Justice & Advocacy Blog Archive

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Food to End Hungers

Hannah
I have to admit, this past month of weekly fasting has been difficult for me. I’ve slipped up a couple times- forgetting what day it was, grabbing a meal with friends, or just going about my daily routine. I’ve become so used to what I have, that I don’t actually realize what I have. However, when I did stick to my fasting commitment, I was keenly aware of what I didn’t have. I recognized the deficit of food as it kept popping up in the back of my head. In short, I was hungry.

Our immigrant brothers and sisters know hunger, although it is not only a hunger for physical food. Hunger can take many forms. A hunger for safety, a secure job, and a living wage that insures one’s own family doesn’t have to suffer more hunger. Hunger can be a deep yearning for community, love, and acceptance from others. Many have a hunger for justice, or maybe simply the humble hunger for peace. The often quoted biblical passage, “For I was hungry and you gave me food,” takes on a new meaning. We can give and receive the food of justice and peace; food for the body, mind, and soul.

Through the past few weeks, I’ve begun to look at my own small hunger as a metaphor; a symbol for the broader, more critical and intense hungers that our neighbors are facing. Of course, the differences are obvious. My voluntary act of fasting is in sharp contrast to the fact that the hungers of immigrants are involuntary. Fear and hardships thrust these yearnings upon them. My brief moments of hunger don’t even scratch the surface of the immense longings others are experiencing. But I was still hungry, and even though that doesn’t make me fully understand, it makes me think. It gives me a base from which I can grow in solidarity with immigrant men and women.

We all have the ability within ourselves to help end hungers. There is more love and compassion inside each of us than we know. We can give it from one open heart to another. With it, we can feed the world. And, much like the biblical story of the multiplied loaves and fish, we will always find that at the end of the day, we are left with more than what we started with.


Hannah Mullally
Class of 2015
College of Arts and Sciences
Ignatian Advocacy Team Leader

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.

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Making Connections to Promote Justice

Kelly Sullivan
One of the reasons I love Creighton so much is because of its Jesuit focus of “the service of faith and the promotion of justice,” coming from the 32nd General Congregation of the Society of Jesus in 1975. Through my classes and outside activities with the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), Campus Ministry, Cortina, and the Catholic Student Organization, I have had the opportunity to grow in my faith and discover how to live it out in my life. As I do service in the community, I am able to share this faith with the world.

The promotion of justice is a little harder to grasp, however, and can be a little scary. Am I called to speak out against injustice? Risk persecution in order to stand up for the poor and oppressed? My experience at Creighton has taught me that there are easy steps to take if you’re just beginning on this journey of justice and advocacy.

One thing I have found especially invaluable is building connections with other community organizers and groups fighting for justice in the area. The CCSJ already has strong relationships with many of these groups, and this past week I was able to attend two community meetings with the Omaha Together One Community (OTOC), Immigration Action Team, and the Nebraska Immigration Advocacy Alliance (NIAA).

Sometimes it is important to do your own actions on a college campus to engage students. Other times it is equally as valuable to grab ahold of what other people are planning and support their efforts, which may have a bigger impact than a student group can organize. It is also encouraging to know that there are other passionate people out there fighting for change as well.

Through these connections, both community and student group efforts are strengthened. The Migration Advocacy Group through the CCSJ has postcards asking U.S. Congressman, Representative Lee Terry, to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We want many postcards signed as possible before his visit to our campus later this month, and community groups are also helping this effort. To further this endeavor, OTOC will host a “faster” from the Fast4Families movement on February 17th. By participating in this, students have the opportunity to connect to a national movement for immigration reform.

For me, the possibility of change seems much more real when I am able to follow in the footsteps of advocates who have been working for years. They remind me that things don’t happen overnight, but the oppressed won’t stop marching on, so neither will we stop our fight for justice.


Kelly Sullivan
Class of 2014
College of Arts and Sciences
CCSJ Student Coordinator

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.

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Solidarity in Morton

augustaSolidarity. Of course that’s something we all strive for when we go on these trips, but it always turns out to be more difficult than simply stepping in another’s shoes. We go on these trips to serve, and with that mentality, it can be difficult to live in solidarity with the community.

In Morton, the community instantly welcomed us. It was so heartwarming that the least we could do was join the community and live in solidarity with them. We worked with the nuns of the Excel Learning Center after school, but during the day we went to the schools and worked with the students. Every day we ate lunch in the cafeteria and joked around with the kids. We worked on in-class assignments with them. And we went to gym class or to the library. The teachers saw us as their helpers, which is what we were doing, but the students saw us as older kids who wanted to be at school and wanted to work with them. In an education system that still utilizes corporal punishment, instills a culture of seniority and hierarchy, and values “smartness” over “dumbness”, we were what the kids needed. We became a part of the classroom by the end of the week – a friend that these kids could turn to.

On Wednesday evening we cooked dinner, a vegetarian dinner, for our vegetarian guest. Morton is home to a chicken plant and chicken is therefore an important food group in the typical Morton citizen’s diet. We were gifted with chicken nearly every night by the nuns, but we made an exception on this night. Our guest was Miss Constance Slaughter, the first African American woman to graduate from Ole Miss’s law school, and she happened to be a vegetarian. She was in solidarity with us – she ate off of our plates, with our silverware. She politely accepted our simple meal of spaghetti and marinara and brownies for dessert. She made the effort to truly be with us, and we reciprocated – enveloping ourselves in her experiences. She told us exactly what we needed to hear: that being older college women in the schools here, we would inspire students to enjoy school.

