written by: Lauren O’Brien and Jennifer Ruckel, Loyola University Maryland ’14
On February 26, we were privileged to use our knowledge of comprehensive immigration reform to advocate with students from other Jesuit universities through the Ignatian Solidarity Network. Advocating was a new experience for many of us, and it was certainly rewarding to directly engage in the political process after studying an issue we are all incredibly passionate about. In the morning, presentations on the experiences of undocumented student added a new dimension to our understanding of immigration. Not only were we given the chance to be informed about a study by Fairfield University’s Center for Faith and Public Life examining the experiences of undocumented students at Jesuit universities, we also heard from Mary Small, a woman who works with Jesuit Refugee Services/USA.
It was an educational experience both through the presentations but also through the hands on experience advocating. Although it was frustrating at points to see the realities of politics, ultimately, the day was a reminder that our voices are powerful and that there are many ways we can use them to advocate and serve. Advocating for comprehensive immigration reform made strive to be women for others in a new way through the public expression of solidarity. In partnership with students from all over
the country, we re-energized our dedication to work for equality. It gave us both such joy to see a room full of people who were willing to work from the ground up and from the top down to enact a lasting change to the experience of immigrants in the U.S.
We left D.C. that day feeling both educated and challenged. We felt compelled to do something with the stories we had heard, continue using our voices in political processes, and remain informed on the issue as it progresses. Now that we have seen, we are responsible. It is our responsibility to remain actively engaged in politics surrounding not only this issue, but also many others that encompass the principles of Catholic social teaching. As Ghandi once said, “In a gentle way we can shake the world.”