"We are here this week to be in solidarity with the marginalized," said a visiting college student during an immersion experience that Katie Dorner '13 organizes for the Dolores Mission in low-income, largely Latino East Los Angeles. An immersion veteran who had heard that phrase a lot during her Jesuit schooling, Katie now sees solidarity as a longer than what can be avhieved during an immersion visit.
Facilitating the Mission's youth group, high school scholar program, and confirmation means getting to know others in the Boyle Heights neighborhood. From Rosa, she learned how organizing efforts in the 1980s transformed the neighborhood. "I am just staying for a year, while others have stayed for decades and really made a difference."
Katie's mantra is the Mary Oliver poem posted over her desk: Let me/keep my mind on what matters/which is my work/which is mostly standing still and learning to be/astonished. "These lines resonate with me because I want to continually remind myself to stop and recognize that I am a little piece in this greater picture. There are people whose efforts are going on all around me, and I am not as significant as I think I am."
Katie gently helps her college guests understand that a visit "is just a glimpse into what life is like here, and in a few days we can't be in complete solidarity with those who struggle so."