After three months of work at the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, my time in this internship has come to an end. While I will miss this organization and everything I worked on, everything I’ve learned and seen since I started here have made me see issues I’m passionate about in a whole new light.
While I am a confirmed member of the Church, I felt best connected to my faith through community outreach and the ideals of liberation theology. Since working at the Columban Center, I’ve seen these ideals displayed in the causes of Columban missions, especially in my work regarding immigration reform.
My work on blog posts and letters required me to research the perspective of Catholic groups, which gave strong reasons for the right to migrate that I could utilize. With this being one of the top priorities Columbans are tackling today, I got to read a lot of inspiring work that they have done in rural and border communities – both foreign and domestic – to help promote migration justice.
While sitting in on meetings with the Justice for Immigrants Campaign of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, I felt a unified desire to take action and be vocal on this issue. This feeling came full circle when I did a letter drop at Congressional offices, giving 19 letters from 19 different organizations on their problems with the SAFE Act (H.R. 2278) to 30 congressional offices. While I was exhausted by the end, I had positive interactions with staffers, and saw interest and initiative taken by those who possibly disagreed with me on this issue. It brought about the strongest lessons gained from this internship: have faith and be direct with whatever you care about.