Over the weekend, a group of five McQuaid Jesuit students traveled to D.C. to attend the annual Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice (IFTJ). First convened in 1997, the IFTJ was originally a response to the murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter in El Salvador in 1989. It began as a vigil and protest at the U.S. Army School or the Americas at Fort Benning, GA, where the soldiers who murdered the Jesuits received training. In 2010, the IFTJ moved to Washington D.C. and attendees began meeting with representatives on Capitol Hill to advocacte for various issues of social justice.
After seeing some sights and museums in downtown D.C., students got to hear from accomplished members of the Ignatian community including racial justice scholar Fr. Bryan Massingale, Executive Director of Pax Cristi USA, Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, and many others. On Monday they went to Capitol Hill and met with the offices of Rep. Louise Slaughter and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, congressional representatives for New York. Divine Williams C'18, Michael Pavone C'18, Bikash Koirala C'18, Paolo Blanchi C'18, and Josiah Redman C'18 spoke with legislative staff about making reforms to the criminal justice and immigration systems and shared personal stories that connected them to these issues.