The 27th annual Ignatian Solidarity Network Teach-in for Justice (ISN) was held in Washington, D.C., from Nov. 4 to Nov. 6. This year, 18 Loyola students and 6 faculty members joined over 3,000 other students from Jesuit high schools and from all 28 Jesuit universities across the country.
Theology teacher Michael Shawver said, “It [the ISN Teach-in]was a conference focused on social justice topics. Specifically, we were looking at immigration, racism and mass incarceration as three key topics.”
Students departed Friday morning, Nov. 3, for Washington D.C. and arrived that evening. Students visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Newseum and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial before staying at the Marriott Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.
Junior Matthew Winnek said, “The entire experience of touring the capital and experiencing the amazing speakers for the social reform issues that we discussed was both enlightening and entertaining.”
Throughout the weekend, students and faculty went to workshops, networked with students from other Jesuit high schools across the country and attended speeches on immigration, racism and mass incarceration.
Sophomore Skyle Phillips said, “With many passionate and inspirational speakers, I’ve learned about the many stories of the injustices in our nation that should be addressed. It was awesome to be around people who wanted to fight for justice like we did.”
On Monday, students visited with members of Congress, including California Senator Kamala Harris, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Ted Lieu, Rep. Karen Bass and staff from Rep. Judy Chu’s office, to talk about some of the issues brought up at the conference, including immigration, racism and mass incarceration. That night, Rep. Adam Schiff’s communication’s director, Patrick Boland, a Loyola alumnus, took the group on a tour of Capitol Hill and its famous attractions, notably the Capitol Building itself.
Junior Angel Aliano said, “I found speaking to the representatives and sharing our personal stories about immigration reform, criminal justice reform and racism to be the most interesting. Being able to understand other people’s struggles and developing our own speaking skills while conversing with those in the capital was extremely valuable.”
During the final day of the trip, students and faculty met with Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and one of the leaders of group that organized the 1963 March on Washington with Martin Luther King. In the 1950s and 1960s, Lewis participated in the lunch counter sit-ins and was one of the freedom bus riders as a protest against the segregation laws at the time.
Sophomore Powell Smith said, “The ISN trip was a spiritual and eye-opening experience. It opens your eyes to the injustices that are currently happening in this country, and it taught us how to address these terrible things.”
Shawver said, “Going to this [trip]shows that we are part of the larger network of Jesuit schools throughout the United States, so as a Jesuit school in Los Angeles, it is important that we were well represented at this conference. For me, as a teacher, I am always encouraged by the great work the Jesuit schools are doing.”