Fostering a culture of hospitality and defending the right to education of refugees and migrants is a current issue we all need to tackle and as such the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States have decided to launch the North American “Campaign for Hospitality”, led by the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) , Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Jesuit Schools Network, and Friends of Fe y Alegría.
The Campaign for Hospitality will reach out to U.S. and Canadian Jesuit universities, schools, parishes, social ministries, retreat centers, Jesuit communities, and other ministries. It will attempt to engage those in the Jesuit family who may not normally participate in social justice initiatives, such as alumni of Jesuit schools, parents of students, and parishioners.
The campaign will expose the harsh realities associated with human migration and will include three main elements: encounter, understanding, and action. Public awareness materials will be available to participants as well as education and advocacy resources and information for those interested in hosting migrants.
“Encounter will often come through tangible experiences directly or virtually with those who migrate,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of ISN. “Action will include advocacy, acts of hospitality, and public witness. Understanding has a double meaning — both providing resources for intellectual understanding of the issues and, perhaps more importantly, encouraging dialogue that leads people to a deeper understanding of the recognition of the realities migrants face — and the reasons that people feel challenged to be welcoming to them at times.”
But “images and words are not always sufficient when inviting people into transformation,” said Kerr.
“Our human nature often requires that we encounter the ‘wounds’ of injustice directly before we can truly come to understand them and respond to them.” For this reason, the campaign will include opportunities for getting to know migrants.
To do this, the campaign will partner with other Jesuit organizations, such as the Kino Border Initiative, which works with migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Local opportunities for interaction could include meeting with undocumented students at a Jesuit university, who could share their experiences with students, parents, and alumni in the area.
“I am encouraged to see this type of cooperation between Jesuit ministries and our Ignatian partners,” said Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. “Together we can do so much to welcome migrants and displaced peoples and learn from their experience.”
For more on the Campaign for Hospitality and to register as a participant, click here.