By Nicole Yu '18
Washington DC – the nation’s capital, home to the White House, the Supreme Court, Congress, and many more historical landmarks. From November 1-6, a group of six Notre Dame students, including myself, plus three chaperones, had the privilege of visiting this amazing place.
We were there to attend the Ignatian Family Teach In for Justice conference to explore their theme for this year: Rowing Into the Deep. The event was from November 4-6 so we used the days leading up to the conference to sightsee and visit different famous landmarks and museums.
One of the first places we visited was the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This museum opened just last year and is filled with information and exhibits about historical events, renowned African American leaders, and all different aspects of African American culture.
We were also lucky enough to be able to go through a new tour experience implemented by the FBI: The FBI Experience. It was essentially a mini museum the FBI created detailing the different jobs within the FBI, the types of equipment used by agents, and famous cases the FBI has handled.
The conference featured different keynote speakers including Father Bryan Massingale and Sister Patty Chappell (a sister of Notre Dame de Namur), who both tackled the heavy topic of racism and how battling it requires a collective effort of people from all different backgrounds. The conference also held various breakout sessions, each about a different issue in our society today such as: immigration, death penalty and racism, and poverty. I personally attended the breakout sessions on immigration and how important it is to tell our stories and put a face to what seems like a faraway problem. It was extremely powerful being able to hear stories from people of various backgrounds all working on pushing positive immigration reform.
On Monday November 6, a group of seven Catholic and Jesuit schools from California went to lobby on Capitol Hill. Our two topics of concern were racism and the criminal justice system and immigration reform, specifically passing a clean DREAM act. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to lobby on Capitol Hill and also speak with a representative for US Senator Kamala Harris on immigration reform. It was an unforgettable experience to be a part of a progressive, passionate, diverse group of high school students who are committed to making and seeing change in the United States.