The Jesuit Social Research Institute engages in three primary activities: research and analysis, advocacy, and education.
The framework for all of our efforts is Catholic social teaching.
Click the arrows below to learn more about each activity.
The institute conducts, gathers, and publishes research on social and economic conditions of the poor, migrant, and ethnic communities in the Gulf South, including factors affecting the movement of migrants and immigrants into and across the region. This research is focused through the lens of Catholic social thought and core Jesuit values—the service of faith, promotion of justice, dialogue with world religions and cultures—and includes:
- social analysis and theological reflection on the transit, settlement, and assimilation of migrants within cities and communities of the five states of the Gulf South in conjunction with Jesuit Refugee Services USA and JRS International;
- the study of multiple factors surrounding racism, for example, enduring exclusion of people of color and white privilege;
- study of the socioeconomic effects of push and pull factors;
- within migration and the current state of detention of undocumented migrants;
- research on the availability of social, economic, and educational resources for migrants and the poor in the South; and
- facilitation of collaboration between faith-based organizations in addressing migration, poverty, labor, and racial issues.
Institute staff and collaborators disseminate this research and analysis and education on Institute core issues and Catholic Social Teaching through a variety of means:
- Publications such as our JustSouth Quarterly and JustSouth E-newsletter, web pages, workbooks, monographs, pamphlets, articles in popular and academic journals, op-ed pieces, newsletters, testimonies before civil authorities, presentations at conferences, etc.:
- Workshops, classes and seminars offered through Loyola University, as well as regional, national and international conferences and symposia;
- Presentations for high school and university faculty and students as well as Catholic and other faith-based workers, leaders, clergy, religious, and community organizers focusing on developing skills for social analysis and theological reflection, using the research and analysis of the institute as models;
- Facilitation and networking services aimed at building the capacity of church and community based organizations for social analysis, theological reflection, advocacy, and effective planning on issues that they are working to address in their own communities and regions; and
- Opportunities for social analysis and theological reflection for faculty, staff, and students participating in immersion experiences from a variety of educational institutions that provide opportunities learning about issues associated with poverty, racism, and migration in partnering countries and in the South and Southwest. JSRI staff also provide social analysis and theological reflection resources for those coming to this region to assist in post-Katrina re-building efforts.
- JSRI welcomes scholars and interns from other institutions and countries to examine the conditions of the marginalized within this region, evaluate the operation of democratic institutions, and explore the development of civil society structures to address issues of migration, poverty and racism.
Institute staff, collaborators, and stakeholders engage in advocacy on social and economic issues through providing testimony to legislative bodies, meeting with legislators and staff members of the region, and conducting public events such as hearings and press conferences. JSRI offers assistance to other advocates by providing background research for testimony and undertaking campaigns promoting values such as the common good and the preferential option for the poor, and by integrating public ethics into the fostering of public policy.
- Staff work with local Catholic groups, state Catholic Conferences, interfaith organizations, civic organizations, and other advocates on national, state, and local legislative and administrative issues; and
- The JustSouth Quarterly and JustSouth E-newsletter include a focus on current legislative and administrative issues and initiatives dealing with poverty, race, and migration in the region, the nation, and in sending countries.