Delegates attend justice conference in D.C.

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By Nicholas Salinas

This morning, 28 members of the Loyola community departed to Washington, D.C., to attend the 18th annual Ignatian Solidarity Network Ignatian Family Teach-In For Justice (IFTJ) from Nov. 6 –12.

The IFTJ conference is an annual gathering for students and adults from Jesuit institutions to come together in the context of social justice and solidarity to learn, reflect, pray, network and advocate together, according to IFTJ website.

Community Service Director Mr. Tom Zeko said that this year marks the seventh year that delegates from Loyola High School have attended the conference. He said, “We [Loyola] participate in the ISN trip to show solidarity with our fellow Ignatian schools and to increase a sense of common values and shared vision.”  

The cohort of students and teachers departed this morning to Washington, D.C., and will stay at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, the same hotel where the conference will take place.

The trip will also feature excursions to national monuments and museums throughout the Washington and Arlington areas. The group will tour the West Wing of the White House, the Capitol, the Newseum, and the Smithsonian Museums. They will also visit the National World War II Memorial and the Vietnam War Monument.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MR. TOM ZEKO

PHOTO COURTESY OF MR. TOM ZEKO

The group visited the offices of Congressional Reps. Bass, Becerra, Chu, Lieu, Roybal-Allard, Schiff, Sherman and Waters. All of these Congressional officials represent districts from Southern California.  

The group will lobby for environmental comprehensive justice, criminal justice reformation, immigration reform, and central american policy reform, according to Mr. Zeko.

Junior Mike Fissinger said, “By having the unique opportunity of lobbying with representatives, I hope to influence the minds of representatives I don’t see eye-to-eye with, while encouraging representatives that I do agree with to take further action in solving certain issues.   

Senior Gustavo Valle said, “I hope to gain some insight as to why they these officials have taken a certain stance on  topics like immigration or the gas emissions problems. Many times we criticize these officials for doing something we do not agree with, but I am hoping to see their argument and how they think this could help us.”

Freshman Brandon Ortiz said, “As a Latino, I particularly had a big interest in the immigration issues. I felt like there should be more I could do to help and to learn about it, and I knew the ISN trip would help me do this.”

Students will return to Los Angeles on Wednesday evening. 

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