Romero Days 2019: "Belonging: The Church of Romero and the Gangs"

Location: Hesburgh Center for International Studies

Sponsored by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. The canonization of Archbishop Óscar Romero in 2018 brought renewed attention to the slain priest’s witness and legacy of promoting social justice. This year, Latin American/North American Church Concerns (LANACC) will focus on a contemporary problem that demands urgent attention and ties into the core themes of Romero’s mission: gang violence.

Before his death at the hands of a Salvadoran death squad in 1980, Romero predicted the rise of gang violence in his homeland. Romero Days 2019 will focus on WWOD – “What Would Óscar Do?” – in light of his dedication to transitional justice, both in dialogue and action, and his commitment to bringing nonviolence into a new era, particularly as it relates gang activity in El Salvador and the United States.

With some politicians and media outlets promoting a false narrative about Central American gang violence, many mistakenly blame an MS-13 “invasion” from El Salvador with bringing that violence to the US. This distortion of the record needs to be addressed. In reality, MS-13 originated in Los Angeles and was shipped to El Salvador, where it grew in scope and violence. LANACC will disseminate information and new perspectives about this process, and will facilitate the formation of new partnerships to extend Romero’s legacy of support for nonviolence to the present. 

Originally published at conductorshare.nd.edu.