Meeting Notes January 24 2011

MLK in Vietnam speech said that War is a "cruel manipulation"/ "Cruel unity" of the poor to wage war on the other poor in Vietnam. True still today that the poor/unemployed in the US attack the poor/unemployed abroad.
Romero, on the day he was shot talked directly to the military demanding that they stop the repression.

Cathy's going to fast in Juarez: Dangerous situation in Mexico/Juarez also result cruel manipulation by US: Guns from Texas, drugs for the US market; the US capitalists built the maquiladores (factories) then moved to China when it became cheaper so the area has been left poorer still
The same dynamic that has happened in Mexico is extending to Latin America, especially ES

We need leaders in the movement with really strong voices to make the connections
What are ways that best to communicate that message?
Romero is good example: At time when right-wing power controlled the other medias of communication and the poor majorities only had their home radios, Romero recognized this and had weekly sermons on radio that were updatse on situation and denouncement
Get out the message in really effective ways: Singing, sermons, technology, internet
Also, example of moving from denouncing injustice to strategy

"Saint is a sinner who fell down" song
This is Romero's story, Paul's, ours story
Transformation Saul to Paul; awaken from being part of system
Just like Willie used to say "get a job"

Leadership Development: Want to catch up with Romero and other leaders ideologically and stand on their shoulders to act in our own times
Understand Romero's life; why did what he did

Musical "Wicked": written during Bush years, statement about how becomes "wicked" by going against grain, about silencing the animals, etc
"Defying gravity" song

Defining the Vision and Work of this Romero Project

Poverty Initiative is dedicated to developing Leadership for the movement to end poverty
Such models as MLK, Romero
Look at Romero's role as Religious leader, the Latin American context, Christian base communities
Point of connections to struggle that continues today; Global nature of Poverty
This group emerged out of vision to know Romero and develop more formalized curriculum about Romero modeled on PI's work on MLK

Leadership development for social movement to end poverty, led by the poor

Poverty has a Social character, so requires a social solution. A social movement goes through stages and we are in the developmental stage of is identifying and forming leaders
Uniting Poverty Scholars to build mass movement
Creating a poverty scholarship that challenges ways of typically doing scholarship:
Leaders must be mainly people from ranks in communities that affected, suffering
All of us must be committed as leaders
Leadership development: Uniting leaders, developing those leaders
Looking for models

Global character of poverty:

Ex. Unity with cambodian community on MLK Birthday
Ultimate problem that caused immigrants to come to this country is poverty
Desi said: Consequences of deportation is same of being laid off! Breaking up families, etc
The impulse of the Cambodian community is to break their isolation and to show that theirs in the common experience;
This contrasts with the focus of the progressives which is to focus on "you are one ID and e support you"
Cambodian community wants American people to see "we are you", ex. Philly hat
Increasing globalized poor: Romero gives us context to approach this

Particularly important questions to ask about Romero:

What was it in his development that made him be the leader he was?
What forces against him? What was their interests in killing him?
Why Life, story, sermons kept quiet

Vanessa's experience on 20th anniversary of Romero's death of bringing together the stories and examples of MLK and Romero

For religious work/leaders, both political sense and spiritual formation are incredibly important
Politics and spirituality; forming religious leaders that can use every moment as a platform

Leadership for times of crisis:

Given the long tradition of Union educating relig leaders, why are leaders graduating unprepared into the economic crisis
Connect campus to the community
Learn from both positive and negative of Romero
Every leader can find strength in people like Romero
Leaders leaving out into worse times; call upon those fortresses that can help stick and stay:
MLK, Romero, Jesus, Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman: why was she called Moses? what is the theology behind that? The prevailing theology of her day was a theology in which was slavery was ok; calling her Moses was revolutionary

Cathy: Study in El Salvador about what Salvadorans are proud of about their country. Romero not one of things proud of; this indicates that the powers have succeeded in sweeping him and his model of leadership under rug
"Let us not forget:" pass on to youth

Since we are up against forces that not want Romero-like messages to be heard, we are taking on a political fight
In a political fight, unite with who can unite with
Ex. Funes, groups who make Romero saint

3 Areas to focus on in Romero Project:

(1) Commitment and Development of Religious Leaders
(2) What is role of church? Role of religious leaders to the communities (incorporate here need for both spiritual analysis and politics)
(3) Stories of Romero to introduce Economic analysis to church communities (and Union community); related to continuing econ crisis; rise of neoliberalism; increase religious communities' politicalization and consciousness

How Romero Research can be incorporated into on-going PI work:

Charlene is taking on work with "Engaging Powers", which is leadership development for Black and Latino pastors; build a curriculum
Feb 26: ST 190 Course: Reading the Bible and Preaching; little piece on Romero; Students and Alumni
Feb 27: Trip to Boston with CIW
March 24: Romero Chapel? Jennifer will talk with Troy about who running chapel
Mar 24-27: Christianity and Capitalism
June 6-10: Leadership School (5-day), Leadership development, leaders influenced by Bible
Invite Poverty Scholars into this process: Desi working with immigrants who would be easier to approach with Romero

Next Steps:

Think about 3 areas and where best fit for your work
Look toward a little piece on Romero for Feb 26
Best days to meet: Mondays and Fridays; Charon talk to Alix
Plan meeting ASAP