On Saturday, October 22, a delegation of Regis students, faculty, and staff traveled to Washington, DC to take part in the 2022 Ignatian Family Teach-In For Justice (IFTJ). Hosting over 2,000 participants from schools, churches, and other institutions across the Jesuit network, the three-day conference invited members of the greater Ignatian family to come together to engage with and actively challenge unjust structures facing our larger world.
This year's teach-in was guided by the theme “Rooted and Renewing," drawn from the conference's original commitment to inspiring a lived faith marked by the pursuit of justice. With the circumstances of our world changing and our resources to combat them developing, we as Catholics must intentionally renew our responsibilities, reflecting together on the work done so far and preparing ourselves to continue to promote change. As Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, “each new generation must take up the struggles and attainments of past generations while setting its sights even higher. This is the path. Goodness, together with love, justice, and solidarity, is not achieved once and for all; they have to be realized each day.”
Led by Director of Social Justice Initiatives Mr. Owen Smith, the Regis delegation was comprised of 17 students across grade levels and 3 faculty/staff members. Throughout the weekend, the group learned about pressing social justice issues from a variety of educational and civic leaders, including author Olga Segura, climate activist Bill McKibben, and Executive Director for Truth and Healing at Red Cloud Indian School Maka Black Elk. “Students and staff grappled with a wide range of topics within the Catholic faith through speeches, breakout sessions, prayer, and song," shared Mr. Smith. “Students were able to tap into issues of justice that are important to them and consider new perspectives and ideas. The Regians also loved interacting with students from other schools from across the country and growing in fellowship with their Regis peers."
Attendees followed these larger conversations by breaking out into small group sessions, which three Regians had the opportunity to organize. Jack Flanigan '23 led a discussion on the prevalence of mental health concerns in schools, and Julius Dorsey '23 and Jeremiah Alonso '23 presented on how to facilitate schoolwide conversations pertaining to identity, diversity, and race.
“Social justice is essential to the formation of every Regian, and I had the privilege of sharing those values with students attending Jesuit institutions from all over the country," said Dorsey. “My presentation gave me the opportunity to share my social justice work to a national audience, which inspires me to go further. I am grateful to have met many like-minded individuals who are willing to go above and beyond in their commitment to serving others."