By Joe Byrne
We were recently graced with the visit of a contingent of seven folks from Loyola University Chicago, as part of their Alternative Break Immersion (ABI) experience.
The group participated in all the usual Jonah House activities, as well as a couple public witness demonstrations that occurred during their visit. On the first day, a Sunday, they participated in the Sunday liturgy with other members of the liturgy circle. Their orientation happened Sunday evening, and included a presentation by Joe on the Jonah House core value of nonviolence, the “ground” in which our four roots delve deep, and from which all the work of Jonah House grows.
The next day, while some were on house crew, cleaning the big house and preparing meals, others were working outside. Here is the “kindling crew,” namely Curtis, Kelsey, and Adimilola, who collected sticks from off the ground in the cemetery, broke them up into kindling sticks, and stored them in boxes.
In addition to our daily community tasks, Tucker, Emily, and Joe gave presentations on the Four Roots of Jonah House. Tucker presented on resistance (activism), Emily on community, Joe on resilience (stewardship). Here the students gaze out the glass doors during one of the presentations. They were otherwise very attentive!
On Wednesday, March 8, the whole community, including the Loyola student group, participated in a Women’s Strike march, to commemorate International Women’s Day. The march in Baltimore was one of many throughout the United States.
Here are Emily and Evie, along with our dear friend Lin Romano, chatting, while listening to speakers, waiting for the march to begin:
Here is Kelsey, with Tucker and Auggie right behind:
Here is Tucker and Auggie again, next to Sidney, with Emily and Matt in front:
One of the stopping points was the Women’s Prison in Baltimore. Some of the Loyola students were struck by the tragic irony of having a women’s prison across the street from a school. It’s quite possible that some of the mothers of the children who attend that school may be in that prison.
Here Adimilola, Sidney, and Emily do their best to support–with their fierce, gentle energy–the women in the prison:
Here is a shot of Tucker and Auggie in front of the woman’s prison:
On Thursday, the Loyola students were at Harriet Tubman House, helping with one of their new garden areas. Joe was in charge of the crew that put sheets over the raised beds (to keep the cats from pooping in them!):
Here is a shot of many of the raised beds covered. In the background are students helping dig holes for poles that are needed to create a grape arbor:
Eddie Conway (center), one of the founders of Tubman House, confers with Tucker and Azar, who is the chief “farmer” at Tubman House:
Here Curtis chats with one of the members of the Tubman House collective:
Here is the group at the end of our time at Tubman House:
You can see more about Tubman House at their Facebook page (Coalition of Friends). All the photos of the Loyola visit to Tubman House are courtesy of Tubman House.
On Friday, on their last full day, the Loyola group participated in two public witness demonstrations. The first was in Washington DC. It was a march on the White House by Sioux water protectors from Standing Rock, and their allies. The water protectors are nonviolently resisting the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), which is being built on their sacred lands and endangers their water supply.
Here Matt holds a sign that says “You Can’t Drink Oil”:
Here Tucker, in his Zen Buddhist priest robes, walks with Eric Martin, editor of a new book collection of the letters of Dan and Phil Berrigan:
Emily and the kids made the hour-long trip to Washington, DC, and part of the march, but Auggie and Evie reached their demonstration limit before the end of the march, and Emily took them back to Baltimore.
Here Ardeth and Carol march with Kathy Boylan of Dorothy Day Catholic Worker (sorry Carol for posting this pic):
We reach the White House:
This is one of the many sign/banners that caught my eye:
The students, who met up with another Loyola Chicago ABI group staying at Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, stayed for the rally that followed. But Tucker and Joe headed back to Baltimore.
Later in the day, some of the Loyola students participated in their second public witness of the day. This was our regular public sit at City Hall Park in Baltimore. Here are the sitters with a special DAPL-themed poster:
These pics show only part of the experience of the Loyola Chicago ABI, and don’t capture all the gifts the students brought to Jonah House (for instance, there are no pictures of “Fishbowl,” the game the group played five nights in a row during their stay). We miss them terribly and hope some or all of them will visit again soon (or perhaps stay for a couple months as interns).