Welcome to the Romero Institute!

The Romero Institute continues in the spirit of Óscar Romero to end systemic injustice by creating permanent law and policy solutions to problems that affect some of the most underprivileged people in the United States.  Formerly the Christic Institute, the Romero Institute is led by Chief Counsel Daniel Sheehan and Executive Director Sara Nelson who have been working for over forty years on such social justice cases as the Karen Silkwood case, Three-Mile Island, the Greensboro Massacre, and the Iran-Contra Affair, among others.

Please stand with us in carrying out Romero’s vision to uplift the oppressed and give a voice to the voiceless.

You will find links to our classes, events, and the Christic Institute archive under "Archives." Please look around and learn more about our history and projects.

The Romero Institute celebrates the release of Laudato Si', Pope Francis' much anticipated Encyclical recognizing the very real issue of climate change, "A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system...a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gasses...released mainly as a result of human activity" (23). Now, the question remains, what are we going to do about this?

Read the Encyclical Here

Our Rights

Constitution Protection Zones

In response to constitutional violations of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, the Romero Institute is working to create a Constitution Protection Zone in Santa Cruz.  This would require all Santa Cruz City and County law enforcement officers to actively stop outside agencies from enforcing the unconstitutional  sections of the act.


Injustice & Poverty

Lakota People's Law Project

Since 2005, the Institute's main focus has been the Lakota People’s Law Project, which seeks to prevent the illegal seizure of Native American Lakota children from their families and tribes in violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act.  In October 2014, we achieved a major milestone with two South Dakota tribes getting two year foster care planning grants.

Climate Change & Indigenous Rights

Our Petition Appeal to Pope Francis:

The Doctrine of Discovery, issued as the Inter Caetera Papal Bull of May 4th, 1493, continues to adversely and insidiously influence policy decisions directed towards indigenous peoples across North and South America.

This doctrine, created centuries ago, still acts as the spiritual endorsement for the dehumanization and slaughter of indigenous peoples, and the justification for imperialist economic ventures. It now permeates western ideologies and justifies unspeakable crimes that would otherwise have no moral or legal basis.

For these reasons, we respectfully ask you, Pope Francis, to revoke and rescind the Inter Caetera of 1493, which vested moral and spiritual authority in the colonial envoys and captains to brutally and violently conquer Native lands. The only method by which to reconcile these soul wrenching crimes and to affirm that the indigenous peoples, the poorest of the poor, are human beings is to officially revoke this doctrine. 


(Names of Petition Signers will Appear here)


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