(Photo by Emily Marshall)
By: Catie Chesire, Staff Reporter
Every year, University Ministry takes students to the annual Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice (IFTJ), which is a conference designed specifically for Jesuit high schools and universities. This year, the Teach-in took place Nov. 4-6 in Washington D.C. I have been lucky to attend both of my two years at Regis and had amazing experiences each time.
The trip was a little different than in the past because, aside from chaperone Brian Vander Heiden, Regis’ delegation was 12 female students and second chaperone Sharon Bramante, a new addition to the University Ministry team. Accordingly, we named ourselves the “12 Angry Women” and took to D.C. to bond, to learn, and to do our part as citizens.
A huge component of the conference that was my favorite day both years is advocacy day. On Monday Nov. 6th, everyone from the conference goes to the Capitol, makes meetings with our elected officials, and talks to them about policies we want to see change within the nation. The other two days of the conference aim to give students
This year, IFTJ had two policy focuses: immigration and criminal justice. In terms of immigration, attendees at the conference were briefed on the DREAM Act, including an emotional testimony from a high-school Dreamer. When we spoke to our elected officials, a huge push was for the DREAM Act to be passed without any stipulations of increased border security. On the subject of criminal justice, we encouraged our elected officials to participate in and support any bipartisan sentencing reform.
The underlying thread of the conference was always tied back to the Jesuit values we uphold as an institution, making it even more impactful. For example, the theme of the conference was Rowing into the Deep: Magis Meets Justice. We were encouraged to strive for the more, and not give up in the face of difficulties no matter how enormous they may seem.
Fittingly, the conference, as it did last year, gave me a sense of hope. Seeing over 2,000 students all committed to making a difference, being informed, and seeing justice done is a rare opportunity. In the words of Vander Heiden, “I’d do it every weekend if I could.”
If you want to hear more about the trip look for the “12 Angry Women” event Tuesday Nov. 14th during Justice Week.