As Americans, we bear a great level of responsibility for the amount of violence and oppression that lingers in El Salvador as a result of government policies, particularly those of the 1980s. And in order for us to better comprehend the dire situation in this country, especially for young children, Loyola’s Department of Psychology is hosting an Evening of Solidarity: Children of El Salvador on April 26 to raise awareness and promote social change.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. Before and after, guests may purchase bake sale items or make any donations. Those who donate $10 or more will receive a copy of the book Children’s Rights are Human Rights. Those who donate $25 or more will receive a purse made by a poor family of craftspeople as a fundraiser to keep their children in school.

A slideshow/documentary produced by James Garbarino, a professor of psychology at Loyola, and Claire Bedard will premiere at the event. It is called Cecilia’s World: Bringing Light to the Darkness in El Salvador and exposes the dire lives of the children in El Salvador and the efforts of the Solidarity in Education Program to aid the children in one poor community and its educational facility, Lidia Coggiola School.

“[The film] puts the life of one little girl – five-year-old Cecilia – in the context of the history of El Salvador as a country steeped in trauma, poverty, and social injustice. Her mother is poor and illiterate and her father is a gang member,” explains Garbarino.

There will also be a puppet show presentation by the First Year Learning Community in Fine Arts and Social Justice Puppetry Class. This presentation was created to be donated to the children at Lidia Coggiola School.

“[This event] resonates with the core Loyola and Jesuit mission of education for the poor and disenfranchised and a concern for social justice,” says Garbarino.

“The special legacy of the Jesuits in particular and the Catholic church in general in El Salvador makes it particularly relevant to our concerns,” says Garbarino, referencing the assassination of Jesuits who spoke up for the poor and supported Liberation Theology.

By attending the event and showing your support, Garbarino feels that people can “gain an appreciation of their opportunity to do something positive for the next generation of children in El Salvador.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to not only enjoy delicious baked goods and experience an entertaining puppet show, but to also learn how you can help the children of the world. An Evening of Solidarity will be located in Galvin Auditorium in the Sullivan Center.

It is a free event and the entire Loyola community is welcome to attend.