One week into the so-called “Muslim Ban” – and what it’s been like to be an interfaith organizer.
Last weekend, I was a trainer at the Interfaith Youth Core ILI in Atlanta, a weekend starting with the “Muslim Ban” and ending with a shooting at a Mosque which killed 6 people. It was a powerful time to be gathered with about 250 students, staff, faculty, and interfaith organizers, and while our work took a more somber tone, I left hopeful about the direction of our movement going forward. I also left re-energized thanks to my friends on staff at IFYC, who are always delights to enjoy time with these chances we get every few months.
Then as soon as I got back to Grand Rapids, we sprung into action to host conversations here about these recent political actions – most notably, we hosted a Solidarity Dinner at GVSU with about 200 people who showed up to have dialogue and write cards of support to our local mosques and refugee community. It was a beautiful testament to how in times of struggle, we need to listen and support one another.
Both experiences have had me reflecting a lot on the future of interfaith. In a time when religion is increasingly politicized, what does our work look like? For me, I hope that interfaith continues to grow into a space where all communities gather to imagine what our common life looks like… empowered by our varied backgrounds as well as our shared values, we stand in solidarity with the marginalized, we build coalitions across disciplines, and we co-create a more just society.
I think both locally and nationally, we’re on the right track. Politics may be holding us back, but I have confidence that people – organizing through community – will keep us moving forward in this work.