WASHINGTON, DC – Following up on an inspiring weekend at the 17th annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, over 1,000 Teach-In attendees converged on Capitol Hill for a day of legislative advocacy on Monday, November 17. With the majority of advocates being students and faculty members from Jesuit and other Catholic partner universities and high schools, the record number of advocates collectively meet with over 100 U.S. Congressional offices, other U.S. government offices, and the Canadian Embassy. They urged lawmakers to pass humane comprehensive immigration reform, support human rights oriented policies in Central America, and respond to climate change and effects marginalizing the economically poor.
The IFTJ is a nationwide social justice conference sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, a national lay-led, faith-based, social justice organization that works to mobilize Jesuit universities, high schools, parishes, and ministries and the larger church throughout the United States in order to effect positive social change on critical issues facing the world. The 1,600+ Teach-In attendees represented over ninety Catholic institutions in twenty-five states, Canada, El Salvador, and Mexico. The IFTJ started in 1997 in conjunction with the School of the Americas Watch movement to close the former U.S. Army School of the Americas. In 2010, the IFTJ moved from Georgia to Washington, D.C., to more directly impact public policy with legislative advocacy.
“Over 1,000 young people inspired by their faith and the legacy of the Jesuit martyrs on Capitol Hill advocating is a tremendous sign for the future of our Church and society,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. Kerr continued, “Their voices are so important, as we work in solidarity with our brothers and sisters for a more just world.”
The focus on immigration, human rights in Central America, and environmental justice will continue into 2015, as ISN engages partner institutions and individuals in Ignatian Family Advocacy Month (IFAM). The month builds on the November advocacy day with local office visits to legislatures and issue education on campuses and at parishes.
The Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) is a national social justice network inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. ISN was founded in 2004 and is a lay-led organization working in partnership with Jesuit universities, high schools, and parishes, along with many other Catholic institutions and social justice partners. More information can be found at: www.ignatiansolidarity.net.