Rowing in the Deep
By William Molson, 4E
In early November 2017, a group of seven Loyola students was invited to travel to Washington for a social justice conference titled Rowing into the Deep. The participants consisted of many different Jesuit schools and parishes from across North America. The topics discussed included all kinds of different world issues, including racism, mass incarceration, immigration, and several other options.
Because the conference did not start until Saturday, on the first day of our trip we toured around Washington. We walked around the American History Museum, Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, and we even had the chance to discover the Washington Subway system! It was really amazing visiting all of these historical places and getting exposure to American history.
On Saturday, the Conference began. Over 2,000 students and teachers from high schools, universities and parishes from across North America gathered into a conference room at a Marriott Hotel. Several guest speakers stood up and spoke about issues important to them. In these group gatherings, guest speakers spoke about topics such as racism, immigration, feminism and much more. These speakers told inspirational stories and shared statistics with the goal to inspire the audience to stand up and make a change.
After these group gatherings and inspirational speeches, we then broke off into smaller group sessions and had the opportunity to choose the topic that interested us most. Over the course of these three days of sessions, the groups I attended included discussion topics like the death penalty, minimum wage, and racism. In these sessions, the speakers or leaders of the discussion usually had a personal story to tell or had a reason to be sharing why it is important that this issue be resolved. These were very inspirational and educational and made people realize how bad these problems really are. For example, in the minimum wage session, they gave us a real-life example of someone who was making minimum wage and had us live his life day by day. This made me realize how hard making minimum wage is and definitely inspired several people to try and make a change on this issue.
The conference ended with a Mass on Sunday, leaving several students more aware and more inspired than before this experience.