An open letter to our elected officials

By: The Xavier University IFTJ Delegation ~Open Letter~

This past weekend, the Xavier University Delegation had an incredible experience participating in the Ignation Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ), a conference attended by more than 1,500 students, staff and affiliates of Jesuit high schools, colleges and universities from across the continental United States. IFTJ focused on engaging individuals in dialogue on social justice issues on which individuals need to take action on.

During our trip, we had the opportunity to meet with members of Sen. Sherrod Brown’s staff in his Washington, D.C. office.

In our meeting with Brown’s team we discussed important issues like environmental protection, immigration reform, the death penalty and compassionate foreign policy in Latin America. The issues and policies that were recommended reflect the Jesuit values that IFTJ and the delegation embody and also represent necessary steps we feel the United States should take in order to make our civic society a more equitable one.

From here, we hope that Sherrod Brown follows the policy recommendations we discussed, but the delegation understands that the work does not end with one senator.

Our message also goes to Sen. Portman, Congressman Chabot and the host of local officials that have the power to effect real change.

Elected representatives, you have the opportunity to make the world a more safe and hospitable place. For our federal representatives, we hope you will continue to support the Obama Administration’s effort to support the Green Climate Fund. We implore federal lawmakers to address the lack of immigration reform in the current Congress and reject legislation that disrespects the dignity of individuals who make our communities strong.

For local politicians, we hope you use your authority to properly regulate and inform the public about how communities at home can support federal and international efforts through compassionate takes on social justice issues.

We need local regulators to challenge companies that improperly frack in Ohio. We need state officials that support a moratorium on the death penalty and use political rhetoric properly to include immigrants – documented and undocumented – in conversations that are essential to civic life in the Buckeye state.

Open Letter Pic
Photo courtesy of Devon James | The Xavier University Delegation pictured outside the U.S. Capitol during the 2015 IFTJ Social Justice Conference.

These recommendations are not easy but are possible to achieve if politics are put aside. You are our leaders.

You have the opportunity to set a course for Ohio and the world that can turn the tide on issues important to individuals that will be power players in the near future.

We will continue these conversations and move our communities toward embracing these stances. Know that you are our elected representatives and will be held accountable. We are a strong, mindful and crucial voting bloc in your constituency. Please keep our issues in mind when you serve us in Columbus, Washington and beyond.

Humbly yours,

The Xavier University IFTJ Delegation