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Community Engagement Partners Spotlight
Poor People’s Campaign
Reverend Kevin Carter has become a regular member of CRISJ—attending meetings regularly and planning events on campus on a regular basis. Reverend Carter has a long history of community activism for social justice in Sacramento and across the nation. He has been a leading voice in the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC). As part of this work, he has worked closely with Faye Kennedy and Cathleen Williams advocating for the most marginalized and disempowered communities in society.
He actively advocates for the basic needs of the unhoused, which includes providing them the essentials (water, food, hygienic necessities, masks for COVID-19, etc.) and teaching them social distance to protect themselves from the Corona Virus. He also assists the unhoused—who are over 55 and have health needs—get services and housing. This work is an everyday and long-going effort because of the pandemic and the scarcity of housing.
On July 5th, he participated in a state-wide, open-house zoom meeting and invites those interested in joining PPC Campaign to help form a moral fusion of people and organizations to create a movement that addresses the intersectional problems our marginalized communities are facing: i.e., poverty, systemic racism, the war economy, and ecological devastation and religious extremism. Brother Carter invites the Sacramento State community to join the fight for the general welfare of society and to stop the spiritual and social death of our people who are denied humanity and dignity. Our communities are in great need of an economic uplift, so let’s join Brother Carter as we move together forward and not one step back!
U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities
By Michael Ring
The US-El Salvador Sister Cities Network (USESSC), a network of communities and individuals across the United States sistered in struggle with Salvadoran communities organizing for dignity, justice and sustainability in El Salvador, celebrates our collaboration during the 2019-2020 academic year with Sacramento State’s Center on Race, Immigration and Social Justice (CRISJ). Our partnership with CRISJ facilitated educational exchanges between Sacramento State Educators and Students with students affiliated with our sister communities in El Salvador who are all members of CRIPDES, Asociación para el desarrollo de El Salvador (the Association for the Development of El Salvador). CRIPDES is an organization of Salvadoran rural communities who have been working together for social, economic and political rights and justice in the Salvadoran countryside since 1984.
Sacramento State Professors Dr. Heidy Sarabia and Dr. Nancy Lapp brought a USESSC speaker into their classrooms to share ideas and perspective on the historic struggle of the Salvadoran social movement to fight for a society that meets the needs of all Salvadorans. Dr. Sarabia also worked together with US-El Salvador Sister Cities to host online exchanges between Sacramento State students and university students from the CRIPDES communities attending the National University of El Salvador. These exchanges provided students on both sides of the border an opportunity to exchange ideas, knowledge and perspectives that opened eyes for all involved and initiated brainstorming about how to sustain these relationships going forward.
CRISJ, USESSC also teamed up with CAFE (Central Americans for Empowerment), the Multi-Cultural Center and other Sacramento State organizations to host a panel honoring the 40th Anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Oscar Romero. The panel shared insights into Romero’s life, his commitment to accompanying poor people’s organizations across El Salvador as they confronted the Salvadoran wealthy, the Salvadoran military, the U.S. government and the traditional church hierarchy and demanded dignity and justice in the 1970’s. Speakers shared insights into Romero’s willingness to use his platform as El Salvador’s Archbishop to serve as the voice of the voiceless, to break through government censorship to reveal the truth about the regime’s systematic violence against its own people and to connections of Romero's legacy to struggles for justice in the United States and Latin America to the present day. On March 24, 1980, a death squad sniper with ties to the vicious military regime ruling the country at that time, silenced Romero and his call for liberation of the poor majority in El Salvador.
US-El Salvador Sister Cities thanks CRISJ and its members for a great year of partnership and looks forward to strengthening our collaboration with CRISJ and the Sacramento State community.
Sacramento Solidarity with Honduras
By Ann Pratt
Three frontline Guapinol Water Defenders Juana Ramona Zuniga, Juan Lopez, and Reynaldo Domínguez Ramos from Tocoa, Honduras were hosted at Sacramento State University by the Center on Race, Immigration, and Social Justice (CRISJ) in conjunction with Sacramento Solidarity with Honduras on October 7, 2019. That this was possible required a remarkable series of dominos to fall into place on a very short timeline. The Water Defenders received the prestigious Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards on October 3, 2019 from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D. C. on behalf of the Comité Municipal on Defensa de Bienes Comunes y Naturales del Municipio de Tocoa (Municipal Committee in Defense of Common and Natural Assets of the Municipality of Tocoa). José Artiga, Executive Director of the SHARE Foundation, put into action a plan to have the Water Defenders come to the Bay Area, including Sacramento for a series of events following the awards ceremony. This plan was complicated because final approval for the Defenders to travel to the United States did not take place until late September.
Ann Pratt, OP, Chairperson, Sacramento Solidarity with Honduras talked with fellow committee member, Maria Burke, Sacramento State Senior in Political Science, about the possibility of the Defenders coming to Sacramento State. Maria became the invaluable link that made the Water Defenders campus visit possible. Once travel was approved, Maria emailed Professor Monicka Tutschka on September 24th to find out if CRISJ would be interested in bringing the Water Defenders to campus. Professor Tutschka contacted her fellow CRISJ faculty members about the possibility and they were eager to bring the defenders to campus with Environmental Studies Professor Michelle Stevens taking the lead. This was followed by a flurry of planning activities that resulted in a day long series of campus presentations including an initial panel discussion, faculty lunch, class presentations, and meetings with student activists. The Water Defenders message of “wake up humanity, there is no more time” clearly connected with the students who are well aware of the environmental peril. The SHARE Foundation and Sacramento Solidarity with Honduras look forward to connecting with CRISJ on their newest solidarity campaign related to food insecurity, VAMOS A LA MILPA Campaign for El Salvador and Honduras.