Teach-In on Migration, Student Reflection

teach-in-loyola

The Catholic Teach-In on Child Migrant Crisis for Young Catholics, held at Loyola University in New Orleans, was an opportunity for local Catholic high school students and Loyola University students to learn more about the Church’s teachings on migration and the migration experience of local young immigrant high school students, including why they and their families fled Central America, their migration journey, and the challenges they are facing in the U.S. Fourteen St. Mary’s Dominican High School students were in attendance. Dominican junior Laura Youngblood was in attendance and shares this reflection.

The Catholic Teach-In on Migration for Catholic Youths

By Laura Youngblood, Class of 2016

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Migration is a major social issue of this era. There are many viewpoints on this issue. People often become defensive, wanting to prevent immigration into the United States. No one knows what it is like to be an immigrant, except for those who have actually immigrated which is why the Catholic Teach-In on Migration for Catholic Youths was such an eye-opening experience for me.

The opportunity to talk to immigrant teenagers is one I will never forget. I had always seen migration as a distant news story, not about someone who could be my friend. All of my preconceptions about immigration were shattered during the Teach-In. I had walked in with a closed-mind and no expectations. I left with a deeply inspired passion to help those in pain caused by our country’s broken immigration system.

A myriad of families and unaccompanied children flood into our country because they are seeking refuge or a better life. The Jesuit Social Research Institute and Loyola University New Orleans made it their mission to teach all of us the astonishing reality of the border crisis. I am grateful for the encouragement to take action in support of immigrant children and their families in our community because I now appreciate that the Catholic Church’s social teachings recognize the rights of all people to migrate and be protected.

The Church teaches that all people have human dignity. We sometimes fail to remember that Jesus Christ was an immigrant, seeking refuge in the land of Egypt. Discrimination and refusing to help does not exhibit the care that we should show our neighbor. This wonderful seminar showed my classmates and me that we should all be a friend to the lost and to not sit in silence while someone else is mistreated. We are called to action, and we are called to live out the social teachings of the Church.