Jean, Mary and I had the privilege of attending the Ignatian Solidarity Network Teach-In in Georgetown this past weekend. The teach-in is a gathering of Jesuit schools from all over the country who get together to learn and lobby on pressing human rights issues. This year’s ISN teach-in focused on immigration reform, climate change, and closing the School of Americas. This annual fall event is not only a chance to widen our exposure to crucial justice issues, and tell others about NETWORK, but to see old friends.
It is nothing less than fascinating, witnessing those whom I knew as fellow classmates in college educating their own students on how to lead lives that do justice. In just a few short years I have seen my fellow classmates go from students to young teachers and advocates, educating young people who one day will continue their own work on behalf of people who are poor and marginalized.
I’ll be honest and admit that I became a little disheartened by the recent election results, but this past weekend I found a renewed strength at the ISN teach-in. Individuals and schools were propelled by their faith background to come to D.C and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Groups traveled hundreds, or even thousands, of miles to have their voice heard and see policy in action, and I have the privilege to work and live in D.C, witnessing the policy-making process every day.
I’m encouraged not only by these students’ enthusiasm and lobbying efforts, but by the fact that they brought the gift of their enthusiasm here to D.C, giving me a renewed sense of hope. Elections may not have gone my way, but this past weekend, there were thousands of young people in D.C who did not allow themselves to become discouraged by the election, standing strong for those marginalized in our society.
Here are some pictures of the activities.
1200 participants at the Georgetown Conference Center
NETWORK Associates Casey Schoeneberger and Mary Georgevich,
both graduates of Jesuit Colleges, staff NETWORK's table
outside the main meeting room.
Former NETWORK Associates Sarah Carey and Meghan Tighe,
graduates of Jesuit colleges, now working for other non-profit organizations, participate in ISN too.
Role-playing in the "Engaging Impasse on Immigration " workshop
facilitated by Jean Sammon (NETWORK staff)
ISN Executive Director Ann Magovern
(who was also a Summer intern at NETWORK in 2001)
is interviewed by CNN outside the Capitol on Monday morning.
Former NETWORK Associate James Salt, now with Catholics United,
speaks to the students before they go to lobby on Monday.
A group from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia
visits NETWORK before going to lobby on Monday.
And then a group from St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City NJ
practices their lobby visit with NETWORK.
The U.S. Capitol on November 15, 2010,
the first day of the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress
and Ignatian Solidarity Network lobby day!