the work of the teams that accompany the processes of the community.  He has been part of the commission for over 21 years and helped to support the NGO’s founders in the creation of the commission.  He was born and raised in Aranzazu, Caldas in Colombia.  His work as a missionary brings him all over Colombia.

Padre Alberto has been a featured speaker for the World Council of Churches in front of the UN in NYC 2009, as well as a featured speaker at the 2009 School of the Americas Watch protest.  In 207 and 2008, he lobbied in Brussels in front of the European Parliament and the European Commission. Also in 2008, he testified at the Alternative Network Against Impunity and Market Globalization in Spain, the Public Hearing of the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes and a session for the Ethics Commission for Truth in France regarding exiled Colombians.  
The Inter-church Justice and Peace Commission, founded in 1988, is a leading NGO for community organizing and human rights in Colombian.  It provides accompaniment to Afro-Colombian, Indigenous, and mixed race communities who have been victimized and affirms their rights without the use of violence in zones of armed conflict

Click here for a complete schedule of events.

“Remember Me:  Voices of the Silenced in Colombia”
Colombia’s 50-year conflict has killed 70,000 people and displaced nearly four million others, making it the worst chronic humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere—second in the world only to Sudan.

The victims of this conflict deserve to be heard. At Remember Me: Voices of the Silenced in Colombia, you will hear stories of struggle and courage from the victims of violence themselves. As U.S. citizens we hold tremendous power to promote peace.

The art came directly from Colombia, created and inspired by victims of violence. Several Lutheran World Relief partner organizations worked to construct the gallery: Asociación MINGA, Fundación Manuel Cepeda, Agenda Caribe and Entrópico Theatre group. These organizations have spent years with these communities, working to record their testimonies, promote healing and advocate for justice.

From April 2010 to April 2011, the gallery will be on display in locations around the Midwest. Then in 2011-2012 it will travel to the West Coast and to the East Coast in 2012-2013. 

Click here for a complete schedule of events.