“…2020 is really a call to step outside of ourselves and to step outside of the power that we all have and to think about how we can shift that over.” – Olga Segura, Author

This quotation among others has left me speechless for the last two weeks or so because as a student as a Jesuit school, I have been motivated to live out the Jesuit values to use my talents and passion to create an imprint on the world. I’ve always said this, but it took a pandemic to realize what those words meant, mostly because we are in trying times.

Being a woman for and with others and standing in solidarity with people who are still struggling. Using magis to explore more within my passions and talents. And using cura personalis to care for others fully, but to also give myself time to strengthen myself physically, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Let’s face it: how many of us feel more tired and drained than ever?

Two weeks ago, I virtually attended the 2020 Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice Conference with over 6,000 high school & college students, faculty, professors, priests, and alums of Jesuit-based schools and organizations. It’s undoubtedly my favorite time of the year! After three years of going to Washington D.C. (pre-COVID, of course) to attend the conference with people who are just as passionate about justice as I am, it makes me feel like I belong.

October 24th and 25th were the most unusual, yet refreshing two days of the semester (never realized how hard it would be to read an online textbook while watching a keynote speaker live on Swapcard. Even though I can’t physically feel the energy of people who love justice, I was able to search for those individuals on a virtual platform. Breakout sessions on topics like climate change, racial justice, immigration, and education were just too many to count as it is every year. Thankfully, I am able to access all of the breakout sessions until next June. I guess that’s one of the advantages of being online: everything’s recorded!

One of the sessions that really caught my attention pertained to data from the 2020 U.S. Census (https://www.census.gov/) and how it was essential in shaping our future and the community. Robin Bachman, the Chief of the National Partnership Program, led the presentation on Zoom with at least 30 attendees. I highly respect the U.S. Census and its ability to allocate resources and social services. Every facet of the community is affected by this one document we fill out every ten years from schools to housing.

I wish I could tell you about the rest of the conference, but you’ll just have to get a glimpse at the dynamic speakers and prolific speeches yourself on their website: https://ignatiansolidarity.net/iftj/ and their Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/ignatiansolidarity/.