BY ISN STAFF | August 26, 2020

On Wednesday, September 23, 2020 the Ignatian Solidarity Network will host the virtual Ignite: A Celebration of Justice, to be held online in light of the ongoing pandemic. The event not only honors the work of justice seekers and advocates but also acts as a yearly fundraiser for the Ignatian Solidarity Network. This year ISN aims to raise $15,000 to network, support, and lift up the voices and work of directly impacted young people as leaders in the movement for more just immigration policies.

The event will honor Rev. John Baumann, S.J., and Sr. Simone Campbell, S.S.S., for their leadership for social justice rooted in faith. 

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Both will receive The Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice Award honoring individuals who have demonstrated a significant commitment to leadership for social justice grounded in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The award’s namesake, the late Robert Holstein, was a former California Province Jesuit, labor lawyer, fierce advocate for social justice, and one of the founders of the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ)—the precursor to the Ignatian Solidarity Network.

Rev. John Baumann, S.J., is the founder of PICO (Pacific Institute for Community Organization), now known as Faith in Action, and current director of special projects.  PICO/Faith in Action serves a national network working in twenty-two states, and is developing organizations in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Rwanda, and Haiti. Faith in Action’s mission is to assist in the building of community organizations with the power to improve the quality of life of families and neighborhoods. During Fr. Baumann’s tenure as executive director from 1972-2009, Faith in Action’s National Network of Community Organizations achieved significant successes in such areas as crime and safety, housing rehabilitation, educational innovation and reform, health insurance for the working poor, employment, and public improvements. The work of more than 1,000 local congregation-based organizations in cities across the country has improved the quality of life of over one million families. Fr. Baumann attended Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose. Upon graduating he joined the Jesuits. He was ordained in 1969 and holds degrees from Gonzaga University and Santa Clara University and honorary degrees from Loyola Marymount University, the University of San Francisco, and Santa Clara University.

Sr. Simone Campbell, S.S.S., is the executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice—a federal advocacy organization founded by Catholic sisters to lobby in Washington, D.C. for policies that mend the gaps in income and wealth in the United States. She has led six cross-country “Nuns on the Bus” trips focused on tax justice, healthcare, economic justice, comprehensive immigration reform, voter turnout, bridging divides in politics and society, and mending the gaps. Sr. Campbell wrote the famous “Nuns’ Letter,” considered by many as critically important in convincing Congress to support the Affordable Care Act in 2010, and is the author of A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community, published by HarperCollins. She has received numerous awards, spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and has appeared on 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She is a religious leader, attorney, and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change.

Previous Holstein Award honorees include Rev. James Martin, S.J., and Sr. Norma Pimentel, M.J., Rev. Greg Boyle, S.J., Patricia McGuire, Rev. Michael Garanzini, S.J., Sr. Carol Keehan, D.C., Rev. James L. Connor, S.J., Sr. Helen Prejean, C.S.J., Rev. Donald MacMillan, S.J., Rev. Stephen Privett, S.J., and Rev. Charlie Currie, S.J.

Two additional awards will be presented at the event—the Legacy of the Martyrs Award and the Moira Erin O’Donnell Emerging Leaders for Justice Award

ISN will present the Legacy of the Martyrs Award at the event to PICO California. The award honors individuals or organizations who have made significant contributions to sustaining the witness and legacy of the Jesuit martyrs and their companions.

Established in 1994, PICO California supports grassroots organizing which enables people of faith to build power to reshape their lives and their communities. PICO’s network of organizations trains leaders and equips them with tools to fight racism and build a more equitable and just society.

Two young alumni of Jesuit universities, Elena Habersky (University of Scranton ‘13) and Will Rutt (Creighton University ‘12), will also be recognized at the event with the Moira Erin O’Donnell Emerging Leaders for Justice Award. Habersky holds the position of project manager for the Refugee Entitlements in Egypt Project at the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies at American University in Cairo. She previously worked with urban refugee communities in Amman, Jordan on a Fulbright ETA Fellowship at the Jesuit Refugee Service and Collateral Repair Project. Rutt is the Director of Ignatian Service and Advocacy at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, Arizona. He has helped oversee the DreamOn campaign at Brophy, which empowers students to leverage their Catholic identity and utilize the power of narrative while seeking justice for those who are undocumented in the United States.

The O’Donnell award is given in memory of Moira Erin O’Donnell who had served as ISN’s executive director for less than a year when she passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 33. The annual award honors individuals ages 23-33 who have received an undergraduate degree from a U.S. Jesuit university and have demonstrated significant social justice leadership in their communities.

Event sponsors include, at the MAGIS Circle level, Loretta Holstein; at the Loyola Circle level, the University of San Francisco, Robyn and Vince Caponi, Ann Magovern and Kate Carter, and Santa Clara University; at the Xavier Circle level, the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center, Jeannie Anderson-West and David West, Jesuits West, and Loyola University Chicago; and at the Arrupe Circle level, Michael R. Anderson, M.D., Bellarmine College Preparatory, Brophy College Preparatory, the Very Rev. John J. Cecero, S.J., The Church of St. Francis Xavier, the Very Rev. Robert Hussey, S.J., Jesuit High School, Annette Lomont, Peter Albert and Charlotte Mahoney, Bob and Jackie O’Donnell, Baxter and Lorie Rice, Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary—Ontario Province, and Xavier University.

Register for Ignite: A Celebration of Justice here, and mark your calendar to join us for the event on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 8PM ET live on Facebook!

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