Seven students and Prof. Katie Day participated in Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C., April 20-23. The students are part of Dr. Day’s seminar on Wealth and Poverty and included: Kate Aaronson, Carlton Jacobson, Stephen Boyhont, Scott Harvey, Harold Hofstad, Justin Marx and Courtney Smith. The class has been meeting on both campuses with one site being “ZOOMed” in each week, and Dr. Day alternating between the two sites. This was the first opportunity for students from Gettysburg and Philadelphia to meet each other in person!
Ecumenical Advocacy Days has brought together concerned Christians from many denominations and from all over the country for almost twenty years. Each year there is a theme, around which there are plenaries, panels and workshops to inform participants about a particular pressing social issue. This year the theme was “A World Uprooted: Responding to Migrants, Refugees, and Displaced People.” After an intense two and a half days of education over the weekend, on Monday participants headed to Capitol Hill to meet with their legislators. The ULS contingent visited the offices of Senators Toomey and Casey of PA, as well as Representatives Meehan and Smucker of PA, Lance of NJ and Handle and John Lewis of GA. Courtney Smith summed up her day on the Hill: “Today was powerful and inspiring. To combine my love of advocacy and social justice with my faith, to lobby on Capitol Hill for immigrants everywhere, was empowering. This is one of the many ways we are called to be public witnesses of our faith while fighting for the rights of all God’s people.”
A special treat for the ULS group was at a dinner at a local tapas restaurant on Saturday evening. We were joined by Rev. Sara Lilja, the Director of Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy Ministry of New Jersey. Sara is rejoining the ULS Board. The dinner was underwritten by a generous alum, Bruce Davidson, who served for many years as the head of the Lutheran Office of Advocacy in New Jersey. Both Bruce and Sara are role models and mentors for our students in their public witness.