Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Letter to our base from SHARE Director Jose Artiga

February 11, 2010

Queridas amigas y amigos de SHARE,

Warm greetings from Washington DC where we are under several feet of snow.

I am writing to you today to elaborate and update on a few challenges we as a SHARE community encountered in the final months of 2009. First, Hurricane Ida left many victims and much destruction. However, thanks to the international community, reconstruction is underway. We want to say “Gracias” to each of our sister parishes, communities, schools, universities, foundations, religious orders and individual supporters for your generous response to this crisis.

SHARE was also blessed by the support of the Salvadoran community in the US, in particular the coalitions that raised and channeled their support through SHARE from Houston, TX and San Francisco, CA.

SHARE has been presente with the communities affected by Hurricane Ida since day one. Through your kind support, we have delivered over $42,000 in emergency aid, and are committed to assisting in any ways that we can throughout all phases of reconstruction. I want to thank the entire SHARE staff for the tremendous effort and dedication on this emergency.

The second challenge in the struggle for social justice and solidarity has been the assassinations of community leaders organizing against the mining of gold in El Salvador.

We have also had a number of very positive events happen this year. At the celebration of the 18th anniversary of the Peace Accords this January 16th, President Funes apologized on behalf of the state to the people of El Salvador for human rights violations committed by the government of El Salvador during the war. In the context of the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Monseñor Romero, SHARE has taken the lead in a coalition to pressure the government to accept the recommendations of the Inter American Human Rights Commission of the OAS. We will continue supporting our partner organizations as they demand implementation of the recommendations, including the repeal of the amnesty law.

We are happy that 60 plus delegates will be going to El Salvador this March. We are planning to convene all of the delegations attending the 30th anniversary commemoration of Monseñor Romero in Cabañas this March 21st to express our solidarity. We will also pressure for a full investigation of the murders of the mining activists, for an end to the repression, and to stop the mining.

We want to express our gratitude to each of the sister parishes, communities, schools, and universities, to each promoter and individual for your faithful and ongoing support. You make our mission to walk with the organized poor of El Salvador possible. We count on your support to continue our mission.

Additionally, as you may know, due to a decrease in funding, we had to close our office in San Francisco in August of 2009, and consolidate our work in our office in Washington, D.C. Also, this January due to lack of funding, we had to let go of our Local Development Program Officer, Carmelina. We thank Angela, Teresa, Sara, Claudia, Guadalupe, Luis and Carmelina for their many years of leadership, commitment, wisdom and love to SHARE. They helped make SHARE a wonderful organization and SHARE will not be the same without them. Les damos mil GRACIAS.

We hope to fill some of these positions again as the economy recuperates.

Here is the list of our current staff:

Washington DC:

Jose Artiga, Executive Director

Jillian Leslie, Administrative Assistant

Elizabeth McMekeen, part-time development

El Salvador:

Marina Peña, El Salvador Office Director

Theodora Simon, Grassroots Coordinator

Cristian Menjivar, Administrative Assistant

Danielle Mackey, Grassroots Delegation Coordinator

Laura Hershberger, Grassroots Solidarity Education Coordinator

We are currently holding meetings in our Washington DC and El Salvador offices to determine the work plan for 2010 which we will share with you when it is complete. With fewer resources we will be more strategic and realistic on what we can do and do it well.

Once again, we thank you for your past support which has been invaluable, and we ask you to continue walking with us. You are the lifeline that allows us to continue our work with projects that positively impact the lives of our Salvadoran brothers and sisters, as well as to offer delegations, tours, education and updates.

We recognize that some of you may have experienced delays in communications from SHARE. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience as we continue to adjust to less resources and a smaller staff. Thank you for your understanding and support.

Please do not hesistate to write or call if you have any questions. Looking forward to continued partnerships and solidarity.

With great appreciation and un fuerte abrazo,

Jose Artiga

Director Ejecutivo

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