Journey Together to Capitol Hill 

Lisbeth Guadalupe Valladares Hernandez | Member of the Advisory Council on Racism | Diocese of Arlington

Journey Together has been a breath of fresh air, through the turmoil that society faced through a life changing with a worldwide pandemic. I am thankful to my friend Niru, who was the first to invite me to attend a Journeying Together listening session, who was also the director of Young Adults back in 2019 in the Diocese of Arlington.

He knew I was in a place where I was seeking a rich young adult community and He was willing to accompany me through my search. While being an active participant of the Hispanic/Latino cultural family, spaces for dialogues where created in which many of the aches and pains I had were shared with many, and from there friendship ties were created.

It was via zoom that I felt empowered and fully trusting in the Spirit of God that He led me to meet the people I was destined to meet. He guides our path of life based on our own decisions from our free will. I have traveled from El Salvador to the United States, and to the many states within this nation. But one of those cities was Chicago, where long awaited hugs and encounters took place. Investing time together was life-giving, but our Journey did not end there, we continued our own works in ministry all throughout the many states we live in and the many dioceses we all represent.

It was towards the end of January 2023 that members of Journey Together took to Capitol Hill. Through USCCB, the Justice, Peace, and Human Development department hosted a Journey Together group to present a workshop at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering. In this workshop I facilitated a thought provoking small group discussion on how to best diversify our church and properly create a safe place for all.

During my time at CSMG, the Journeying Together family, which is made of many cultures, languages, and traditions had the great opportunity to go and advocate for peoples whose voices aren’t heard. Call out: As a DACA (Deferred Action Childhood Arrival) recipient and daughter of a TPS (temporary protection status) I had the great opportunity to meet with members of Congress and speak on the issues of migration in our nation and how to best provide peace and safety to the vulnerable who, like me, feel that oftentimes do not have a voice. Along with my brothers and sisters, I continue my walk and we continue to Journey Together as One Church with Many Cultures.

We know that every effort to improve society, above all when society is so full of injustice and sin, is an effort that God blesses; that God wants; that God demands of us.