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Commemoration of the Martyrs - online human rights gathering

Sunday, November 6, 2022


Thank you to the 100 or so people who gathered with us on November 6 to commemorate the loss of life this past year of those who took action in solidarity with marginalized and oppressed peoples in Latin America. In our prayer service before the speaker program, we called aloud the names (and displayed images of) 55 social leaders who were killed this past year in Colombia, Central America, and southern Mexico because of their work on behalf of their communities, because they dared to speak truth to power. In a spirit of honor and respect, and calling their spirit to be with us, in unison we responded ¡presente! (they are with us here).

IRTF joined with other faith groups in 1981 to commemorate the martyrdom of two Cleveland missioners who were assassinated in El Savador in 1980. Concluding our commemoration service on Sunday evening, we called out the names of the martyrs of El Salvador of 1980: Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Jean Donovan, Sister Dorothy Kazel, Sister Maura Clarke, Sister Ita Ford. ¡presente!

If you missed the Commemoration event, here are some resources:

Music playlist from the pre-program social hour

Program book – thank you to our many sponsors and other supporters

Notes from the speaker program (3 presenters from El Salvador)

Recording of the event on Facebook

We also took pledges from supporters who collectively pledged $1500 to share with our guests from El Salvador to support their ongoing human rights advocacy work.

 Donate to the El Salvador Solidarity Fund and IRTF’s work to end US-sponsored militarism in Central America

Take a chance with our online raffle and help us raise even more funds for our cross-border solidarity work (raffle ends at 9pm EST on November 8)


Thank you to our guests from El Salvador:

Marta Pérez, Abraham Abrego, Leslie Schuld


Thank you to our interpreters:

Rebecca Zúñiga-Hamlin, Adrián Bernal


Thank to our prayer service coordinators:

Sue Riley, Diane Pinchot, Emily Liptow


Thank you to all our volunteers, including IRTF student interns:

Jordan Deskins (Case Western Reserve University, 2022)

Cierra English (Cleveland State University, 2022)

Monica García (Case Western Reserve University, 2025)

Rebekkah Schimmel-Doerr (Bowling Green State University, 2022 )

Lily Shannon (Kent State University, 2021)

Noor Shah (Walsh Jesuit High School, 2023)


Serve the Moment Fellowship Interns 

Wren Fiocco (Oberlin College, 2019)

Elsa Schlensker (Oberlin College, 2020)

Chanelle Waligura (Kent State, 2020)


Thank you to our volunteer program book designer:

Brent Stowe


Thank you to our event sponsors, including:

Beaumont School, Bridge Foundation, Church of St Dominic, CIS (Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad) Community of St Peter, Congregation of St Joseph, Margaret M Wong and Associates, Northeast Ohio Friends of Immigrants, Pilgrim Congregational Church-United Church of Christ, Sisters of Charity of St Augustine, St Ignatius High School, Walsh Jesuit High School


Thank you to IRTF staff and volunteers.

IRTF volunteer database manager: Ditte Wolin

IRTF bookkeeper who's been with us for 21 years: Janet Allt

IRTF full-time volunteer associates: Pearl Chen, Marc Alvarado, Lasse Höhler

IRTF full-time volunteer associate Charlie Löwisch, who recently returned to Germany to begin her university studies

IRTF co-coordinators: Brian Stefan-Szittai and Chrissy Stonebraker-Martínez


Many thanks to all who have been with IRTF for the past 42 years, and to those who have recently joined our network of advocacy, organizing, and action for human rights. Solidarity forever!


IRTF Board of Trustees: 

Rachel Rosen DeGolia, Tori Hamilton, Yolanda King (chair), Kai Kyles, Melaak Rashid, Akshai Singh, Kimberley Spates (treasurer), Lisa Splawinski, Emily Terry



About the Commemoration

It's time again for the annual Commemoration of the Martyrs of Central America and Colombia.  This special event will be held online (via Zoom) on Sunday, November 6, 2022, 4-8pm.

42nd annual Commemoration of the Martyrs - El Salvador: Democracy & Human Rights in Crisis

On Sunday, November 6, 2022, the InterReligious Task Force on Central America & Colombia (IRTF) will hold a special online gathering to mark the 42nd anniversary of the ultimate sacrifice made by two Cleveland women in El Salvador (Jean Donovan and Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel), along with Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke. The four women paid with their lives for their decision to stay in solidarity with poor, marginalized victims of the US-sponsored armed violence, which eventually claimed the lives of 75,000 Salvadorans and the led to the mass exodus of 1 million refugees.  IRTF was founded by people of faith and conscience to honor their powerful witness and carry forward their legacy of solidarity. 

Please join us to celebrate IRTF’s four decades of solidarity with the people of Central America and Colombia: promoting peace, justice, human rights, and systemic transformation through nonviolence.


On November 6, we will gather online to

-mark the sacrifice of Jean, Dorothy, Ita, and Maura 42 years ago,

-honor those killed today for standing up for human rights, and

-recommit ourselves to act in solidarity with poor and marginalized communities in Central America and Colombia

 We hope you will join us.



Event tickets

Anyone can sign up for this online event free of charge or by making a free-will offering . In honor of the 42nd anniversary of the sacrifice made by Cleveland’s women in El Salvador, we suggest a donation of $42 or more. To reserve an individual ticket, please fill out the form HERE or call (216) 961 0003. 


Group rates

Attendees have been gathering for many years at tables of eight in the dining hall of Beaumont School in Cleveland Heights for this annual IRTF homecoming. Although we are not able to gather in person this year, we are offering “tables” for your group of eight (suggested: $250). There will be opportunities during the evening to hang out with your group (social hour and post-program break-out session). We hope you’ll consider this option as a way of reconnecting with dear friends and showing your support for IRTF’s mission: peace, justice, human rights, and systemic transformation through nonviolence.

If you would like to order a group "table," please fill out the form HERE , or call (216) 961 0003. 


Co-Sponsors for program book

We invite our friends to support IRTF’s solidarity work by placing a display ad in our program book, which will be available online during (and after) the event. Please ask your community group or congregation to consider supporting IRTF with an ad in the Commemoration program book.  Read more about the co-sponsorship levels HERE.


Online Raffle & Auction

Info and links to the raffle soon. Stay tuned!



3:30-4pm… social hour - social justice art, spoken word, music

4pm………..opening remarks

4:15pm…….interfaith prayer service

4:45pm…….introduction of speaker program

5pm………..El Salvador: Democracy in Crisis


 Abraham Abrego is a human rights lawyer from the organization Cristosal. He will give an overview and update on the current government’s actions that many characterize as a dismantling of state of law. Since early this year, the government of President Bukele has suspended constitutional rights and imprisoned tens of thousands in its crackdown on crime, having declared a State of Exception. Joining Abraham Abrego will be residents from communities organized by IRTF partner CIS (Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad) who will talk about the impacts of the State of Exception on their families.


6:00pm…….closing remarks



A staff person is in the office every day, M-F. Call (216) 961 0003.


Thank you.

IRTF staff and Board of Trustees


InterReligious Task Force on Central America

3606 Bridge Ave., Cleveland OH 44113

(216)961 0003


IRTF is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt charitable organization.

Federal tax ID: 34-1853821 .