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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Stories from Syracuse's sister community in El Salvador

LaCasita taps the Caribbean/Latin American Coalition of Central New York to share their experiences in El Salvador

May 2, 2012, by Judy Holmes

Estancia's Community Library committee at work, El Salvador
Estancia's Community Library committee at work, El Salvador
The La Casita Cultural Center, 109 Otisco St., Syracuse, will host members of the Caribbean/Latin American Coalition of Central New York (CLAC) to share stories and information about their recent trips to San Salvador and to La Estancia, Syracuse’s sister community in rural El Salvador.  The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 17 and is free and open to the public.

Ursula Rozum, an international observer in San Salvador and Santa Ana for El Salvador’s 2012 national elections in March, and Shirley Novak, who led a delegation to La Estancia in February 2012, will lead the discussion. 

CLAC, a partner organization of the Syracuse Peace Council, was established in 1992 from the former Syracuse Covenant Sanctuary. A grass-roots organization established during the 1980s, Syracuse Covenant Sanctuary provided safe housing to refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala seeking to escape brutal civil war, human rights violations, and massacres in rural villages. El Salvadoran refugees who were sheltered in Syracuse by Sanctuary members were from the La Estancia region. The strong bond that formed between Syracuse grass-roots organizers and residents of La Estancia grew into the establishment of Syracuse and La Estancia as sister communities.

CLAC has been sending delegations to the region since 1993 to raise awareness of, and advocate for, people living in the community. CLAC has also raised thousands of dollars to assist the community in building much-needed infrastructure. Some of the projects completed over the years include:
•    Building a church and community library,
•    Establishing community vegetable gardens, and chicken and rabbit cooperatives,
•    Purchasing a cable to cross the river,
•    Bringing water supply lines closer to houses, 
•    Establishing an emergency fund to help cover medical and other essential needs for people who cannot afford them, and
•    Establishing a high school scholarship program to enable youth to attend school.

La Casita is a vibrant cultural, artistic, and educational center supported by Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Chancellor.  The Center is committed to promoting and documenting the arts and culture of Central New York’s Latino/Latin American community through collaborative programming in the visual and expressive arts, education, and community activism.