Six Saint Ursula Academy students and two faculty members recently traveled to Washington DC to attend the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice.
This annual event connects Catholic faith and justice, addressing timely issues through two days of dynamic speakers, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities. Known as the largest annual Catholic social justice gathering in the U.S., the gathering attracts attendees from over 130 Jesuit and other Catholic universities, high schools, parishes, and organizations in the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico, Spain, and El Salvador.
As part of Saint Ursula Academy’s “Year of the Thinker,” students are encouraged to think of ways they can affect change in the world. Eleanore Bender ’22 of Monfort Heights, Avilia Hyland ’21 of Cincinnati, Anna Ehrsam ’20 of Mt. Lookout, Kaya Stone ’21 of Withamsville, Abigail Gold ’21 of Monfort Heights, and Charlotte Maliborski ’22 of East Walnut Hills traveled to Washington DC with SUA Counselor Laura Roman and Religion Teacher Joanne Elsbrock for this special event which would challenge them to think about, and take action, to promote initiatives which ensure justice for all people.
According to Abigail, the event helped her appreciate the importance of justice for everyone. "I now fully understand the concept, that no matter what religion, race, gender, or sexuality you are, it doesn't mean you don't deserve justice."
The 2019 theme, Radical Hope, Prophetic Action, is rooted in the legacy of Salvadoran martyrs--six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her teenage daughter who were murdered on November 16, 1989, for speaking out against the country’s tumultuous civil war. They “stood with those at the margins of society at the cost of their lives, taking prophetic action that expressed God’s love for all people and all creation.” In this anniversary year, this theme affirms that, as a people of Radical Hope, we trust in God’s promise of peace and justice—the vision of equality and dignity—and that, as a people of Prophetic Action, we read the signs of the times and join together to care for one another and our common home.
Alivia Hyland said she learned and experienced a lot of amazing things, but had one big takeaway. “Overall what I took away was that advocacy doesn’t have an age and that you can make change in even the smallest ways. I feel like I can now fight for the topics I can believe in and speak up for myself!”
Eleanore Bender is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Teach-In and knows it will help her speak out for justice. “I learned to think about what I can do personally to affect my fellow Americans nationally. I am so grateful for this experience, and I hope that the values and stories that I learned over the weekend will continue to help guide me to always do my best to help those treated unjustly.”