A delegation of 21 Georgetown students will attend the 16th annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, joining representatives from Jesuit high schools, universities, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and the Ignatian community in Crystal City, Va., this weekend.
The first teach-in was held in 1996 after the 1989 murders of six Jesuits in El Salvador because they were advocating for human rights issues.
Since the first Ignatian Family Teach-In, the event has sought to address a diverse array of world issues that relate to the Catholic faith.
“It’s a call to action … to implement [Catholic values] at our schools,” said Jordan Denari (SFS ’13), a student who has attended the teach-ins since she was in high school.
Denari will be giving a presentation about Catholic-Muslim relations at this weekend’s event.
“It will be about the way in which we, as Catholics, are called to have discourse with the Muslim faith,” she said. “It ties into the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, which was really the first time that relations with Islam were discussed.”
Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13) will also give a presentation on the Jesuit Just Employment Project, an initiative spearheaded by the Kalmanovitz Institute for Labor and the Working Poor that aims to enact policies that secure Jesuit standards of treatment — protecting workers’ rights and ensuring fair pay — for university employees.
Kohnert-Yount, who was not raised Catholic, will be attending the Ignatian Family Teach-In for the first time this year.
“If you had asked me my freshman year if I would be speaking at the Ignatian Family Teach-In, let’s just say, I would’ve been very surprised,” she said.
But Kohnert-Yount said her talk, which will use the example of the successful campaign to unionize O’Donovan Hall workers last spring, epitomizes Jesuit ideals.
“It really aligns with Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit identity and speaks to a lot of the values that our university, as well as other universities, hold dear,” she said.
Students who attended the event in the past said the teach-in made an impact on their lives.
“I had an amazing experience my freshman year in meeting so many different people,” Marya Pulaski (COL ’13) said. “It helped shape the rest of my years at Georgetown.”
Denari shared a similar sentiment.
“It’s great being able to spend time with those who are passionate about the same things,” she said. “Seeing their enthusiasm makes me want to re-commit myself to social justice issues.”