Check out our pictures from our visit with Senator Mike Johanns about comprehensive immigration reform. This visit was part of the Ignatian Family Advocacy Month, in conjunction with the Ignatian Family Teach-In.
Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice Blog Archive
The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.~Norman Vincent Peale
It’s hard for me to believe that the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice trip is already only a few weeks away. I remember when our tiny core team of five was beginning to print posters advertising for the trip. I remember nervously scrambling to prepare myself for our information nights and sitting at a table out on the mall one afternoon, hoping to get people to sign up to go.
There were weeks that were much more stressful than others, weeks when it seemed like we would never get all the logistics figured out, weeks where I was only too aware of how soon our pre-trip retreat was coming up, a sign that departure day was near.
Despite the stress and the sometimes not knowing what I was doing or how I would get all my tasks done before the trip, the entire time I held onto the idea that I was a part of something so much bigger than myself. I couldn’t help but think of how great it would feel to come back from the IFTJ, look at my fellow core members, and think Wow, we pulled it off! What a success!
Before this semester, I’d never helped plan anything as big as our campus involvement in the IFTJ. My main job was planning and leading our pre-trip retreat. I had a vague idea of what I wanted the retreat to be like, but no clear way of how to lead it. And as the core team knows by now, I work better when I know exactly what I’m doing, down to the last detail.
Now that we’re almost done planning and the trip is drawing near, I can see that being a part of the core team was an invitation to be a part of something bigger than myself.
I learned first hand what it’s like to have a goal, or idea for something, start almost completely from scratch, and turn it into a reality. When it seemed hard to take a vague idea and make it a clear plan, I learned how to stumble through the details with my team and work together until we knew exactly what we were doing.
Perhaps the most important lesson though, was knowing that this trip was bigger than anything I could do on my own, that it would take all five us helping each other out and working through the details together to make it a success.
In a way, that realization was reassuring. The trip didn’t hinge on my brilliant ideas or blind stumbling alone. It was our collaboration, determination, and desire to take part in something beyond ourselves that made us a team and pulled this trip together. And it’s that teamwork that will see it through.
CCSJ Student Coordinator
Class of 2015
The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.
56 Creighton students attended the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington D.C. the weekend of November 12th, and 13th. The Creighton delegation joined other Jesuit schools to discuss and find ways to work together for social change. There were keynote speakers, break out sessions, and a beautiful mass. As a way to make the ideals of the conference a reality the Creighton delegation and many other delegations met with state representatives about different social issues. The weekend was a great time of learning, reflection and action. A way to bring the weekend back is through the different advocacy opportunities offered in the Creighton Center for Service and Justice. Take action with us and use your voice for change!
By Ben Stevinson
The Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice can best be described as a two day experience of love, happiness, solidarity, and advocacy. It is a time for prayer, reflection, and awareness. It is very easy to feel the solidarity with the incredible people who travel to this conference.
I attended the Teach-In last year as a senior at Regis Jesuit High School. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer intensity of the number of people who hold many of the same core values and beliefs that I do. I was surprised that there were so many people who believed in being men and women with and for others, working in solidarity with the underprivileged to foster a better world. I sat in the front row with my small delegation of around twelve. We were surrounded by a blue sea of Creighton students yelling and shouting ¡Presente! at the top of their lungs. I was shocked by how many people at Creighton had driven over 1,300 miles to get to D.C. I had been interested in Creighton before, but after the Teach-In I knew that all I wanted to do is attend Creighton.
As a Freshman at Creighton University, I greatly value this time at the Teach-In. It is a time for strong prayer and reflection. It is a time for waking up and facing the “gritty reality” of our world. It is a time for waking up to this reality, and realizing that it makes one uncomfortable. At the Teach-In, many injustices and harsh realities are exposed and explained. Attendees learn about some of the most dire issues in the world, and many learn about some issues they had never heard of. The Teach-In began as a direct protest to the School of the Americas, at Ft. Benning, in Georgia, but moved to Washington D.C. last year. While I never attended the Teach-In in Georgia, I feel as though the scope of the Teach-In has varied slightly to encompass many more issues, and, most importantly, allow for lobbying in Congress for the change of many controversial issues, including the SOA. Many people aren’t aware of the SOA’s existence. Many other injustices and topics are discussed at the Teach-In, both locally, and internationally. This year, along with the injustices in Latin American countries, there has been a great focus on the problems in Africa.
While we discuss and learn about many injustices, I believe that the best part of the Teach-In is learning about proactive and positive change. There are many people in our Ignatian Family who have found an issue and taken a strong stance against it. I find it absolutely incredible to listen to and hear people – some high school students, some college students, and some several years out of college – talking about a local issue that they’ve taken a stance on.
We listened to two high school students explain their struggle combatting Malaria in Ghana. They have been distributing mosquito nets, preemptively fixing the problem. It is refreshing and inspiring to me to listen to the concrete and wonderful changes that have happened in the world because of the Ignatian Family. It makes me think of ways I can change my own world, and work locally to combat problems around me. I am blessed to be a part of this family, and I am very humbled to attend the Teach-In a second time.
By: Hannah O’Keefe
Every experience that I have had thus far with Creighton’s CCSJ reinforces one basic idea: when it comes to service and justice, Creighton gets it.
This year will mark my third trip to the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Family Teach-In, and I could not be more excited, not only to be going, but to be going with a community as strong as Creighton’s.
I first attended the Teach-In when I was a junior in high school when it was still located in Fort Benning, GA, featuring a protest at the School of the Americas. I went with about eight other girls from Duchesne Academy, and we shared a bus with some boys from Creighton Prep high school, students from the College of St. Mary and parishioners from Sacred Heart Church. It was a great experience and got me hooked on the feeling of solidarity and community I felt within the greater Ignatian Family.
Last year, I attended IFTJ with St. Louis University, which is where I spent my freshman year of college. SLU sent a delegation of eight students to Washington D.C. We were excited and motivated, but lacked guidance and unity. Although I had a great time with my fellow SLU students, I couldn’t help but notice Creighton’s impressive presence at the event. They were there in full force, all 50+ of them filling in the front rows of the conference center. As a whole, the delegates from Creighton had a certain confidence and seemed truly inspired and ready to let the experience change them- ready to tackle the injustices surrounding them.
After making the decision to transfer to Creighton as a sophomore, I knew right away that I would want to participate in IFTJ. It is something that I have grown to love and look forward to, and I was really excited to be able to experience it as a part of the Creighton community.
A perfect example of how Creighton gets service is the retreat that the CCSJ put on for its IFTJ delegates. They understand that we will be able to get so much more out of the weekend if we take the time, prior to departure, to come together and prepare. At IFTJ, you are bombarded with information and faced with a constant call to action, so it is really helpful and important to ready yourself- both emotionally and physically- for what is to come. Additionally, each delegate has been divided up into small reflection groups, and at the retreat, we were able to meet with our groups for the first time to talk about our feelings and emotions going into the weekend. I can already tell that these small groups will be a great resource for us; they will serve as a support group to help us digest all the information that we are given.
Any time that you are working for justice, at the same time, you are working against injustice, which can be really challenging. It isn’t easy to face ugly issues like discrimination, prejudice, and inequality, but that is what the IFTJ is all about. It is about learning to face these issues head on; to charge at them, full speed ahead. The CCSJ understands the gravity of this challenge and is fully committed to encouraging you, providing you with the resources you need, and helping you at each step along the way.
At the Teach-In, Creighton as an institution serves as an exemplary model of a school whole-heartedly focused on living out the Jesuit mission, full of eager students committed to learn, connect, grow, and advocate for change.
It’s going to be great.