By Elizabeth Suarez
On Saturday, October 7, 2017 at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, California Rock Out Youth Poverty – the theme of which focused on the environment and its effects on the human family around the world – was an opportunity to gather and raise awareness about critical environmental and social justice issues we cannot afford to ignore. Young people from various schools and parishes, as well as other members of the Salesian Family, worked diligently to put together interactive and engaging learning exhibits and social justice activities.
Walking around and having a chance to experience all that Rock Out had to offer, it was evident that not only had a tremendous amount of work gone into the exhibits and activities, but that the young people there were excited to engage with all those who came and to educate them on all they had learned about the topics they had researched. Sometimes it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless in the face of all that is going wrong in the world, but at Rock Out the young people at the exhibits and activities reminded us that we can all do something to make a difference in the world.
They helped us learn about the gift of creation, the ways in which we have negatively impacted the earth, the devastating effects on our fellow men and women, and practical things we can do to transform our world for the better.
Rock Out Youth Poverty was a reminder and a challenge to look beyond ourselves to the world around us and to open our eyes and hearts to our own communities and the struggles they face. As Pope Francis has said, “We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family.” We are one single human family, and what affects one affects all.
As always, Rock Out offered good music, great food, and wonderful company – but it also offered so much more. It offered the opportunity to learn, to engage, to be moved to taking a step towards action in solidarity with the greater human family. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience something that hopefully inspires others, especially the young, to make a positive change in a world so desperately in need.