Irma Romero: ¡Presente!


On Monday evening, January 14, a standing-room-only filled the Adalberto United Methodist Church to mourn the passing and celebrate the life of Irma Romero. Words like incansable and invincible echoed throughout the tribute to describe this warrior for justice and human rights whose great heart gave out during her surgery on Friday, January 11.

Throughout the program, Irma’s friends and family members were treated to a slide show, filled with images of her in various marches, demonstrations, and community activities.

The program began with reflections by Irma’s grandchildren, who said how much they loved her and would miss her.

The children’s comments were followed by a poem written and read by Rosario , a long-term community member and poet whom Irma had greatly inspired and encouraged over the years.

Dr. José López, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, spoke of his four decades of friendship with Irma and her steadfastness in the most difficult times and circumstances. He recounted the time in 1980 when (at eight months pregnant) she and Rev. Torres managed to break through the wall of the Chicago FBI offices. He also reflected on her presence with him throughout the Three Kings Day activities less than two weeks ago and concluded with a poem “Con Un Hombro Menos” by Doña Consuelo Lee Corretjer, read by Lourdes Lugo.

Rev. Walter Coleman, Pastor of Adalberto United Methodist Church, reminded us that throughout our sorrow and joy, we had to begin the difficult emotional work of letting go of Irma and accepting the reality of her passing. He and Emma Lozano led prayers and songs of comfort and acceptance. Following the service, he also called for volunteers to ride a wheelchair in the upcoming immigration rights rally in honor of Irma’s memory.

Rev. Nozomi Ikuta, Co-Chair of the Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Project, reflected on Irma’s integration of her anti-colonial and anti-capitalist perspectives with her faith and healing. She quoted Irma’s emphasis on “love, energy, and effort” in our achievements of the past and in the ongoing work for immigrants’ rights and to obtain Oscar’s freedom.

The program was concluded with some words by Alejandro Molina, in which he observed that Irma, like the majority of people in the room, reminded him of the dictum, “Everyone dies, but not everyone really knows how to live”.

A video of Irma defending Elvira Arellano in sanctuary at Adalberto United Methodist Church can be viewed


Irma Cabrera Romero, Descansa en paz!
Irma Cabrera Romero, Descansa en paz!

View the slideshow created in Irma’s memory here.