Imagining a Path Forward at the Teach-In for Justice

Imagining a Path Forward at the Teach-In for Justice
Debbie Higgins

A delegation of nine students and two teachers represented De Smet Jesuit at the 2021 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington, DC, in early November. Lisa Knabe, Theology teacher and Social Justice Club Moderator, and William Manaker, S.J., English teacher and Liturgy Coordinator, explored our nation’s capital with Brendan Brunette ’22, Clayton Josef  ’22

Noah Rodgers ’22, Charlie Llorico ’22, Peter Hentges ’22, Ethan Knabe ’22, Henry Anyimadu ’23, Jordan Lewis-Hinton ’23, and Dylan Blake-Hinton ’25, many of whom were visiting DC for the first time.

The Teach-In is an annual event presented by the Ignatian Solidarity Network as part of its mission to work in partnership with Jesuit universities, high schools, parishes, plus many other Catholic institutions and social justice partners, to provide social justice education in the context of Catholic Social Teaching. 

Their ultimate goal? To inform and inspire youth to put their faith in action to build a more just world.

Carrying the theme, “Imagining a Path Forward: Reflection, Reckoning, Kinship,” the 2021 Teach-In offered participants opportunities to engage in discussion about more than 30 topics, including immigration, domestic poverty, racial justice, environmental issues, pro-life issues, and more. Keynotes, breakout sessions, Mass, and a Social Justice Expo offered multiple opportunities for delegates to learn from and engage with their peers. Spartans took active roles, with Noah Rodgers ’22 singing the choir, and Henry Anyimadu ’23 reading petitions during Mass.

“My favorite parts of the trip were the breakout sessions,” said Charlie Llorico ’22. “People who hosted these sessions had an intimate connection to the issue they talked about, and hearing their perspectives was enlightening.”

“It’s so inspiring and hopeful to see so many young people from all over the country who are passionate about advocating for just policies regarding the environment and immigration,” said Ms. Knabe. “Many of the young people who spoke at the teach-in spoke from personal experience, making it even more meaningful. It was also fun seeing other St. Louis schools sending delegations. We even ran into a couple of De Smet alumni!”

The Teach-In concluded with Advocacy Day, offering participants the opportunity to advocate for immigration and environmental reform on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

Bonus experiences for the Spartan delegates included a prayer vigil at the White House to end Title 42, and dinner at the home of Mr. Manaker’s parents.

“My favorite part of the Teach-In was talking to other students from Jesuit schools around the country, learning about the social issues they've encountered in their communities, and how they worked towards change,” said Henry Anyimadu. “An event like this is important for young people because it introduces you to issues from across the country, and it puts issues in the news into a real, physical perspective.”




Boys standing in a row clapping.

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