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The Jesuit Antiracism Sodality East

Desolation

Like so many other college campuses, the institution I work for has a food pantry to assist students who are facing issues of food insecurity. The pantry has recently moved to the building I work out of and I have gotten to know some of the students who use it on a regular basis. It has been hard to notice that the large majority of students who need this resource are our BIPOC students. It’s a deep sense of frustration to recognize how the cycle of poverty found in many black and brown communities still impacts students working so hard for a college degree. This disparity is well known, but to see it play out in the small food pantry has created a sense of hopelessness at times wondering how we are challenging the status quo at our Jesuit institutions who want to walk with the excluded and journey with you towards a hope filled future but fail to address the systemic issue of race and poverty found at our schools.

Consolation

I’ve been praying a lot about my year of service with the Mercy Volunteer Corps after I finished undergrad. It’s a lot like JVC, but with the cool Sisters of Mercy. I was assigned to the New York City community and worked in the South Bronx at Mercy Center. I continue to be grateful for that year as a time of deep transformation and having my eyes, and heart, opened to the lived realities of so many people I had not had relationships with before, especially folks who were migrants and refugees. Like so many service organizations, Mercy Volunteers Corps has a shrinking number of volunteers and has to reduce the number of service sites offered. While difficult, I know God continues to help the volunteers and communities accompany each other well and help each other be deeply known and I am grateful for that gift.

This month’s reflection was provided by Jason Downer, SJ, a Jesuit Priest of the UEA Province and Campus Minister at Le Moyne College. If you would like to volunteer to provide an upcoming reflection, please contact Jason Downer, SJ: downerjg@lemoyne.edu.
 

The views and opinions expressed in this reflection do not necessarily reflect those of Jesuits USA East.

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