Below: Students from John Carroll University gather for the IFTJ advocacy rally on Capitol Hill.
November 18, 2013 — The Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ), which drew 1,200 students to Washington D.C., concluded Monday with a day for advocacy on Capitol Hill.
Individuals connected with Jesuit institutions around the country gathered for a rally on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol Monday morning before meeting with more than 100 members of Congress.
IFTJ attendees called for humane comprehensive immigration reform, an increase to the federal minimum wage and continued access to food assistance for U.S. families in need.
“This year’s Teach-In comes at a significant time for faith-based advocacy in our country,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. “Not only will IFTJ participants be moved by powerful presentations and prayer, but their advocacy on Capitol Hill is going to make a difference. Now is the time for humane comprehensive immigration reform, greater respect for minimum-wage workers, and action in support of our most vulnerable neighbors.”
The event marked the end of the nationwide social justice conference sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, running from Nov. 16-18, 2013. Teach-in attendees represented over 60 Catholic institutions in 23 states.
The Ignatian Solidarity Network is a national lay-led social justice organization that works primarily with Jesuit universities, high schools, parishes and other ministries throughout the United States.
Keynote speakers at the IFTJ included Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs with Justice; co-presenters Kyle Kramer, author of “A Time to Plant Life: Life Lessons in Work, Prayer and Dirt” and Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change; Jesuit Father James Martin, author of “A Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything” and editor-at-large at America Magazine; and Sr. Peggy O’Neill, director of Centro Arte Para La Paz in Suchitoto, El Salvador.
“The Holy Spirit was clearly with us on the Capitol Lawn today,” said Jesuit Father Thomas H. Smolich, president of the Jesuit Conference. “I am impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the attendees. The Teach-In was a tremendous success and I am grateful for all those who made it happen.” Fr. Smolich also celebrated the closing Teach-In Liturgy on Sunday, Nov. 17.