A group of students and faculty went with the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice to the Ecumenical Legislative Briefing Day on Feb. 8 to learn about current and upcoming Nebraska legislation, how legislation affects social justice issues and how to contact senators about the bills.
The legislative briefing day, which was held at Christ United Methodist Church in Lincoln, was created more than 40 years ago by Ruby Thelander, who led the program this year for the last time.
“Ruby Thelander is a great example of commitment to civic engagement at the federal, state and local area,” said Alyssa Beasley, a graduate assistant in the SCSJ. “She is a persistent advocate for a variety of issues, and I am grateful for her leadership on the Ecumenical Legislative Briefing Day for so many years.”
Beasley has attended the conference four years in a row and has been on the planning committee for the last two years. She also helps recruit students to attend.
A group of 20 people from Creighton went to this year’s briefing day. It was attended by individuals from all over Nebraska, including those who have a history of justice work.
Creighton students led the opening prayer service, and Carly Rademacher, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, gave a reflection.
The conference was open to people of all faiths.
Speakers who presented at the conference discussed topics relating to two of the Ignatian Advocacy Team’s priorities: environmental justice and migration justice. The advocacy team in the SCSJ teaches students about civic engagement.
“The conference encourages life-long civic engagement practices and ecumenical dialogue and collaboration to work for the common good,” Beasley said.
Attendees wrote advocacy letters to Nebraska State Senators based on what they learned throughout the legislative briefing day.
“It is very much inspired by a faith that does justice,” said Anni Dineen, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences.
She has attended the conference for the last three years.
“It’s one of my favorite events each year,” Dineen said. “It’s short and sweet, but you learn so much and are inspired to advocate for social change and ask why social injustices are happening.