BY CHRIS KERR | November 16, 2015
Today marks 26 years since the Jesuits, their housekeeper Elba Ramos, and her 15-year-old daughter Celina Ramos, were murdered at the University of Central America in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Early in the morning on November 16, 1989, they joined 70,000 innocent civilians killed during the country’s 12-year civil war. Sadly, for those of us in the U.S., we were complicit in this violence. Our country gave nearly $1 million dollars a day in military aid to El Salvador’s government during the civil war and trained hundreds of Salvadoran soldiers and officers at institutes like the former School of the Americas.
As we remember this violent anniversary, we are surrounded with senseless violence around the world today as well. We see this reality in the victims of terrorism in places like Beirut, Iraq, and Paris, the deaths of Syrian refugees in box trucks and on beaches, and in our own country where mass shootings and violent acts of racism have become far too common.
We offer this prayer written by Nick Liao, ISN’s director of communications and development:
Fr. Ellacuria was once quoted as saying:
“We are people of the Gospel, a gospel that proclaims the reign of God, and that calls us to try to transform this earth into as close a likeness of that reign as possible.”
Just like the martyrs, we are invited to answer this call — to transform our world to one where peace, justice, and solidarity reign.
Join me in this call by taking time today to remember the martyrs of El Salvador and pray for peace in our world.
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.