Interreligious Task Force on Central America Fundraiser

Our last event for Wednesday, February 20th, took us to the The Storefront on Lorain Avenue in Cleveland where we added a spaghetti dinner put on by the Interreligious Task Force on Central America (IRTF) in order to raise funds to allow one of its staff volunteers to take part in a human rights delegation to Honduras.

This particular staff volunteer was Ms. Line-Marie Eichhorst, who is from Husum, Germany, and who has been working with the IRTF since September, 2018. She is here as part of a German peace organization called Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP), which sends around 180 volunteers to countries that suffered under the German occupation during World War II as well as to the United States because so many Holocaust survivors fled or immigrated here.

In an email sent out by Ms. Eichhorst, she wrote, “I have chosen to participate in a delegation to Honduras. In Honduras I will be part of a delegation organized by IRTF partner Witness for Peace. Through the delegation, I want to get a deeper understanding of the U.S. role in the Honduras human rights crisis. At IRTF I read every day about criminalization and incarceration of human rights and environmental rights activists in Honduras. This delegation will give me the opportunity to learn directly from leaders of human rights and grassroots organizations in Honduras, who have to live with this threat every day. I hope to gain more knowledge about the criminalization and repression of political protest and expression, governmental and police corruption, the increasing militarization of Honduran society, the impunity that pervades the Honduran justice and law enforcement systems, and the overal situation in Honduras that I can use for my volunteer service at the IRTF.”

Upon arrival, we talked with our friend, Mr. Brian Stefan-Szittai, IRTF Co-Director, who informed us that Ms. Eichhorst was ill and couldn’t join us at the Storefront that night but the combined amount of the contributions at this dinner was so good that she will be able to go to Honduras with the human rights delegation. Yet, we were sorry that we would probably not be able to meet Ms. Eichhorst before she leaves at the end of February.

We thus settled down and had some spaghetti and salad along with a vegan drink that we had never tried before dubbed “horchata de morro” that proved to be quite good. The same could be said about the vegan spaghetti sauce that we consumed as well as the spaghetti itself which was cooked just right neither too crisp nor too soggy which is indeed a rarity for most of the political events that we have attended throughout the years.

Also, we conversed with a lot of socially-minded people, including a social worker who works with immigrants who are suffering from trauma; needless to say, the current policies in the United States are not exactly helping their condition. We were also reminded that the previous day, February 19th, was the 77th anniversary of President Roosevelt’s signing and issuing Executive Order 9066 which paved the way for the incarceration of people of Japanese ethnicity (many of whom were U.S. citizens) as well as those of German and Italian ancestry during World War II. The United States itself therefore has a troubled history with immigration that seems to be continuing to this day.