BY ISN STAFF | May 5, 2014
Ignatian Family Advocacy Month (IFAM), a national advocacy effort of the Ignatian Solidarity Network in partnership with the U.S. Jesuit Conference, inspired hundreds of advocates from Jesuit and partner universities, high schools, parishes, and ministries to engage in legislative advocacy on three priority issues: humane comprehensive immigration reform, the fair minimum wage act, and protecting the SNAP program. In total more than 171 legislative offices were reached over the course of February through in-person meetings, letter writing campaigns, and phone and email campaigns. Universities, high schools, and parishes also held educational events to inform the local communities around the 3 priority issues.
Participating institutions in IFAM included: Bellarmine Chapel, Canisius College, Cheverus High School, Creighton University, Jesuit Social Research Institute, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola Marymount University, Loyola University Maryland, Murray-Weigel Jesuit Community, Rockhurst University, Santa Clara University, St. Francis Xavier Church, St. Joseph’s University, and St. Procopius Parish. We also had strong participation from individuals nationwide.
Institutions and individual participants in IFAM were given a wide variety of options on how they could participate. This year’s program was structured about the idea of learning, praying, and acting for justice. Creighton University, for example, engaged in both Skype and in-person meetings with Rep. Terry Lee and the Deputy of State for Sen. Johannes on immigration and minimum wage. Loyola Marymount University tied IFAM into their frequent immersion trips to Tijuana and hosted a prayer service at Friendship Park in Tijuana, Mexico with an educational event at Casa del Migrante in Tijuana the evening prior. Cheverus High School hosted an informational movie night on immigration reform and engaged 71 students in an inequality demonstrations. Individuals and institutions nationwide engaged in ISN’s “10,000 Strong” humane immigration reform postcard campaign by encouraging their local communities to sign and send postcards to the Congresspersons; so far, over 5,000 postcards have been sent.
Reflecting on the continued success of IFAM, ISN Executive Director Christopher Kerr said, “Direct advocacy with our legislators is such an important action for social justice. To be able to say that we brought a voice for justice to so many legislators is tremendous testament to the power the Ignatian family has to be a force for change in our world today.”
The Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) 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 501c3 non-profit organization. Additional information can be found at: www.www.ignatiansolidarity.net