Faith leaders stand in solidarity
Hate is a terrible character flaw that corrupts and contaminates everything and causes people to do harmful and dangerous things. The ACT Against Hate Alliance held a Zoom meeting on April 19 to discuss hate crimes towards the religious community and how religious leaders and churches can play a role in minimizing hate crimes and hate incidents toward their people.
“One thing we often see with students coming together to engage one another in social activities is they use their diversity such as race, gender, color, and ethnicity to connect, but we rarely see religions used as a social connection,.” said Dr. Dawn Michele Whitehead, vice president of the Office of Global Citizenship at the American Association of Colleges and Universities. “Our goal and work not only for projects but for society is to see a world where people with different world views and religions can live in peace together and maintain their distinctiveness.”
Whitehead spoke to the importance of a “worldview engagement” and “interfaith cooperation” in the classroom, which would then help people respect worldview identity around shared values.
“In the United States, we can no longer ignore worldviews or religious diversity. I’ve heard people say we are one of the most religiously diverse countries, but also the most religious illiterate,” she said.
Rabbi Sarah Hronsky, president of the Board of Rabbis Of Southern California, agrees with Whitehead about religious diversities and the importance of worldview engagement.
“The holiday Passover is about the first time a group of people was oppressed and enslaved because they were different and served a religion that was not the same as the Egyptians,” Hronsky said in highlighting how common and malicious (hate) has been throughout history.
“With ignorance comes fear and hate, and when that hate becomes so large you see devastating actions that result in historical consequences,” she said.
Hronsky advises people to listen more and speak less because if everybody is talking, then nobody is listening and can’t understand one another. She also advocates for everybody to support and protect one another, no matter if you know the person or if they are a stranger.
“We must come together, as we have done on so many pressing issues, and work to stop this devastation,” said Mei Mei Ho Huff, executive director of Act Against Hate Alliance. “No one is left unscathed when hate crimes take place, and we all have a responsibility to act.”
This article is a part of a series of articles for Our Weekly’s #StopTheHate campaign and is supported in whole or part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library. #NoPlaceForHateCA,