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Social justice solidarity

Social justice is rooted in the foundation of St. Ignatius’s message, and at Loyola, education and advocacy go hand in hand for students. That is exactly why students and staff from Loyola attended the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in November in Washington DC. The Teach-In is an annual national conference for people who are passionate about responding to social justice issues in a way that is grounded in the Catholic social teachings and the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Jackie Arnason, graduate assistant for campus ministry, was in charge of taking students to the Teach-In conference this year. Arnason, who has previously attended the conference four times before, says the experience always renews her passion for social justice.

“The Mass is always very moving. With a ballroom full of passionate young people and amazing music, you can feel the spirit in the room, ” she says. “The homily this year was especially moving, bringing some students to tears.”

The date of the Teach-In conference each year marks the anniversary of the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador. In the early morning hours of November 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter, were killed at the University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador, El Salvador because of their commitment to and work for social justice. The conference is a testament to the integration of the growing interest in combining educational opportunities for social justice action and legislative advocacy.

Emmy Storms, 22, senior communication and political science major, attended the Teach-In conference for the first time this past November. Storms says her experience in Washington DC helped her better understand how her Jesuit values can be applied to current social justice issues.

“I learned a lot about details surrounding current social justice issues, like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Dream Act, that I didn’t know before,” says Storms.

The Teach-In conference partnered with the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN), a foundation that promotes leadership to encourage the mobilization of national networks of Jesuits to respond to issues of social justice by promoting “service of faith and promotion of justice.”  The goal of ISN was key to developing a comprehensive program for attendees of the Teach-In conference.

The Loyola delegation was able to network with others around the country who are similarly passionate about issues of social justice during the Teach-In conference. Storms enjoyed the opportunity to find solidarity with other students from various Jesuit universities around the country.

“It’s a great opportunity to go to Washington DC to learn more about Jesuit values and social justice,” she says. “I would absolutely encourage other students to go to the Teach-In.”

Delegates from the University will be able to use the education and advocacy training they gained at the Teach-In conference at the upcoming Ignatian Family Advocacy Conference in February 2013.

For more information on the event, visit http://ignatiansolidarity.net/.

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