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Domestic Travel: Chicago/Albuquerque

Your next learning adventure will be set against the backdrop of two different domestic landscapes -- one an urban jungle, the other the wide open spaces of the desert southwest. While in Chicago you will begin to turn your attention to learning about social justice issues that face most people living in urban poverty. 

The design of both locations is to go out into the surrounding communities and learn from local organizations working to address specific needs. The work our partners are doing is incredible and you get to be a small part of it. Your days are scheduled to be both eye-opening and engaging as you dive deeper into the American identity, looking at issues of race, class, culture, ethnicity, gender and immigration status.

During your time in Chicago we will stay at the Br. David Darst Center which is a social justice education center located on the southside of Chicago, in the Bridgeport neighborhood.  

The goal during our stay at the Darst Center is to generate genuine conversation about the marginalized people and places we will visit during our stay, and to challenge the perceptions and prejudices many of us hold about others who may be different than us.  Whether it be visiting with residents of a men’s homeless shelter, learning about the urban phenomenon of ‘food deserts’, or exploring the formerly rough and tumble neighborhood known as Back of the Yards so named because it was near the former Union Stock Yards, which employed thousands of European immigrants in the early 20th century who were all vying for legitimate work and a shot at the quintessential American Dream.  

By the end of your stay in Chicago hopefully you will have witnessed and experienced how people living in urban poverty are often times living at the margins, and through thoughtful discussion you will be moved to reflect more deeply on the humanitarian social teachings of peace, justice and appreciation of the dignity of every person and value of the earth.

In New Mexico, you’ll have a chance to escape the demands of urban living and retreat into the desert landscape. Don’t let the desert mirage fool you, there is still much to learn here! Albuquerque is a busy metropolitan area and is in close proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border. Immigration issues are an important focus of this trip where we will hear from actors on both sides. New Mexico also has a rich history that is central to the state’s identity. It is vital we honor the indigenous populations and learn more about the Pueblos of New Mexico first-hand via the experts at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. For a little fun, Albuquerque hosts an annual hot air balloon festival and our group commits to a day of service and in return gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to witness the 500 balloons fill and rise slowly across the early morning horizon. 

Our partners will provide modest accommodation for the group during our time on the road. The Br. David Darst Center will serve as our homebase while we are in Chicago, subsequently, the Norbertine brothers will be hosting us in Albuquerque at their residence, Santa Maria de la Vid. Students will be sharing a living space and meals together during both our time in both Chicago and Albuquerque.

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