So our hopes of being in solidarity with these kids and making a difference in their lives were reaffirmed by Miss Constance, and that made all of the difference.

When it came time to say goodbye to these kids, there were tears on both ends. We can’t be a part of these children’s lives every day, but for a week, we entered their lives and lived in solidarity with them. We took home a piece of Morton in our hearts, and hopefully they gained a sense of self-worth. Because that is what these kids needed and what we strived to provide them.

Agusta Hermann
Class of 2015
College of Arts and Sciences
Service and Justice Trips Participant

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.

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Being Simple isn’t Simple

Bridget Su CasaSimplicity was emphasized on my trip because of the simplistic practices we engaged in while we were at the Su Casa Catholic Worker House. The food supply for the house is provided solely by donations from community organizations that have food that they cannot sell. So during the week – along with living on less shower time, less connection to electronics, less make-up, fewer clothes – the group also ate food that was either out-of-date or damaged. I was struck by the way people can and do live on simple diets and how that is a way of simple living in which I could easily engage, in addition to the others. Even if I don’t eat damaged or out-of-date foods, downsizing my menu options to become a simpler, more ethical eater is something I can do.

I internalized simplicity on my trip by recognizing that the simple is not so simple. Our group confronted issues regarding hunger, violence, and immigration. When you initially meet someone with these struggles, you see a person who is hungry, who has lost a loved one to guns, who cannot gain legal status. But each person has policies, an event, a story that creates the situation he or she is in. Simplicity in the form of a simple existence – little money, few resources, little food, few electronic devices, no personal transportation – can really be a vision of a very complicated existence. And I think that is worth noting and taking into account whether you become a lawyer, a doctor, a business person, a teacher, an artist, or a politician. No person has total control of circumstances. No person is unaffected by the plight around them, even if they do not acknowledge it. Simplicity can be the facade under which complexity thrives.


Bridget Battafarano
Class of 2015
College of Arts and Sciences
Service and Justice Trips Participant

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.

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My NOLA Days

NOLA
Over fall break, I went on a Service and Justice Trip to the Duchesne House in New Orleans, Louisiana. Our service was working for the St. Bernard Project, rebuilding homes that have not yet been repaired after Hurricane Katrina. The thing that I enjoyed most about volunteering for St. Bernhard Project was that we were able to see the three different houses at different stages of repair. In the last two days of service, the house we were working on had just started being rebuilt. The first two days, we were all putting the finishing touches on a house. On our last day of service, we were invited to a homecoming celebration for a family whose house was now complete. Seeing three different homes in three different stages of repair made me realize that the St. Bernard Project is with the victims of Hurricane Katrina through every step of the rebuilding process.

The members at the Duchesne House made my experience in New Orleans extraordinary by welcoming us into their community, as well as educating us about the affects Hurricane Katrina had on the city and people of New Orleans. The sisters at the Duchesne House immediately invited us to join in all of their activities, such as daily prayer, meals, and after-dinner games of Catch Phrase. Their welcoming environment quickly made me feel at home in New Orleans. Also, the Duchesne House gave us many opportunities to learn about the city of New Orleans. On the first day in New Orleans, one of the volunteers living at the Duchesne House, Julie, took us on a tour to see the levees and some of the various rebuilding projects around New Orleans. This tour made me extremely excited to being working for the St. Bernard Project. During the evenings, Sister Ann scheduled different events for us to attend so we could see other aspects of New Orleans culture. These activities included a tour of the Saint Louis Cathedral, a visit to the Washitaw Indian tribe chief, a drum lesson at Congo Square, and a tour of a lighthouse that was recently restored after the affects of Katrina. All these activities showed me the rich culture of New Orleans and made me appreciate each different aspect of the culture.

Just as in my previous service trip, I became very close to the other members of my service trip. Over the week, we bonded during the long car rides, daily reflections, and various tasks at our service sites. Every day, I was proud of the work we accomplished and how well we worked together, both in pairs and as a group. Through the endless studs to paint and numerous fiberglass splinters, every member of our group worked diligently to complete each task we were given. Whether we were working on a project together or talking over dinner, I loved getting to know every member of our group. I am so happy that I was able to become friends with each person on my trip and I will always remember them as a key part of the wonderful experience I had in New Orleans.

Michelle Baumann
Class of 2015
College of Arts and Sciences
Service and Justice Trips Participant

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.

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The Joy of Community in East St. Louis

Kpitz-EStLouis
“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” –Dorothy Day

Community. Throughout the week on my fall break service trip to East St. Louis, the concept of community itched at my mind. There were times when I felt alive in community and times when I was heartbroken at the struggle and despair of a community who has often been forgotten in a larger context of community.

One of the joys of community I experienced on my service trip was at Sr. Thea Bowman elementary school. We lived next to the school and volunteered there everyday. It only took a couple warm smiles and we were in. It felt special to be a part this school community, who supported their students through everything. A large majority of the students live in poverty so many difficulties arise from this, but the staff and teachers know the students and are there for them. Among many other things they don’t hesitate to give the children safe rides home from school when needed.

The supportive and loving community I experienced at Sr. Thea Bowman and other shelters and services was refreshing in context to the heartbreak of East St. Louis as a whole. There are relatively no job opportunities as businesses have moved out, and neighborhoods of abandoned houses and factories leave a landscape reminiscent of a community forgotten.

Holding both the joys and struggles of East St Louis close, I hope to not forget the community I experienced on this trip and challenge myself to find community where it is not always evident.


Kate Pitz
Class of 2014
College of Arts and Sciences
Service and Justice Trips Core Team

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.

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