WASHINGTON DC – Over 800 young leaders from Catholic Jesuit institutions across the country advocated on Capitol Hill on Monday, November 18, in conjunction with the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ). The IFTJ is a nationwide social justice conference sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, a national lay-led social justice organization that works primarily with Jesuit universities, high schools, parishes, and other ministries throughout the United States.
The advocates brought three key issues to their legislators: humane comprehensive immigration reform, an increase to the federal minimum wage, and continued access to food assistance for U.S. families in need. Participants gathered for a rally adjacent to Capitol Hill before collectively meeting with staff from nearly 100 members of Congress.
Teach-In and advocacy participants represent over sixty Catholic institutions in twenty-three states. Constituencies include students, faculty, alumni from the twenty-eight Jesuit universities and approximately twenty-five Jesuit high schools, Jesuit parish members, Jesuit Volunteer Corps communities and former volunteers.
“This year’s Teach-In and lobbying came at a significant time for faith-based advocacy in our country,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. “Not only were IFTJ participants be moved by powerful speeches and prayers, but their advocacy on Capitol Hill made a difference. Now is the time for humane comprehensive immigration reform, greater respect for minimum-wage workers, and action in support of our most vulnerable neighbors.”