New York City welcomes a Spring of Solidarity
On March 25th, the first Sunday of spring, New Yorkers gathered to kick-off the Spring of Solidarity campaign. The event embodied the vision of the campaign: to create lasting relationships among diverse communities as they come together to make a difference on the local and global scales.
Enjoying tea and delicious treats, over 50 people from 6 different faith traditions sat around common tables for an afternoon of inspired conversation led by speakers Ruth Messinger, President of American Jewish World Service, and Rev. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director of the Interfaith Center of New York. Both speakers, effective leaders in their fields, encouraged attendees to acknowledge the inter-dependency of people around the world and to act in a way that increases the bonds between all people across faith lines.
When asked why it is important for faith communities to work together on international development, Rev. Breyer expressed that multi-faith work is necessary not only because of increased impact but because it bridges deep religious divides in our own country and builds bonds among communities. Ms. Messinger highlighted that by working together, people of faith begin to knit together the world's broken fragments.
Ruth Messinger and Rev. Breyer called upon the wisdom of their faith traditions, Judaism and Christianity respectively, as they challenged the attendees to take action on the crises and injustices of our time. Rev. Breyer called reconciliation among peoples "the mission of God." Ms. Messinger cited Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel when he said, when injustices are allowed to go on "...some are guilty, all are responsible." Ms. Messinger called upon the members of the Spring of Solidarity to claim responsibility and use their privilege to right wrongs on the local and global scales.
Both speakers beautifully connected long-standing traditions of faith and justice to the current opportunity we all have to write a new narrative of multi-faith action.
All who attended felt inspired by the speakers' powerful calls to action. To help show people what we can each do to make a difference, the Faiths Act Fellows showed a video to introduce the Spring of Solidarity and educate about the campaign's two recipient projects: Feed the Hungry in Kenya, a project of UNITED SIKHS, and Faiths Act in Sierra Leone, and anti-malaria project of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
By supporting these fantastic projects, run by faith communities in other countries, New York City faith communities will have a real impact even as they build deep relationships.
Upcoming Actions in the Spring of Solidarity:
- In April, each congregation will mark World Malaria Day and raise awareness and funds for Faiths Act in Sierra Leone, an interfaith anti-malaria program.
- In May, we will have Solidarity Through Service, a day of neighborhood-based volunteering.
- We will end the campaign with an Empty Bowl Dinner to benefit Feed the Hungry in Kenya, as well as celebrate the collective impact of the member congregations.