The Ignatian Solidarity Family Teach-in for Justice Conference, coordinated by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, was held the weekend of October 28 in Washington DC. This year’s theme was “Boundless and Beloved.” The event focused on coming together as a people of faith around important social issues. Six ND seniors, Talon Arbizu, Molly Cleary, Sunsurray Joseph, Clayton Kulessa, Joanna Lawrence, and Ingrid Lazo along with faculty members, Mr. Greeley and Mrs. Corgan attended.
Speakers, presenters, homilists, and musicians alike reminded participants of everyone’s "belovedness" which is rooted in God’s boundless creative energy. Guests reflected upon various ways for “caminando juntos,” or walking together, to support one another, the environment, and those who struggle. ND students are familiar with the need for community service. The conference brought justice to the forefront of service and provided new insights and perspectives affecting all people on greater levels.
“I didn’t know how hard it was for immigrants to go through the process of becoming citizens,” one student confessed. Another student was surprised to know how much textiles are purchased, discarded, and piled in landfills “bigger than the city next to it.” A clever interactive activity demonstrated that all plants have a purpose. One of the most pertinent sessions on pop culture dove into finding greater appreciation for well-known quotes, songs, and movies that stir something more deeply inside.
The Notre Dame contingent participated in many ways at the conference. Clayton, Talon and Mr. Greeley jumped into the choir for Mass while Molly served as a Eucharistic Minister. The trip included a fun T-shirt swap and our students met new friends from schools across the country.
The group concluded the three-day adventure by visiting the Capitol Building, where they spoke with New Jersey State Congressional Assistants about equity in education and one student’s neighborhood’s rally around the pros and cons of in-town warehouses.
Representatives discussed plans for a triangulated technological effort between the military base and two Central Jersey universities. Students heard first-hand about the real ways these young assistant representatives work for local people.
There was a lot of food for thought and the participants will be looking for ways to share what they learned back here at Notre Dame. We look forward to attending next year.