Students Seek Solidarity, Common Ground at Ignatian Teach-in

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Ignatian Family Teach-In Logo

Again this November, students from Rockhurst University joined their peers and colleagues from Jesuit institutions across the United States and the globe for two days of solidarity during the annual Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice.

Originally motivated by violence in El Salvador throughout the 1980s and staged at the School of the Americas in Georgia, the Teach-in has since moved to Washington, D.C. More than a thousand students, clergy and lay people gather each year to hear speakers, talk to each other, and meet with elected officials about issues close to their hearts.

A group of more than 20 students, staff and faculty made up the delegation from Rockhurst University for the 2016 conference, joining more than 1,600 other attendees. Junior Lis Schumacher, who had already attended one teach-in, said she was perhaps most excited this year to hear from one of her inspirations, the Rev. Greg Boyle, S.J., founder and executive director of Los Angeles’ Homeboy Industries.

“Fr. Boyle said in the first hour, ‘only the soul that ventilates the world with tenderness has the power to change it. You are here to stand against forgetting that we belong to each other,’” she said.

Also, during a pivotal time of change in the country’s history — immediately the month's presidential election — Schumacher said the experience was a chance for attendees to reflect and empower one another.

In addition to listening to nationally and internationally renowned speakers, a number of students also took the opportunity to try to make their case directly by sitting down with elected representatives for discussions on issues like immigration, criminal justice reform, and child poverty. They didn’t always agree on solutions, Schumacher said, but meeting and having the conversations gave her hope for finding common ground.