FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2012
Contact: Christopher Kerr, Executive Director
O – 216-397-2088
“SR. SIMONE CAMPBELL, S.S.S. CALLS FOR NEW IMAGINATION ON IMMIGRATION REFORM AT IGNATIAN FAMILY TEACH-IN FOR JUSTICE”
WASHINGTON, DC – Sr. Simone Campbell, S.S.S., executive director of NETWORK Catholic Social Justice Lobby and one of the “Nuns on the Bus” addressed a crowd of 1,000, the majority high school and college students, at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ) on Friday, November 16, 2012. The IFTJ is a national conference for those passionate about social justice grounded in the Catholic Social Teaching and the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The 15th annual Teach-In took place in Washington, DC, from November 16-18, 2012. The program is sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network.
Utilizing personal stories and poetry Sr. Campbell offered the crowd a reflection the Teach-In’s theme, “Imagination Reform: Moving Beyond the Margins” and immigration policy reform. “I am so glad to be with you all to explore imagination and the challenges that we face as a nation,” said Campbell during her introduction, “The energy in this room is an active experience of hope.” She identified four specific elements of current U.S. immigration policy she finds problematic: the significant waiting time (18 to 20 years) for Visas to the United States for those who are seeking citizenship through their sibling relationship with a U.S. citizen; the “number” system for accepting immigrants into the U.S. and its inconsistency with the needs of today’s global economy; fees paid by immigrants applying to be citizens that do not cover the actual costs of the application process due to long waits to become citizens; and the lack of a meaningful temporary worker status for the millions who lack documentation but are vital to the U.S. economy.
Sr. Campbell invited the crowd to be part of immigration reform saying, “We need some new imagination about how we can make this happen. We need you to think in some of new ways. The only way forward is to touch the pain of the world which is real and bring an active experience of hope.”
Simone Campbell, an attorney and Sister of Social Service, is the Executive Director of NETWORK, a Catholic leader in the global movement for justice and peace that educates, organizes and lobbies for economic and social transformation. She formerly served as Executive Director of JERICHO, an interfaith public policy and advocacy organization in California. As an attorney, she represented low-income people for 18 years in California, where she founded a community-based law center. She also led her international community of women religious for five years, is fluent in Spanish, and is an accomplished poet.
When asked about Sr. Simone’s keynote address, Christopher Kerr, Ignatian Solidarity Network executive director said, “Sr. Simone’s passionate call for people to engage in our democratic process and demand humane immigration policy reform was a valuable contribution to this year’s Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. I am excited for the energy Sr. Simone’s words will bring to Ignatian Family Advocacy Month in February 2013.” Ignatian Family Advocacy Month is a national advocacy effort initiated by the Ignatian Solidarity Network on three priority issues: human immigration reform, domestic poverty, and sustainable environmental practices.
Other keynote speakers at the IFTJ included:
Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J., director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans;
Merlys Mosquera Chamat, regional director of Jesuit Refugee Services-Latin America and Caribbean;
Gabriel Bol Deng, founding director of Hope for Ariang, and former Lost Boy of Sudan;
The Teach-In also offered 50+ breakout sessions presented by national and international speakers including Most Rev. Bernard Unabali, Bishop of the Diocese of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. A list of all of the breakout sessions can be found here.
The Teach-In is an opportunity for members of the Ignatian family (those connected with Jesuit institutions and the larger church) to come together in the context of social justice to learn, network, reflect, and act for justice. Teach-In attendees represent twenty-eight Jesuit universities, over twenty-five Jesuit high schools, Jesuit parishes, Jesuit volunteer communities, and many other Catholic institutions and organizations. Started in 1997, in Columbus, Georgia, the IFTJ takes place in mid-November to commemorate the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador. The six Jesuit priests and two companions were murdered on November 16, 1989, in El Salvador for their work advocating on behalf of the economically poor in that country. The IFTJ moved from Georgia to Washington, DC, in 2010, to respond to the growing interest in integrating educational opportunities and legislative advocacy into the Teach-in experience. The Teach-In was sponsored by the University of San Francisco, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkley, America Magazine, Appalachian Institute at Wheeling Jesuit University, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and Loyola Press.
The Ignatian Solidarity Network promotes leadership and advocacy among students, alumni, and other emerging leaders from Jesuit schools, parishes, and ministries by educating its members on social justice issues; by mobilizing a national network to address those issues; and by encouraging a life-long commitment to the “service of faith and the promotion of justice.” ISN is an independent lay-led 501(c)(3) organization. More information can be found at: www.ignatiansolidarity.net