At our October 2018 Peaceful Presence the Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett of Trinity Church in Menlo Park led us in this litany. The author, the Rev. Anna Blaedel, Theologian-in-Residence at enfleshed, generously gave us permission to publish it here. May it give us solace, strength and courage for the new year and beyond.
blessed are you who refuse to turn away.
blessed are you who have been calling.
Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice stands in sadness and solidarity with our Jewish siblings at the news of the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA.
We are all part of the same human family, and the sorrow of one of us is sorrow shared by us all. Our hearts break at such violence and hatred, and we respond by coming together with courageous peace and tenacious love.
We grieve the lives lost and dreams broken in Pittsburgh, and extend our prayers to the families and friends of those wounded and killed, to Jews around the world, and especially to our own local Jewish communities.
We will stand together, cry together, pray together, and work together to build a world beyond fear and division, a world of compassion, inclusion, justice and peace.
Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice (MVPJ) has set up a process which will allow us to respond quickly with publicly visible acts of solidarity on behalf of any religious, ethnic, or other targeted communities in our local area which are being threatened, or which have been harmed or violated in some way. Examples of triggers could be receipt of hate mail, defacing of property, threats to the well-being of the community or to a member of the community. Our goal is to gather in response and public solidarity within 24-48 hours of learning about the incident. These MVPJ solidarity responses will be faithful, peaceful demonstrations of solidarity and friendship, and do not require the training necessary for the Rapid Response teams who will be possibly confronting ICE agents or raids. Supportive, peaceful, faith-based signs may be brought by participants to these public solidarity events.
When an action is needed, our email subject title will be “IMMEDIATE LOCAL RESPONSE NEEDED”, and the body of the email will include instructions as to where and when to gather.
If your community is targeted or threatened in some way, and you want to ask for a public show of solidarity, or simply discuss this possibility, please contact us through this email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may certainly talk with anyone on the MVPJ steering committee personally if you prefer, however the "email@example.com" email is set up to be checked several times every day, for a quick response.
If your community is required to evacuate its premises due to an emergency such as a bomb threat or threatening graffiti and needs an alternate space for worship or study on short notice, we have several congregations who are willing to host you if at all possible. You may inquire about this offer through firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you connect to these communities as quickly as possible.
Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice Non-Violent Commitment
In all actions that it takes, members of Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice commit to the principles of non-violence, and pledge that all their actions will be peaceful, respectful, prayerful and non-violent.
California Assembly Joint Resolution 33 (AJR 33) calls on our federal government and our nation to make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of our national security policy by embracing the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Update: AJR 33 PASSED ON AUGUST 28! Thank you for your work in supporting this step toward nuclear disarmament! Click here to read the press release with more information from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
This resolution is short and easy to read (click here for full text), and it gives us a rare opportunity to act. It is also easily summarized. It calls on our federal leaders to:
Please join in the prayers and pleas for compassion as shared by the Elijah Interfaith Institute:
"Saddened by the suffering of Rohingiya people, which has been added to the suffering of so many other human being during the last few weeks, we, Buddhist and Muslim Leaders, associated with the Elijah Interfaith Institute, as well as leaders of other faith traditions, invoke the timeless aspiration of humankind for compassion and love, and yearning for guidance, succor, and help from supra-human realms so powerfully captured in the two prayers below—one from Buddhist sources and the second from the opening chapter of the Quran. We wish to recall this common teaching and high moral and spiritual yearning of the human soul at this point in time, especially in view of the suffering of the Rohingiya Muslims who are being persecuted and are suffering due to policies of a Buddhist majority state."
O God of Many Names,
Mystery of all Creation,
Source of Life and Love,
You who teach our spirits to sing,
And our hearts to weep:
We gather to celebrate our oneness, to pray for peace, to stand for love, to light a candle -- in a nation and a world that seem filled with division, violence, hatred and darkness.
Give us courage to name and face the gaping wounds and evils around us:
The hatred that led to the attacks of September 11, 2001; the devastation and death of many innocent lives that day; the ensuing spiral of war, revenge and human rights violations, shattering lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and beyond, as well as lives of U.S. women and men in uniform, their families, communities, and friends.
Hatred and white supremacy – from Charlottesville to Palo Alto; xenophobia and bigotry that treat some people as disposable;
Nationalism that justifies war and torture, the build up of weapons of mass destruction, bans on Muslims and refugees, cruel immigration policies and the destruction of dreams;
Religious hypocrisy that denies the sacred image of God in each and every human being;
Ignorance that denies the real crisis of our planet, that offers weak platitudes rather than wise policies in the face of ecological catastrophe;
For all we do, and all we tolerate, that destroys the dreams of our children, of any child, for a chance to live in a just and peaceful world.
Many people asked about the wonderful poem written and read by Naiel Ahmed Chaudry (pictured left reading it at the picnic) during the Peace Picnic program on September 11, 2017.
"WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER"
... by Naiel Ahmed Chaudry
We can be boys and we can be girls
But altogether we'll shine like pearls
We can be black and we can be white
But altogether we'll have the might
We can be short and we can be tall
But altogether we'll never fall
We can be strong and we can be weak
But altogether we'll be unique
We can be poor and we can be rich
But altogether we'll make the switch
We can be fast and we can be slow
But altogether we'll make it flow
We can be right and we can be wrong
But altogether we will be strong!
We are collecting helpful resources from other organizations.
Here are some we have found so far:
Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Resource Guide - Great resource from Southern Poverty Law Center.
Do's and Don'ts for Bystander Intervention - A one page list of important guidelines from the American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker organization).
Everyone here has constitutional rights, and that includes Muslims, immigrants and refugeees. The ACLU has Know Your Rights posters translated into 14 languages, and provides videos in Spanish, Arabic, Urdu and Farsi on what to do if stopped by immigrant agents or the police. Click here to access these important resources from the ACLU website, and share widely!
Knowing your rights is crucial, now more than ever.
This is a gift to you for today: WATCH THIS VIDEO AND BE TRULY INSPIRED.
In face of the darkness, Valerie Kaur shares the deep hope of her Sikh tradition as she speaks on December 31, 2016 at the National Moral Revival Campaign.
What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?
Valerie Kaur is filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, Sikh activist and interfaith leader. She is founder of the Groundswell Movement.