I have worked for two years with SHARE in coordinating interns in their site. The office itself is a dynamic and passionate community committed to justice in one of the forgotten tragedies of the 20th century. I am constantly amazed by how the SHARE office makes such an impact that make the 3000 miles between Berkeley and El Salvador seem almost non-existent. In my work as intern coordinator I traveled on a delegation to El Salvador in December of 2012. My eyes were truly opened to the ongoing struggle and heroism of the people of El Salvador, the continued impact of Msgr Romero and the vital importance of people like the SHARE staff in keeping this story heard in the US and reminding us that the heart that seeks justice never stops beating.
I've known and supported SHARE for over 25 years, 15 of which I was blessed to be on staff (way back)--so I knew it closely and can say that every mili-second was used well, effectively, and in service of making a difference. SHARE supports and empowers grassroots groups in El Salvador and earned their cherished trust. Together they are working to reverse poverty and marginalization--and to build and strengthen visonary alternatives. I cannot say enough good things about SHARE, and after many years of just being a donor, i joined the board a few years back, and volunteer in various ways. SHARE is the best!
SHARE played a pivotal role in accompanying Salvadoran refugees resettling into the rural areas as the country transitioned from years of violent civil war to one of rebuilding their war-torn nation. Our church, St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Seattle, Washington, USA, was partnered by SHARE with a newly resettled community, Nueva Trinidad in Chalatenango, in 1992. Through SHARE, we send delegations to the community on a bi-annual basis to learn from the people. SHARE originally helped facilitate projects that were prioritized by Nueva Trinidad and which St. Patrick's helped fund; now we do this directly due to our rich relationship with the community which SHARE fostered. We remain strong partners with SHARE as we trust their decades of knowledge, expertise and experience. SHARE has been instrumental in building and sustaining partnerships between the U.S. and El Salvador, providing technical, financial and educational support to the rural leaders, while targeting new leadership among women and youth, and engaging their U.S. partners in collaborating and financially assisting in the development of the country.
The people of El Salvador and the community based organizations they have formed are making justice and liberation happen after years of war, poverty, and oppression. For over three decades, at each step along the journey, SHARE El Salvador has walked in solidarity with the people of El Salvador and these community based organizations. And it has been a great blessing in my life to witness the dramatic ways in which SHARE's model of accompaniment strengthens relationships, deepens the capacity for change, and helps to solidify new ways forward. SHARE's staff in the United States and El Salvador are incredibly well versed in this model of accompaniment and are gifted in teaching it to others who also seek a relationship of solidarity and accompaniment.
It is my hope that the community at University Lutheran Chapel will continue to be involved with SHARE for many years to come.
Pastor Jeff R. Johnson
University Lutheran Chapel of Berkeley