On Friday, November 5, Regis High School sent a delegation of students, faculty, staff, and alumni to Washington, DC. to participate in the 2021 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. Organized by the Ignatian Solidarity Network and grounded in the Jesuit faith and tradition, the three-day conference brought together high school and college students, church leaders, and educators from across the Jesuit network to reflect on pertinent social justice issues and discuss opportunities to create a more just world.
The first in-person gathering since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s conference brought together over 1,000 attendees from around the world to engage in important dialogues around faith, advocacy, and solidarity. Regis’ delegation, led by Campus Ministry and the Heritage Club, was the largest in attendance, composed of 23 sophomores, juniors, and seniors, 4 faculty and staff, and 5 alumni.
The theme of this year’s Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice was “Imagining a Path Forward: Reflection. Reckoning. Kinship.” Through a series of panel discussions and small group sessions, the conference challenged attendees to reflect on the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crises it exacerbated, reckon with the responsibility had as Catholics to promote change, and develop a deeper kinship with vulnerable populations so that all can flourish in God’s Kingdom.
“It felt amazing to return to IFTJ after last attending in-person in 2019,” said Director of Social Justice Initiatives Mr. Marselys Lucero. “Students were able to listen to a variety of speakers on different topics and issues, tapping into interests and passions. The hope is that students will become more engaged and involved in these issues as they continue their studies at Regis and transition into their collegiate and professional careers."
Several civic, educational, and religious leaders guided the weekend-long event, including author Fr. James Martin, SJ, Executive Director of U.S. Climate Action Network Keya Chatterjee, racial justice scholar Fr. Bryan Massingale, and Founder of Homeboy Industries Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ. Additionally, students Sebastian Huerta ’22 and Brian Mhando ’22 had the opportunity to speak at the conference, presenting on the importance of having intergenerational conversations around issues of race, identity, and equity.
“Being able to attend IFTJ after a year of remote school and a lack of school events was a great experience," said Huerta. “As a presenter and a participant, I was able to engage with key issues of social justice outside of school, with people from around the country. Even apart from that, the experience was fun, and I got to know people from the Regis community better."