This article originally appeared on Creighton Today.
Forty-seven Creighton University students, faculty and staff travel to Washington, D.C., this weekend to participate in the 20th annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice.
Nov. 4 through 6, the Creighton delegation will join with nearly 2,000 individuals from around the country to address timely social justice issues in the context of Catholic faith tradition. This year’s focus is on racism and immigration. Creighton has been sending a group to the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice since the beginning. The first group to go in 1997 was a joint Creighton-St. John’s Parish group.
Known as the largest annual Catholic social justice gathering in the U.S., the Teach-In attracts young people ages 16 to 22, representing over 120 Jesuit and other Catholic universities, high schools, and parishes in the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico and El Salvador.
The 2017 theme, “Rowing Into the Deep: Magis Meets Justice,” calls attendees to explore a more deeply authentic, courageous, generous, and compassionate response to the changing realities of our world.
Initiated in 1997 in Columbus, Georgia, the Teach-In is held each year in November to coincide with the commemoration of the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador. The six Jesuit priests and their two companions were murdered Nov. 16, 1989, for speaking out against El Salvador’s tumultuous civil war. The Teach-In relocated from Georgia to Washington, D.C. in 2010 in response to the growing interest in legislative advocacy and accompanying educational opportunities.
The morning of Monday, Nov. 6, attendees will gather at Columbus Circle for a public witness, gathering with signs, banners, and voices to pray, listen to active advocates, and recommit to work for justice. The Teach-In then culminates with what is estimated to be the largest Catholic advocacy day of the year. Nearly 1,400 individuals will proceed to legislative advocacy meetings with members of Congress and their staffs on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to enact immigration and criminal justice reform.
Creighton students are scheduled to meet with members of the Nebraska and Iowa Congressional delegations, including Sen. Ben Sasse, Sen. Deb Fischer, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, and Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, and Rep. David Young of Iowa. Students will also meet with Rep. Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii. Students will be asking for Congressional support of DACA legislation and for steps towards addressing racial justice in the criminal justice system.
Keynote speakers include Rev. Bryan Massingale, racial justice scholar and theology faculty at Fordham University; Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, executive director of Pax Christi USA; and Maria Stephan, senior policy advisor for the U.S. Institute of Peace.
The Teach-In also offers more than 50 breakout sessions, presented by national and international speakers, including the Rev. James Martin, S.J., bestselling author and editor-at-large at America Magazine; and Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Joanna Williams, director of education and advocacy for Kino Border Initiative, and Maureen O’Connell, Ph.D., racial justice scholar, theology faculty at La Salle University, along with prominent student activists for immigration reform and racial justice.
The celebrant for the Teach-In liturgy on Sunday, Nov. 5 is the Rev. Mark Ravizza, S.J., a delegate from the California Province of the Society of Jesus’ General Congregation 36 and director of Jesuit Mission and Ministry at Casa Bayanihan at Ateneo de Manila in the Philippines.
“For 20 years, the Teach-In has invited the Jesuit network and broader Catholic Church to reflect on the realities of injustice facing our country and global community,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. “This year’s Teach-In theme invites us to ‘row deeper’ into the realities of racial injustice, inhumane migration policies, and other challenges of our times.”
Creighton’s delegation will be sent off with a prayer at Deglman Circle, Friday, Nov. 3, at 2:30 p.m. The Rev. Larry Gillick, SJ, will pray for those participating.