Newman Center talk to cover social justice advocacy


By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

IOWA CITY — To help students and community members better understand how to advocate for social justice issues, Newman Catholic Student Center on the University of Iowa campus will host a talk by Tom Chapman, executive director of Iowa Catholic Conference.


Chapman will help listeners learn to practice the Works of Mercy and address the root causes of problems facing their communities. The talk will take place March 3 at 7 p.m. in person and will be livestreamed on the Iowa Catholic YouTube channel.

University of Iowa junior Kyla Knutson, service and social justice fellow, said the decision to invite Chapman to campus stemmed from her desire to increase awareness of the social justice component of her fellowship. “I coordinate a lot of service opportunities for the Newman Center community, but the social justice component of my role gets neglected. I wanted to provide students with more opportunities to advocate for issues important to our church.”

In-person and online participants will hear what the church teaches about approaching social justice issues and learn how to prioritize those issues because there is an “endless list of good things to do,” Knutson said. Guests will also receive practical tips to begin practicing advocacy.
The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) University chapter at the University of Iowa has been instrumental in promoting the talk, Knutson said. “The (Newman Center) Service and Social Justice team and the CRS group are both working towards similar goals, in that we want people to be aware of current issues and have opportunities to be involved in their solutions.”

Senior Maddie Monahan, University of Iowa CRS Chapter Leader, hopes attendees will find a passion for helping those who can’t advocate for themselves — locally and globally. “I want others to understand that the steps of action are focusing on everyone having the right to be treated with human dignity and having the basic needs to survive. It is our duty and call to serve and advocate for those in need. We can — we must — do more.”

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