United States of America: Facilitating justice, connecting for peace?

Inspired by St. Ignatius, lay people in the US are collaborating with Jesuits in gospel-based solidarity efforts to build a more just and peaceful world. They attempt, for example, to draw attention to the impact of US foreign policy on the poor and vulnerable. At the state and local level, Jesuit parishes and networks provide a range of important services from housing to refugee support, and have carried out several successful advocacy initiatives. Now a new collaborative endeavour has been developed under the auspices of the Jesuit Commission on Social and International Ministries (JCSIM) to connect people and institutions engaged in such efforts. The aim is to share information, strategies, and practices. This endeavour, named Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN), will facilitate and enhance existing social justice and advocacy efforts undertaken by educational institutions, related student associations, parishes and organizations in the US provinces. According to the ISN case statement, it will play a unique and relevant role as a facilitator and promoter of social justice activities. A sponsoring committee, established with the task of shaping the ISN, has now defined the top four activities of the ISN. These are: electronic networking; supporting the Ignatian Family Teach-In (an initiative that annually gathers students, Jesuits, faculty and lay colleagues to testify to injustice in Latin America); supporting grassroots-led social justice campaigns; and supporting the exchange of educational resources. At present, the ISN is actively forming a first board of directors, articulating by-laws and seeking a home office site. It is also engaged in initial fundraising efforts from Jesuit provinces and other interested donors so that some initial staff can be put in place by the fall of 2004 [HL40305] Contact person: Bill Masterson, Communications Director for the California Province,