NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Approximately 150 Catholic college students from New York area schools gathered at Iona College on Friday, April 20, for "The Catholic Campus and Advocacy for Justice," an afternoon conference keynoted by
Father Bryan Massingale, theologian and ethicist at Fordham University. Joining Iona College in the co-sponsorship were the College of Mt. St. Vincent, Manhattan College, and St. John's University. A grant from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in collaboration with the Collegium, a Colloquium on Faith and the Intellectual Life, made this conference possible.
Fr. Massingale, one of the world's leading Catholic social ethicists and scholars of African American theological ethics, argued compellingly that efforts to acknowledge and dismantle systematic racism in American society should be understood as a priority, pro-life concern for Catholics in addressing the "signs of the times."
"The conference made me aware of the systematic disadvantages that were put in place that have effected, and still are affecting, many people today," said
Ashley Blake '21, an Iona student from Queens, N.Y. "I am grateful for the new insight that the conference has taught me."
"We were not only able to hear about how we can become better leaders but how we can incorporate cultural awareness and involvement within our mindset and communities," added
Kaitlin McGeown, a junior from the College of Mt. St. Vincent.
Following Fr. Massingale's keynote address, 10 workshops were offered with topics ranging from advocacy for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to human trafficking to spirituality and student organizing." Presenters included Meg Olson and Claudia Brock, grassroots mobilization team members of the network of the national Catholic social justice lobby in Washington, D.C. Religious Studies Professors
Kevin Ahern, Ph.D., and Andrew Skotnicki, Ph.D., offered workshops as well as eco-justice advocates Sr. Carol De Angelo and
Br. Kevin Cawley who lead their respective religious community efforts at the United Nations.
"We are deeply grateful for the prophetic witness of Fr. Massingale and the support of ACCU and Collegium who endorsed this idea to gather college students to learn together about advocating for justice," said conference organizer
Carl Procario-Foley, Ph.D., the director of Iona's Office of Mission and Ministry.
Founded in 1940, Iona College is a four-year private, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers and American Catholic higher education. Iona’s 45-acre campus is just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 45,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona’s School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. Recent significant College announcements include the appointment of a new dean of the business school, plans for a new, state-of-the-art school of business facility and the establishment of the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.