A new Lasallian higher education group is focused on the work of change through advocacy and social justice in the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN).
Lasallian Colleges and Universities in Association for Justice (LCUAJ) was formed in January 2019 as a grassroots effort by about 25 Lasallians who were planning to attend the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s annual Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ) in Washington, D.C., as a Lasallian delegation. LCUAJ now has more than 40 participants, including students, staff and faculty from Manhattan College. Six Lasallian Volunteers, who are all graduates of Lasallian colleges or universities, are also part of LCUAJ.
LCUAJ’s mission states that it is “an international coming together of the Lasallian family to encounter the pains and dreams of our time, to discern our individual and collective responses, and to commit to shared action for justice.” LCUAJ is oriented by the inspiring words of Brother Superior General Robert Schieler, FSC, who said, “We Lasallians must continue to accompany one another, especially those pushed to the margins, in one common quest for justice.”
Since the 2019 Teach-in for Justice, a leadership team of students, faculty, staff and administrators has met regularly to plan a multi-part virtual experience for the 2020-21 academic year. That included virtual Lasallian gatherings on the weekends before and after the virtual Teach-in for Justice in October 2020 as a way to prepare for and debrief after the event.
“The LCUAJ meetings were opportunities for me to not only reconnect with other Lasallians but to continue witnessing our effort toward justice and liberation for all as a collective group,” explained Lasallian Volunteer Kaiyun Chen ’19. “I appreciate every one of these moments that planted that seed of hope in me.”
LCUAJ’s Lasallian Teach-In is now well underway. Virtual gatherings are scheduled for January 18, which will provide time to prepare for a collective action around a social justice concern, and a spring 2021 initiative around the Young Lasallians’ Spring into Action campaign.
In addition to this programming, the association is providing leadership opportunities for young people engaged in justice work across the region. Two undergraduates served on the planning team and others will be invited to join as the group plans future activities.
LCUAJ is supported, in part, by a Lasallian Education Council initiative to grow RELAN’s capacity for and commitment to Lasallian advocacy. The effort has received financial, logistical and accompaniment support from Christian Brothers Conference and the District of Eastern North America’s Office for Mission and Ministry.